Muslim terrorists heading towards a Jihadist Nandikadal

April 25th, 2019

H. L. D. Mahindapala

The history of terrorism in Sri Lanka reveals a clear pattern. The first to take up arms in the post-Independent era were the misguided Sinhala youth. They were educated youth desperately running in search of a quick solution to establish their classless paradise. Their violence did not take them anywhere.

The Tamil youth were the second to take up arms. Most of their cadres too consisted of educated Tamil youth running in search of a speedy route to establish their mono-ethnic paradise. At the end of a three-decade war they ended up in the bottom of the Nandikadal Lagoon.

Now the Muslim youth have bombed their way into the global headlines. They shot into the limelight on the morning of Easter Sunday taking everyone by surprise. Unlike the two preceding terrorist groups the local Muslim terrorists who carried backpacks loaded with explosives seems to be dummies carrying out the orders and agenda of a hidden hand directing them from abroad. To begin with they were echoing the imported hate politics fed to them by the extremist local agents running fragmented jihadist cells. Nor have they produced a calculated, well-defined ideology against the state, like the other two terrorist organisations, arguing that it should be destroyed and replaced with their political models. However, it is known that the preachers in their cells and madrassas have been indoctrinating the youth with violent interpretations of the Koran with the aim of converting Sri Lanka into an Islamic Caliphate. That constitutes a part of the larger agenda of ISIS, without any local content in it.

Running through all three violent movements of the youth is a manufactured ideology tailored to radicalise and convert them into violent politics as the solution to their indoctrinated, imagined and real problems. The Sinhala youth took to Marxists revolutionary ideology reduced to five lectures. The Tamil youth took to the ideology of the Saivite Jaffna Vellala supremacists to create Eelam – the paradise of mono-ethnic extremism. And the Muslim youth seems to have jumped into a similar ideology believing that they could achieve their Islamic salvation at the end of violence.

If history is any guide then the preceding two violent movements point to a bitter end. Like the other two preceding terrorist groups the Muslim terrorists too are doomed to end up achieving nothing. Besides, the odds are tilted heavily against the Muslim terrorists, both internationally and locally. (More of this later).

They have begun with a big bang which had echoed round the world. That is about all they could achieve: making big noises if they are to continue down this path of violence. Whether they have the capacity to sustain the violence of the Easter Massacre on a mass scale for a prolong period is questionable. Based more on the historical evidence of the past two youth revolts than on the skimpy details available on the Muslim youth, my conclusion is quite simple: neither the prevailing hostile international climate against every kind of Muslim violence, nor the national ethos of a thriving and conservative Muslim trading community dependent on peace and stability, is conducive for the Muslim youth to sustain their campaign of violence for long. 

Besides the wobbly Yahapalanaya government, which was going softly-softly on rising Muslim radicalisation and violence, has at last woken up to the grim and destabilising realities that had blown their tops off. It is the magnitude of the simultaneous explosions hitting three points of the compass – east, west and the immediate north – that shook the foundations of Sri Lankan establishment

The Easter Sunday blast is likely to change – at least in the short run — the conventional image of the Muslims.  They were seen as the more emancipated and liberal Muslims not committed to radical Islam. But after the East Sunday Massacre it is likely that they will be bundled with the rest of the ideologically driven Muslim fanatics abroad committed to irrational violence. The latest Reuter’s report which reveals the ISIS hand behind the Easter Massacre can only reinforce the image of being ruthless religious fanatics.

Radicalisation takes sense sensibility out of the minds of the impatient youth looking for instant solutions. And politicised religion is packed with hate. Both are incendiary forces that can drive the impulsive youth into insane fits of violence.

Of course, the initial blast that shook Easter Sunday was massive and impressive. The (1) precision timing that went of like clockwork, (2) the gigantic scale of the blasts hitting targets in east, west and the near north simultaneously,(3)  the selected targets of Christian Churches and hotels packed with Western tourists (4) the organisation capacity to piece together the various arms of the military-style operation that exploded on Easter Sunday (5) the blind faith of the suicide bombers that walked the lethal distance to their fatal end and that of 350 other victims, point clearly to hidden brains beyond the borders of the local Muslims.

There is, no doubt, that the suicide bombers were on a political mission. But what was it? Also, terrorist acts are executed to convey a political message. What is the message behind the biggest ever terrorist operation on Sri Lanka soil?

This explosion which hit like a bolt from the blue makes no sense in the Sri Lankan context. Apart from sporadic tensions – some of which have been caused by National Thowheeth Jamaat (NTJ) – the Sinhala-Muslim relations had not stretched to breaking point to provoke an attack of this magnitude. Mainstream Muslim politics was for co-existence without resorting to extremist violence. Interventions at the highest levels from both sides have succeeded in snuffing out any communal conflagration and containing the violence. In fact, Muslim leaders have been complaining to the authorities that the NTJ is a serious threat to their lives too. Nor has there been a mass following for Islamic extremism either at the top or at the bottom layers of Muslim society.

As of now Muslim violence has been confined to a minority. But it is a minority that has crept up, sedulously and surreptitiously, to parts of the highest echelons of the Muslim hierarchy. If allowed to go unchecked it can become the majority. The description of this group given by Ruwan Wijewardene, State Minister of Defence, is revealing and alarming, to say the least. He said: What I can also say about this group of suicide bombers is that most of them were well-educated and come from middle or upper middle class, so they are financially independent and their families are quite stable financially. That is a worrying factor in this. Some of them studied in other countries, they hold degrees and were quite well-educated people.” 

This explains the background and the potential threat to the future but not the cause behind the stunning Easter Sunday massacre. Invariably political protests and violence target the state. But the Muslim suicide bombers did not target the state per se. They went straight to two non-state, non-Sinhala-Buddhist targets: 1. Christian churches packed with Easter Sunday devotees and 2.  hotels packed with Western holiday-makers lining up for their Sunday breakfast.

Both targets were selected to make global headlines in the Christian West. Any harm to the Christian worshippers inside churches in one of the holiest days in the Christian calendar and Western holiday-makers would instinctively pull the heart strings and the conscience of the West.

It is the selection of these two targets that do not make sense. Why should local suicide bombers target the Churches and the hotels when their grievances are supposed to be against the Sinhala-Buddhists with whom they have been having some sporadic sparring in recent times? Besides, none of these two institutions has rubbed against the local Muslims. So why did the strategists behind Operation Easter Massacre target the Churches and the hotels? Is the message coded in these two targets?

It is at this point that Ruwan Wijewardene’s explanation gains credibility. He said that the targets were chosen as retaliation for the massacre of the Muslims at Christchurch by the Australian white-supremacist Brenton Hanson Terrant. But is the local Muslim that concerned about what happened in far away New Zealand to blow up Churches and hotels? No. But the vindictive politics of their masters in the failed Islamic State, pursuing .anti-American, anti-Christian agenda, are bent on targeting the sacred symbols of the West. Since the Sri Lankan Muslims are committed ideologically to follow the political line laid down by their Islamic masters abroad they became the latest suicidal messengers of death to the West. They even went as far as imitating their counterparts abroad by videoing their martyrdom, a la the jihadists in the Middle East.

Second, the Easter Massacre was to deliver a political message to Donald Trump. He was boasting that the ISIS is dead. On the morning of East Sunday they told him that they are still alive and kicking. The ideology behind the Easter Massacre is clearly expressed in the two main targets allied to Western interests. It also contains a direct message to Trumpian braggadocio and arrogance. They picked Sri Lanka because it was fast turning into a base for American expansion in the Indian Ocean.

Like all terrorists they have picked the most iconic targets for maximum impact in the minds of the West. Targeting them selectively on one of the holiest days of the Christian world delivers an unambiguous political message to the West saying:  If we can’t get you in the West we can get you in soft spots prepared by incompetent, complacent and back-biting rulers in the East who, incidentally, are cozying up to the West.

The tattered remnants standing as sad ruins of churches and hotels and the 350 victims debunk the usual fiction spun by some local political pundits who continue to blame the Sinhala-Buddhists. Their spin is to white-wash the Muslim terrorists saying that the suicide bombers were on a mission to get even with the Sinhala-Buddhists for sporadic attacks that had occurred in recent time. This line of attack on the Sinhala-Buddhist runs against the evidence of the bloody ruins staring in their face. If the Easter Massacre was to teach the Sinhala-Buddhist a lesson why did they attack the Christian Churches and hotels packed with Westerners? This is the most notable facet of the Easter Sunday attack. The suicide bombers skipped the Sinhala-Buddhists, they skipped the Hindu Tamils and they went straight for the Christians in churches and the Westerners holidaying in hotels.

If the Easter Sunday massacre was to send a clear message to the West then the international and local agents have succeeded beyond their expectations. This initial message is now reverberating globally. It says unmistakeably that the Jihadist power, packed with religious fanaticism, has found a new base to attack the West. But what is going to be their next step? Will they turn inward and intensify their attacks against the other religionists?

Violence of any sort will not take the Muslim terrorist anywhere. If the other two varieties of terrorism (Sinhala and Tamil youth) failed to win against the state what are the chances of the Muslim variety winning? The state is sufficiently prepared and experienced now to meet challenges of terrorists having beaten the world’s deadliest terrorist, the LTTE. Most of all, it has the tacit support of the majority of the Muslims in the mainstream. ISIS and its local agents have had some beginners luck by taking the state by surprise. But the chances of Muslim terrorists becoming a formidable challenge to the state are very remote. Besides, before they take on the state they will have to grab power from the established Muslim hierarchy. They will also have to combat the anti-Muslim counter-terror forces of the West and also India.

The upshot of the Easter Massacre has been to increase and reinforce Islamaphobia. Until East Sunday the Muslims in the democratic mainstream have been a formidable force negotiating craftily behind the scene, with both main parties, bargaining with the non-violent votes. But the exploding bombs have devastated their image and reduced the power of bargaining with both major parties. They cannot be seen to be honeymooning, or playing footsy with the Muslims after the backlash of East Sunday sweeping the nation. The government, in particular, will have to face the charge of putting Bodu Bala Sena in jail and letting NTJ run amok without any restraint.

The state is now in a favourable political climate to crack down on Muslim extremism with hardly any pressure from international or national interventionists.  Besides, the Muslim terrorists can never reach the militarised power of the Tamil Tigers and challenge the state to yield to their demands, whatever they may be.  Of the three varieties of terrorism the Muslims will be the weakest, purely on demographic counts.

When the dust settles down, the democratic state of Sri Lanka will rise again triumphantly, hoping that the last remaining Indian Tamil youth will not decide to go the way of the other three failed terrorists

අස්වනු නෙළා ගැනීමේ මංගල්‍ය

April 25th, 2019

චන්ද්‍රසේන පණ්ඩිතගේ විසිනි

යහපාලන රජයේ වසර හතරක් පුරා වැපුරූ මහා වෙනසේ අස්වැන්න නෙලා ගැනීමේ මංගල්‍ය පසුගිය ඉරිදා පාස්කු ඉරිදා මුළු මහත් ලෝකවාසී ජනතාව ඉදිරියේ එලි දක්වන ලදී. මේ රජය වසර හතරක් පුරා මොනවාද කලේ යයි අසමින් රජයට කොලොප්පන් කරමින් සිටි මිනිසුන්ට හොදට තේරුම් ගන්නට තරම් විශාල අස්වැන්නක් ලබාදී, අපි මෙච්චර දෙයක් වෙයි කියලා හිතුවේ නැහැයි කියන්නට තරම් අධි අස්වැන්නක් මෙරටවාසි සියලුම ජන කණ්ඩායම් වලටම උරුම කරදී ඇත.

යහපාලන රජයේ මේ අති දැවැන්ත වැපිරීම හා අස්වැන්නෙන් පිඩා විදි සියලුම ජනතාවට අපගේ බලවත් ශෝකය පළකරමින්, මියගිය හා තුවාල ලැබූ සියලුම ජනතාවට සුබවාදී සියලුම බලවේගයන්ගේ ආශිර්වාදය ලැබී,නිදුක් වේවා! සුවපත්වෙවායි! අප ඉතා සිතින් පතමු.

පන පිටින් කුණු කදුවලට මිනිසුන් වලලා දැමු බක් මාසයක් වෙනුවට මෙදා බක්මාසයේ අස්වැන්න මරාගෙන මැරෙන බෝම්බ කරුවන් තුලින් ජනතාවට උරුම කරදී ඇති අතර, මේ පාදඩ ක්‍රියාවලිය, සහමුලින්ම උපුටා දැමීමට මෙරට ජනතාව විසින්, සියලුම ආරක්ෂක හමුදාවන් සමග එකතුව සිදුකල යුතු පුජනිය කාර්යයක් බවට පත්ව තිබේ. මෙම ත්‍රස්තවාදී ක්‍රියාවලිය මෙතැනින්ම නවතා දැමීමේ හැකියාව මෙරට ආරක්ෂක හමුදාවන්ට ඇති අතර, ආරක්ෂක හමුදාවන්ට අමතරව මෙය නිම කිරීමට මෙරට ජනතාවටද විශාල කාර්යභාරයක් කිරීමේ හැකියාවක්ද ඇත. ඒ කෙසේදැයි වටහාදීම හා වටහා ගැනීම මුළුමහත් රටවැසි ජනතාවගේ පරම යුතු කමක් බව වටහා ගත යුතුය.

හමුදාව කදවුරු තුලට ගාල් කර ජනතාව අතර ත්‍රස්තවාදීන්ට ස්ථාපිත වීමට පරිසරය නිර්මාණය කල දේශපාලනයට එරෙහිව කටයුතු කල යුතු අතර, එය මනා  හික්මීමකින් හෙබි බුද්ධිය විසින් හැසිරවිය යුතු කටයුත්තක් බව මෙරට ජනතාව ඉතා පැහැදිලිව වටහා ගත යුතුය. අපට ලේ හා මිනි මස්වලින් සපිරි බක් මාසයක් මෙවරත් උරුමව තිබියදී. මේ මියගිය මිනිසුන්, සිය ජිවිත පුජාවෙන් අපිට කියා දෙන මහා පාඩම් මාලාව වටහා ගැනීමට මෙරට ජනතාව සුදානම් විය යුතුය. මේ වනවිටත් කතෝලික පල්ලියේ නායකත්වය හා මහා සග රුවනේ නායකත්වය යටතේ, ඉතා නිවැරදි ආකාරයෙන් සෑම කටයුත්තක්ම මනාව සිදුවෙමින් පැවතීම ඉතා බලාපොරොත්තු තැබිය හැකි තත්වයකි. එමෙන්ම අපගේ ආරක්ෂක හමුදා පෙර පරිදිම මන සංයමයකින් යුතුව සිය මෙහෙවර ඉතා සාර්ථකව සිදු කිරීමද සතුට දනවන කාර්යකි.

මේ ත්‍රස්තවාදය පිටුපස විශාල කතාන්දරයක් ඇති අතර, ඔවුන්ගේ ඒ සියලුම අරමුණු විනාශ කිරීමට ඒ කතාව සම්බන්ධව යම් අවබෝධයක් ලබාගතයුතුමය. ශ්‍රී ලංකාව යනු වර්ෂ 2030දි, මුළු ලෝකයේම අවදානය දිනාගන්නා රාජයකි. ඒ චීනය විසින් ශ්‍රී ලංකාව කේන්ද්‍ර කරගෙන සිදුකරමින් යන මහා සංවර්ධන ව්‍යාපෘතීන් නිසාය. ඉලක්ක ගත මේ සංවර්ධන ව්‍යාපෘතීන් නිසි ආකාරයට නිමවීම තුලින් ආසියාවේ,විශාල සමාජ විපර්යාසයක් සිදුවෙන අතර ලෝකයේ බලවත්ම මහාද්ධිපය ආසියාව බවට පත්වේ. සෑම සංවර්ධන කටයුත්තක් ආරම්භ වෙන මොහොතේම ඊට එරෙහිව එය විනාශ කිරීමේ,ප්‍රති විරුද්ධයද නිර්මාණය වීම ස්වභාවය බැවින්, යහපාලන රජය බිහිවිමම ඒ ප්‍රති විරුද්ධ නිර්මාණයේ, ආරම්භයයි. ගැටුම ඇත්තේ බටහිර ජාතින් හා චීනය අතර වුවද එහි අධිකම බලපෑමට ශ්‍රී ලාංකීය ජනතාවට සිදුව ඇත. එහි ප්‍රතිපලයක් ලෙස මුළු සිරියාවම බිමට සමතලා කල ISIS ත්‍රස්තවාදීන්ට ශ්‍රී ලංකාව බිමට සමතලා කිරීමේ කාර්යයේ, එක කොටසක් පවරා ඇත. අප මේ මුහුණ දෙමින් සිටින්නේ එහි ආරම්භක ප්‍රහාරයන් මාලාවට බව අප රටේ ජනතාව තේරුම් ගත යුතුමය. සිරියාවේ මෙන් ජන ශුන්‍ය ගරා වැටුන ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ නිර්මාණය වෙන්නට ඉඩ දෙනවාද නැත්නම්, දැනට සැලසුම් සහගත සිදුවෙන ලෝක සංවර්ධනයේ, විශාලම නගරයක් බවට අප අගනුවර නිර්මාණය වෙන්නට සහ දෙනවාද යන්නත් එහි පලයන් අපේ දරුවන්ට භුක්ති විදීමට ඉඩ සලසනවාද යන්න රදා පවතින්නේ, වර්තමානයේ මේ අභියෝග යන්ට මුහුණ දෙන පරම්පරාවයි. අපට ඇති වගකීම මේ රට විනාශ කිරීම නොවන බැවින් දැන් අපි ඉදිරියේ මේ දිස්වෙන ISIS ත්‍රස්ත ව්‍යාපාරය විනාශ කිරීමට පෙරමුණ ගැනීම මෙරටවාසි සියලුම ජනතාවට සිදුව ඇත. එය කල හැකි අතර එය කල යුතුම කාර්යභාරයකි.

ජනාධිපතිට අගමැතිට ඇගිලි දිගු කරනවා වෙනුවට සමස්ත රජය මේ ත්‍රස්ත ප්‍රහාරයේ වගකිම භාර ගත යුතුයි

April 25th, 2019

අද දින පැවැති ශ්‍රී ලංකා පොදුජන පෙරමුණ මාධ්‍ය හමුව

අද දින පැවැති මාධ්‍ය හමුවට සහභාගි වී නියෝජිතයින්

·       පාර්ලිමේන්තු මන්ත්‍රී සෙහාන් සේමසිංහ මහතා

·       පාර්ලිමේන්තු මන්ත්‍රි තේනුක විදානගමගේ මහතා

·       පාර්ලිමේන්තු මන්ත්‍රී දිලුම් අමුණුගම මහතා

පාර්ලිමේන්තු මන්ත්‍රී සෙහාන් සේමසිංහ මහතා

අපි ගෙවමින් ඉන්න ඛේදජනක තත්ත්වය ගැන පාර්ලිමේන්තුවේ කතා කළත් රජයේ දුර්වලතාවය ගැන ආන්ජුවට අවබෝධයක් නැහැ.මේ ඛේදවාචකයේ වගකිම රජය භාරගත යුතුයි.ජනාධිපතිට අගමැතිට ඇගිලි දිගු කරනවා වෙනුවට සමස්ත රජය මේ ත්‍රස්ත ප්‍රහාරයේ වගකිම භාර ගත යුතුයි. බුද්ධි අංශය මෙවැනි ප්‍රහාරයක් සිදුවිය හැකි බව රජයට දැනුම් දි තිබෙනවා. ජනතාවට ලබාදිය යුතු ආරක්ෂාව ලබා දෙන්න රජය අපොහොසත් වෙලා. මේ වුවදුර පහවලො නැහැ. අද පෙරවරුවේ බෝම්බ සිද්දියක් පූගොඩින් වාර්තා වෙනවා. ජනතාවට චකිතයෙන් ඉන්නේ. මේ රජය 2015 බලයට ඒමත් සමග රජයේ බුද්ධි අංශය දුර්වල කළා. අකර්මන්‍ය කළා. ශානි අබේසේකර පොලිස් නිලධාරියා දේශපාලන දඩයම්වලට යොදවලා දේශපාලන වශයෙන් විරුද්ධවාදීන් දඩයම් කිරීමේ ව්‍යාපාරයක් දිගින් දිගටම ගෙන ගියා. බුද්ධි අංශ අකර්මන්‍ය කිරීමේ ප්‍රතිඵල තමයි මේ තියෙන්නේ.පොලීසියත් මේ සම්බන්ධයෙන් වගකිමක් ගත යුතුයි.ආණ්ඩුව සූදානම් වෙන්නේ මේ සිද්ධිය ආරක්ෂක ලේකම් හා පොලිස්පතිවරයා පිට පටවලා නිදහස් වෙන්න.

අපි ආන්ඩුව දරන මේ උත්සාහය පිළිකුලෙන් හෙලා දකිනවා. නිලධාරින් කටයුතු කරන්නේ දේශපාලන නායකත්වය ලබා දෙන උපදෙස් මතයි. දේශපාලන නායකත්වය සිය වගකීම් නිසිලෙස ඉටු නොකර මේ ඇති වුනු තත්ත්වයේ වගමීම ආරක්ෂක ලේකම් හා පොලිස්පතිවරයා මත පැටවිම දුර්වල රජයක ක්‍රියාකෘර්තිවයක්. මේ අය වගේම රජයත් වගකිව යුතුයි. මේ පොලිස්පති පත් කරන විට අපි දැඩිව විවේඡනය කළා. බුද්ධි අංශ නිලධාරින් අකර්මන්‍ය කිරිම සම්බන්ධයෙන් වසර 4ක් තිස්සේ අපි කතා කළා. බුද්ධි අංශය ගැන විශ්වාසය තියලා රටේ ඛේදවාචකයක් නොවන පරිදි කටයුතු කරන්න කියලා අපි ඉල්ලීම් කළා.

ඒ සියල්ල ආණ්ඩුව නොසලකා හැරියා. පොලිස්පතිවරයාගේ හැසිරිමත් , ආරක්ෂක ලේකම්වරයාගේ වගකිම් විරහිත හැසිරිමත් රජයේ මානසිකත්වය පෙන්වන්නක්.මේ වෙද්දි බුද්ධි අංශ තොරතුරු වාර්තා කරලා තියෙනවා මුස්ලිම් දේවස්ථාව ආශ්‍රිතව කිසියම් කළහකාරී තත්ත්වයක් ඇති විය හැකි බව. ඒ නිසා අපි ආන්ඩුවෙන් ඉල්ලන්නේ මේ තත්ත්වය පාලගනය කරන්න කටයුතු කරන්න. ඒ සදහා අවශ්‍ය නිලධාරීන් යොදවලා නැහැ. බුද්ධි අංශය අද ලබාදී වාර්තා සම්බන්ධයෙන් සිය අවධානය යොමු කරන්න කියලා ආන්ඩුවෙන් අපි ඉල්ලා සිටිනවා.

2010 වෙද්දි ශක්තිමත් බුද්ධි ඒකකයක් තිබුණු දකුණු ආසියාවේ එකම රට ශ්‍රී ලංකාවයි. එවැනි බුද්ධි ඒකකයක් අකර්මන්‍ය කරලයි මේ තත්ත්වය ඇති වුනේ. දැන් මාවනැල්ලේ සිද්ධිය සම්බන්ධයෙන් අත්අඩංගුවට අරන් ඒ ඔස්සේ තොරතුරු හොයා ගෙන ගිහින් වනාතවිල්ලුවේ කදවුරක් සම්බන්ධයෙන් තොරතුරු ලැබුනා. 4ක් අත් අඩංගුවට ගත්තා. 

රජයේ ප්‍රබලම ඇමැතිවරයෙක් කියනවා එයින් දෙදෙනෙක් ඉහළ දේශපාලන බලපෑම් මත නිදහස් කළා කියලා. ඒ සදහා අනුබල දුන්න කෙනා රටට  හෙලි කළයුතුයි. ඒ එක පුද්ගලයෙක් මරාගෙන මැරෙන බෝම්බ ප්‍රහාර එල්ල කරන්න දායක වෙලා තියෙනවා. ආන්ඩුව දිගින් දිගටම ජාතික ආරක්ෂාව අමතක කරලා ඊළගට එන මැතිවරණයක් තියෙන්නේ තමන්ට ජය ගන්න පුලුවන් කාලසිමාවක කියන අරමුණ විතරයි තිබුනේ. මේ අන්තවාදි කණ්ඩායම්වලට ආන්ඩුව යට වෙල ාහිටියා. මැතිවරණ කල් දාන්න පනත් සම්මත කරද්දි මේ බලවේගවලට ආන්ඩුව යටත් වෙලා හිටියා. හිතාමතාම යට වුනා. මේ රටේ ජනතාව රජයට විරුද්ධව නැගි සිටීමේදි බලය රුක ගන්න විකල්ප ක්‍රියාදාමයක් නැති නිසයි ඔවුන් ඒ අන්තවාදී කණ්ඩායම්වලට යටත් වුනේ.

ඒ වගේම දැන් සමහරු මේ රටේ ජාතිවාදි ගැටලුවක්නිර්මාණය කරන්න උත්සාහ කරමින් සිටිනවා. කලුජූලිය මේ රටේනිර්මානය වෙන්නේඑජාප පාලන කාලයේ. ඒ යුගය සමයේ එජාප නියෝජනය කරපු කණ්ඩායමම්අදත් මේ පාර්ලිමේන්තුව නියෝජනය කරනවා. ඒනිසා අපි ආන්ඩුවට අවධාරණය කරනවා පටු දේශපාලනය වෙනුවෙන් කටයුතු කරලා ආගම්වාදි ජාතිවාදී අරගලයකට මුල පුරන්න එපා. ත්‍රස්තවාදය මර්දනය කරන්න. නමුත් ඒකට මුවාවෙලා දේශපාලන වාසි ගන්න ආගම්වාදය ජාතිවාදය ඇති කරන්න එපා. මේ තත්ත්වය තුල විදේශ රටවල හමුදාවන්ට අපේ රටට ඇතුල් වෙන්න අවස්ථාව ලබා දීලා තියෙනවා. ආන්ඩුව දිගින් දිගටම ජනතාවටත් ජාත්‍යන්තරයටත් බොරු කිව්වා. ප්‍රහාරය සම්බන්ධයෙන් නිදහසට කරුණු දක්වන්නත් බොරු රැසක් කිව්වා.

නවසීලන්ත ප්‍රහාරයයේ දිගුවක් ක්ව්වත් නවසීලන්ත අගමැතිවරයා එය ප්‍රතික්ෂේප කළා. ඇමරිකාව බුද්ධි තොරතුරු දුන්නා කිව්වාත් ඒකත් ඇමරිකාව ප්‍රතික්ෂේප කළා. බොරු කිම මේ ප්‍රශ්නයට විසදුමක් වෙන්නේ නැහැ. ඇමරිකන් හමුදාවට අපේ රටට ඇතුල් වෙන්න වාතාවරණය ගොඩ නගලා තියෙනවා. මෙම්ත්‍රස්ත ක්‍රියාදාමය ගෝලිය ත්‍රස්තවාදයක් කියලා හදුන්වා දිලා රජයේ වැඩපිළිවෙල දිගටම කරගෙන යනවා.

2018 ඔක්තෝම්බර් 26 අපේ රජය වෙනස් වුනත් පාර්ලිමේන්තුව රැස්වුනු අවස්ථාවල අපි දැකපු සුවිශේෂි තත්ත්වයක් තියෙනවා. සියලු තානාපති නිලධාරීන් පාර්ලිමේන්තු ගැලරියට ආවා. රජයට සහාය දැක්වූ රාජ්‍ය නොවන සංවිධාන ආවා. නමුත් අපි මේ දවස් දෙකේ සජිවි විකාශනයක් හෝ තානාපතිවරු හෝ රාජ්‍ය නොවන සංවිධාන පාර්ලිමේන්තුවට පැමිණෙනවා. මේක තමයි අපි දකින වෙනස. රනිල් වික්‍රමසිංහ මහතාගේ අගමැතිකම නැති වුන වෙලාවේ කම්පනයට පත්වුනු අය මේ ඛේදවාචකයක් වුනු අවස්ථාවේ කම්පාවට පත්වුනේ නැහැ. ඇයි ඒ වේදනාව දැනෙන්නේ නැත්තේ. ඇයි පාර්ලිමේන්තුවට ඇවිත් ශෝකය බෙදා ගත්තේ නැත්තේ. රනිල් වික්‍රමසිංහ මහතා පිටුපස මේ සියලු කණ්ඩායම් ඉන්නවා. ඔවුන්ට අවශ්‍ය වුනේ මෙවැනි රූකඩ පාලනයක් බිහි කිරිමපමණයි. ජනතාවගේ සුරක්ෂිතතාවය ගැන හැගිමක් නැහැ. මේ වගකීමෙන් රජයට බැහැර වෙන්න බැහැ. කරුණාකරලා මේ ඛේදවාචකයේ වගකීම භාර ගන්න වෙන්නේ රජය. කාදිනල්වරයා බුද්ධි අංශ දුර්වල කලේ ඇයි කියලා ප්‍රශ්න කරනවා. මහානායක හිමිවරු ඒ ම්බන්ධයෙන් ප්‍රකාශ කරනවා. කරුණාකරලා පූජනිය ස්ථාන ආරක්ෂා කරන්න. අද තමන්ගේ ආගම අදහන්න බැහැ. 2015දි භාර දුන්නේ සුරක්ෂිත රටක්. යහපාලනයේ නාමයෙන් ට භාරගත්ත ආන්ඩුවක් නැවත මේ වගේ තත්ත්වයක් ඇති කරයි කියලා ජනතාව හිතුවේ නැහැ.මේ සම්බන්ධයෙන් අවධානය යොමු කරන්න. මේ ඛේදචනක තත්ත්වයෙන් යම ්කණ්ඩායම් බොරදියේ මාලුබාන්න හදනවා. සම්බන්ධන් බලපැම් කරනවාලු ව්‍යවස්ථාව ගේන්න කියලා. මේ අවස්ථාවේ රටේ ප්‍රමුඛ කාර්යය ව්‍යවස්ථාවද. විශේෂයෙන් දෙමල ජාතික සන්ධානය මේ ව්‍යවස්ථාව ගෙනාවේ නැත්නම් ආන්ඩුවේ බලය අහිමි කරන බව පවසනවා. මේහරහා සියලු දෙනා විරුද්ධ වු ව්‍යවස්ථාව නැවත කරලියට ගෙනෙයිද කියලා සැකයි. රටේම කතා කරන්නේ බෝම්බවලින් ආරක්ෂාවීම ගැනයි. එක දේශපාලන කණ්ඩායමක් විතරක් ව්‍යවස්ථාව ගැන කතා කරනවා. දරුණූ ත්‍රස්තවාදී ඛේදවාචකයක් ඇති වෙලා තියෙද්දි ඔනවුන්ගේ පොරොන්දු ඉටු කරන්න කියලා රජයට බලපෑම් කරනවා.

පාර්ලිමේන්තු මන්ත්‍රි තේනුක විදානගමගේ මහතා

අගමැතිවරයා , රාජ්‍ය ආරක්ෂක ඇමැතිවරයා, විපක්ෂ නායක මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මහතා පාර්ලිමේන්තුවේදි විශේෂ ප්‍රකාශ කළා. සභානායකවරයාත් පාර්ලිමේන්තුව ආරම්භයේ ප්‍රකාශයක් කළා. මේ සිද්ධිය සම්බන්ධයෙන් අගමැතිවරයා දැන ගෙන හිටියේ නැහැ. මේකේ වගකිම කවුද භාර ගන්නේ කවුද කියලා එතුමා ඇහුවා. නමුත් පහුගිය 4 වැනිදා සිද්ධිය සම්බන්ධයෙන් තොරතුරු ලැබුනු බව ඔහුගේ ප්‍රකාශයෙන් කියැවෙනවා. අපි ඒ ගැන විමසුවාම ඉන්දියාව හරහා තොරතුරු ලබා ගත්ත බවයි කිව්වේ. 4 වැනිදා වගේම 5 වැනිදාත් පාර්ලිමේන්තු දින. ඔවුන්ට යුතුකමක් තිබුණා ආරක්ෂක අංශවලින් මේ ගැන විමසන්න. එක පිරිසකට පමණක් මෙවැන්නක් සිදුවිය හැකි බව දැනුම් දිලා තියෙනවා. නමුත් ජනතාවට දැනුම් දිමක් නැහැ. මේ සම්බන්ධයෙන් රජය එහෙට මෙහෙය බෝල පාස් කරනවා. අගමැති දන්නේ නැහැලු. ජනාධිපති දන්නේ නැහැලු. එතකොට කවුද ජනතාවගේ ජිවිත සම්බන්දයෙන් වගකිම භාරගන්නේ. යුද්ධය අවසන් වෙද්දි අද ඉන්න සබානායකම කිව්වා ඕන ගොනෙකුට යුද්ධ කරන්න පුලුවන් කියලා.

හරින් ප්‍රනාන්දුට ඔහුගේ පියා දුරකතනයෙන් සිද්ධියක් වෙන්නතියෙන බව කියනවා. රටේ ඇමැතිවරයෙක් විදියට ඔහුට යුතුකමක් තිබුණා කාදිනල්වරයාට මේ සම්බන්ධයෙන් දැනුම් දෙන්න. මේක නෙවෙයි කැබිනට් ඇමිතවරයෙකුගෙන් විය යුත්තේ. රටේ ජනතාව නැවතත් බියෙන් සැකයෙන් ජිවත් වෙන්නේ. සුරක්ෂිත රටක් වෙලා තිබුණු අපේ රට භාරදුන්නේ නිදහස නිවහල් රාජ්‍යයක් විදියට. දැන් හෙමාකද වුනේ. අද දෙමව්පියන්ට නැවතත් පාසල් ආරක්ෂා කරන්න යන්න සිද්ධ වෙලා. දෙමව්පියෝ පොද් ප්‍රවාහන සේවයේ යන්නේ වෙන වෙනම. විපක්ෂ නායකවරයා මේ සිද්ධිය පාලනය කරන්න සම්පුර්ණ සහාය දෙන බව පවසා තිබෙනවා. පළමු සිද්ධිය වුනු අවස්ථාවේදිම ඇදිරි නීතිය දැම්මා නම් දෙමටගොඩ සිද්ධියත්, දෙහිවල සිද්ධියත් වෙන්නේ නැහැ. බෝල පාස් කරගන්නේ නැතිව සිද්ධීයේ වගකීම භාර අරන් නිදහසේ ආගම් ඇදහීමේ අවස්ථාව අදාකරන්න.

මේ රජය පහුගිය කාලයේ බලයට පත්වූ දිනයේ සිට විපක්ෂයට ගහමින් තමන්ගේ නොහැකියාව වහ ගත්තා. දිලුම් අමුණුගම මහතාව අත් අඩංගුවට අරන් පැය 12ක් ප්‍රශ්න කළා. අද ඉන්න ආන්ඩුකාරවරු තුන්දෙනෙක් ව්‍යාපාරයෙක් වෙනුවෙන් පෙනී හිටලා තියෙනවා.මේ සම්බන්ධයෙන් සොයා බලන්න කියලා අපි ජනාධිපතිතුමාගෙන් ඉල්ලා සිටිනවා.

පාර්ලිමේන්තු මන්ත්‍රී දිලුම් අමුණුගම මහතා

මේ කාරණය සම්බන්දයෙන් කවුද දැන්වත්ව සිටියේකියන සිද්ධීය අද ප්‍රමුඛතාවයක් අරන් තියෙනවා. හරින් ප්‍රනාන්දුට තාත්තා කිව්වාලු. නමුත් මාධ්‍ය මේ සම්බන්ධයෙන් දැනුවත්ව හිටියා. මේ ගැන රාජිත සේනාරත්න මහතාගෙන් මාධ්‍ය ප්‍රශ්න කළාම කිව්වේ අයි.එස්. අයි. එස්. සමග කිසිම සම්බන්ධකමක් තියෙන මෙරට නති බවයි. ඔහු මුස්ලිම් සමාජයත් එක්ක නිරන්තරයෙන් කතිකා කරන නිසා එවැනි ප්‍රමුඛතාවයක් තියෙනවා නම් මම දන්නවා කියලත් කියනවා. (පැරණි හඩ පටයක් මාධ්‍යයට අසන්නට සලස්වයි) විජේදාස රාජපක්ෂ මහතා මේ සම්බන්ධයෙන ්කැබිනෙට්ටුවේ මතු කරපු බවත් ඔහු මෙහිදීකියනවා. මේ ඇමැතිවරුන්ගෙන් මාධ්‍ය දිගින් දිගටම ප්‍රශ්න කළා. උතුරේ ආවා කල්ලිය කියමින් සැදුනු එකක් මිනිස්සු කපමින් සිටියා. කොළඹ මත් ද්‍රව්‍ය වගේම පාතාලය තිබුණා. ඒ නිසයි මාධ්‍ය මේ විදියට ප්‍රශ්න කලේ. රාජිත සේනාරත්න මහතාගේබුද්ධි අංශ තොප්පිගල අල්ලන්න දායකවුනු හැටිත් එතුමා කියලා තිබුණා.

වෙලා තියෙන්නේ රජයේ බුද්ධි අංශ අඩපන කරලා මෙවැනි කතා කියන ඇමැතිවරුන්ගේ බුද්ධි අංශ ක්‍රියාත්මක කිරිමයි. එහි ප්‍රතිඵල තමයි අපිට ලැබිලා තියෙන්නේ. මහනුවර සිද්ධිය ගැන අපි කිව්වාම මාව ප්‍රශ්න කළා. පෙර දවසේ මෙවැනි සිද්ධියක් විය හැකියි කියලා දැනුම්වත් කිරීම නිසයි මාව ප්‍රශ්න කලේ. ඔබතුමා කලින් දැන ගත්තේ කොහාමද කියලා ප්‍රශ්න කළත් සිද්ධිය මැඩපවත්වන්න ක්‍රියාත්මක වුනේ නැහැ. අවසානයේ මරණයකුත් සිද්ධ වුනා. අද මරාගෙන මැරුනු ත්‍රස්තවාදින්ගේ මුහුණු පොත්වලට ගිහින් බලන්න. මේ වෙනතුරුකිසිවෙක් ගෙන් ප්‍රශ්න කරලා නැහැ. ජනාධීපතිතුහා පැය 24යද්දි බරපතල තීරණ කිහිපයක් ගන්න බව කිව්වා. ජනාධිපති මන්දිරයේ ඔරලෝසුව නතර වෙලාද දන්නේ නැහැ. ගත්ත ක්‍රියාමාර්ගයක් නම් වාර්තා වෙන්නේ නැහැ.

එතුමා මාධ්‍ය අමතන අවස්ථාවේදි කිව්වා ඉන්දියාවේ ඔත්තු සේවය එතුමාව දැනුම්වත් කලේ නැහැ කියලා. අපි අහන්නේ අපි ඉන්දියාවේ කොලනියක්ද කියලයි. ඉන්දියාවේ රෝ ඔත්තු සේවය දැනුවත් කලොත් විතරද අපි දැනුවත් වෙන්නේ. අපිට ඔත්තු සේවයක් නැද්ද. ඉන්දියාවට තියෙන අවහ්‍යතාවය මොකක්ද අපිව දැනුම්වත්කරන්න. මේ සහරාන් කියන ත්‍රස්තවාදියාම කියලා තිබුණා මරාගෙන මැරෙන ප්‍රහාරයක් දියත් කරන බව. කියලා තිබුනේ නැත්තේ තැන විතරයි. බුද්ධි අංශයි , ත්‍රස්තවාදියායි දෙන්නාම මරාගෙන මැරෙන ප්‍රහාරයක් එල්ල කරන බව කියලා තියෙනවා නම් ත්‍රස්තවාදියා තැනත් කියනකල්ද බලන්හිටියේ. දැන දැන සිදුවුනු බරපතල වගකිමක් නිසා රජයෙ ්ප්‍රධානයාගේ සිට සියලු දෙනා වගකියන්න වෙනවා. රනිල් වික්‍රමසිංහ අගමැතිතුමා ඉන්ටර්නැෂනල් මොන දේ ලැබුණත් සතුටු වෙනවානේ. ගෝලිය ත්‍රස්තවාදය ලංකාවට ඇවිත් කියලා එතුමා බොහොම සතුටින් ප්‍රකාශ කරලා මේකට ඉන්ටර්නැෂනල් සහාය ඕන බව කිව්වා. ත්‍රස්තවාදය වුනත් ඉන්ටර්නැෂනල් නම් හොදයි. ලෝකයේ පළවෙනියටම මරාගෙන මැරෙන ප්‍රහාර එල්ල කරපු බයානකම ත්‍රස්තවාදී සංවිධානය ලංකාවේ එල්. ටී. ටී. ඊයයි. ඒනිසයි ලෝකයේ දරුණූතම ත්‍රස්තවාදි සංවිධානය කියන නම ලැබුනෙත්. ඒ දරුණූතම ත්‍රස්තවාදි සංවිධෘනය පරාජය කරන්න හැකි වුනේ අපේ දේශිය බුද්ධි අංශයට හා දේශීය හමුදාවට. ඇමරිකාවත් බලාගෙන ගෙන හිටියේ ආරාධනාව දෙනකල්. මේ සිද්ධිය වුනු හැටියේ අගමැති දොරවල් විවෘත කරලා එන්න අපිව අයි.එස්. එකෙන් බේරගන්න කිව්වා. මේක තමයි කුමන්ත්‍රණය. ඒ අයගේ ඇගිලි ගැසිම්වලින් හරි තව දුරටත් බලයේ රැදි සිටිමයි මේ රජයෙ ්වැඩපිළීවෙල. මේ හරහා දේශපාලනය කරනවා නෙවෙයි. අපිට පේන දේ අපි ජනතාවට දැනුම් දෙන්න ඕනේ. අපි ගරු කරනවා අගරදරුවරයාට. එතුමා කරන්න යන දේ අපිටත් කළින් ප්‍රකාශ කළා. බුද්ධි අංශ අකර්මන්‍ය කලේ සැලසුම් සහගතවයි.

සැම ආයතනයකටම යොදවලා හිටියා බුද්ධි අංශයේ නිලධාරින්ව. රාජ්‍ය, පුද්ගලික ආයතනවලට නොදන්වා සේවය කරන සේවකයෝ පිරිසක්. මේවා රජයේ සෘජු උපදේශ මත මේ කණ්ඩායම ඉවත් කළා. යුද හමුදා බුද්ධි අංශයේ නලධාරීන් 23ක් සිරභාරයට පත් කළා. ඒ අය අද ඇප මත එළියේ හිටියත් නඩුත් නැහැ. නිදහස ්කරන්නෙත් නැහැ. අද සුබසාධක කටයුතුවලයි යෙදෙන්නේ. ඒ වෙනුවෙන් පත්කරපු නව නිලධාරීන්ට මේ පිළීබදව දක්ෂතාවයක් නැති බව මේ සිද්ධිය අනාවරණය කරගන්න නොහැකි  වීමෙන්ම පැහැදිලියි. මේ වගේ සිද්ධියක් අනාවරණය වුනාම ලියුම් ලිය ලිය ඉන්නවාද. අපේ ගෙට හොරෙක් පැන්නොත් අපේ කුස්සියේ හොරෙක් ඉන්නවා ඉන්මනට ඇවිත් අල්ල ගන්න කියලා පොලීසියට ලියුම් ලිය ලිය ඉන්නවාද. ඉතා ඉක්මනින් පණිවිඩය දෙන්න ඕනේ. මේසිද්ධියේදි ලියුම් ලියලා විතරයි. මාවනැල්ල සිද්ධියේදී අත් අඩංගුවට ගත්ත සැකකරුවෙක් එක මරාගෙන මැරෙන බෝම්බකරුවෙක්. කබිර් හසිම් ඇමැතිවරයාගේ ලේකම්වරයාගේ තොරතුරකට අනුවයි මේ සිද්ධිය අනාවරණය වුනේ. ඒ පිළිබද පරික්ෂණවලිදී තමයි වනාත විල්ලුව සිද්ධීය අනාවරණය වෙන්නේ. එහිදි අත් අඩංගුවට ගත්ත පුපුරන ද්‍රව්‍ය තොගය කොළඹ නගරයෙන් භාගයක් පුපුරවා හරින්න තිබුණා. ඒ තොරතුර දුන්න කියලා මේ ලේකම්වරයාගේ ඔලුවට වෙඩි තිබ්බා.අදත් ලෙඩ ඇදේ. දැන් ඒ ඇමැතිවරයාගේ ආරක්ෂාවත් ප්‍රශ්නයක්. රෝ එකෙන් ලියුම ආවා. අරහෙට දැම්මා. මෙහෙට දැම්මා කියලා නිදහස් වෙන්න බැහැ. මාධ්‍යයෙන් ප්‍රශ්න කරලා තියෙනවා.

අදටත්නාවික හමුදාවේ 15ක් අත් අඩංගුවේ. යුද හමුදාවේ දෙන්නෙක් අත් අඩංගුවේදි ප්‍රශ්න කිරීමෙන් පස්සේ රෝහලට ගිහින් භාරදීමෙන් පසුව මිය ගිය නිසා මරණ දඩුවම හිමිවෙලා හිරේ ඉන්නවා. එල්. ටි. ටි. ටී.ඊයේ ගුවන් හමුදා ප්‍රදානියා, අයි.ටී. ප්‍රධානියා ප්‍රමාණවත් සාක්ෂි නැති නිසා කියලා මේ වෙද්දි නිදහස්කරලා. බුද්ධි අංශ නිලධාරීන් ඇප පිට සුබසාධණ කටයුතුවල. මේවා දෙස බලද්දි බුද්ධි අංශ අකර්මන්‍ය කිරීම සිතා මතා කළ බව පේනවා. රටේ ආරක්ෂාව යම් තරමකට දුර්වල කරලා රටේ ප්‍රශ්නයක් ඇති වෙනතුරුයි ඉදලා තියෙන්නේ. අගමැති තුමා ප5ශ්නයට පැනපු හැටියෙන්ම ඒක පේනවා. මේක ගෝලීය ත්‍රස්තවාදය. අපිට විදේස් සහාය අවශයයි කියද්දි. ඇමරිකාව සුදානම්. අපි අහන්නේ මේ බරහරි රටවල් ඉස්ලාමීය අන්තවාදී ප්‍රශ්න විසදන්න ගිහින් ප්‍රශ්නය විසදලා තියෙන්නේ කොහොද. හැම රටකටම ඇතුළත් වෙලා රටවල් විනාශ වෙන්න ඇරලාතියෙන්නේ. .තවමත් ඒ රටවලින් ගිහින් නැහැ. මේ අයගේ ජාත්‍යන්තර ආධාර අරන් ගොඩ ගිය රටක් නැහැ. සමහර අන්තවාදි සංවිධාන බිහිවෙන්නත් මේ අය මුල්වුනා. ඒ විදියට බිහිවුනු සංවිධාන මේ රටවල් වලින් ගෙන්වපුවාම ඇත්වෙන්නේ මොන වගේ තත්ත්වයක්ද කියලා හිතාගන්න පුලුවන්. ආරක්ෂක මන්ඩලයට පොලිස්පතිවරයා කැදවන්නේ නැහැලු. විපක්ෂයේ කණ්ඩායමක් ආරක්ෂක මණ්ඩලයේ වැඩකරන බව සරත් පොන්සේකා මහතා කියනවා. එහෙම වෙනවා නම් ඒකත් වැරදියි. ලෝකයේ දරුණුතම ත්‍රස්තවාදය පරාජය කරපු බුද්ධි අංශ හා හමුදාවන් අපිට තිබුණා. හමුදාවන්ට හැකියාව තියෙනවා නායකයින්ට බැරි බැරියාව හැදිලා තියෙන්නේ. බලයට එද්දි කතා කලේ යහපාලනය. ආර්ථීක කළමණාකරණය ගැන. ජනතාව දැන් ආර්ථික කලමණාකරණය, යහපාලනය, සංහිදියාව ගැන හොදට දන්නවා. අද වෙද්දි පන්සලට පල්ලියට යන්න බැරි තැනට සංහිදියාව ගොඩනැගිලා. මෙතනදි රජටේ ප්‍රධානීන් වෙන ජනාධිපති අගමැති අස්විය යුතුයි. අස් වෙන්න බැරිනම්මැතිවරණයකට යා යුතුයි. මැතිවරණයකින් රට ගොඩගන්න පුලුවන් නායකත්වයක් බිහිකර ගන්න අවස්ථාව හෝ ජනතාවට දිය යුතුයි. දැන් රට ආර්ථික වශයෙන් ගොඩගැනීම පස්සට දාලා රට ආරක්ෂා කිරීමට මුලපිරිය යුතුයි.

ජාතික ආරක්ෂාව පිලිබඳ සර්වපාක්ෂික සමුළුව 2019 අප්‍රේල් 25-  සර්වපාක්ෂික සමුන්‍දාවේදී ඉදිරිපත් කළ අදහස්

April 25th, 2019

ශ්‍රී ලංකා පොදුජන පෙරමුණ

පසුගිය පාස්කු ඉරිදා දින සිදුවූ සහාසික ත්‍රස්ත ප්‍රහාරයෙන් පසු තත්වය සාකච්චා කිරීම සඳහා සර්ව පාක්ෂික සමුළුවක් කැදවීම පිළබඳ ශ්‍රී ලංකා පොදුජන පෙරමුණේ ගෞරවය පුද කර සිටින අතර ඒ සඳහා සහභාගී වීමට අප පක්ෂය වෙත ආරාධනා කිරීම සම්බන්ධයෙන් ස්තුතිය පල කර සිටින්නෙමු. 

පසුගිය ත්‍රස්ත ප්‍රහාරය පිළිබඳවත් ඉන් පෙර,පසු තත්වය පිළිබඳවත් පවතින තත්වය හමුවේ  ගත යුතු ඉදිරි ක්‍රියාමාර්ග පිළිබඳව ජාතික ආරක්ෂාව සහ ජාතීන් අතර සමගිය වෙනුවෙන් ඕනෑම කැපකිරීමක් කිරීමට නිරන්තර සූදානමින් සිටින අප පක්ෂයේ අදහස් හා යෝජනා මෙසේ ඉදිරිපත් කරන්නෙමු.

  • ශ්‍රී ලංකා පොදුජන පෙරමුණ ලෙස අපේ දර්ශනය සිංහල,දමිළ,මුස්ලිම්,මැලේ,බර්ගර් යන සියලු ශ්‍රී ලංකික පුරවැසි සහෝදරත්වයන්ට තම තමන්ගේ සංස්කෘතික අනන්‍යතාවයන් රැක ගෙන නිදහසේ ජීවත්විය හැකි. සෞභාග්‍යමත් සුරක්ෂිත රටක් නිර්මාණය කිරීමයි.  ඒ අනුව වාර්ගික සුහදත්වය ආගමික සහජීවනය සහිතව ජිවත්වන නුතන ශ්‍රී ලංකීය ජාතිය නිර්මාණය කිරීම අපේ ඒකායන අපේක්ෂාවයි.
  • මානව සමාජයේ අනෙක් සියලු අයිතීන් තියෙන්නේ ජිවත් වීමේ අයිතියට යටින්. ඒ නිසා ජාතික ආරක්ෂාවට ඉහලින් කිසිවක් තියෙන්න බෑ. වාර්ගික සුහදත්වයආගමික සහජීවනය  ආදී මේ සියලු යහපත් මානව බැදීම් නිර්මාණය වන්නේ සුරක්ෂිත සමාජ වටපිටාවක් තුළ පමණයි. සංහිදියාව තියෙන්නෙත් ජාතික ආරක්ෂාව නැමති මහා පොදු සාධකය ඇතුලේ.
  • නමුත් පහු ගිය කාලේ ජාතික ආරක්ෂාව සහ ජාතික සංහිදියාව අතර ප්‍රතිවිරෝධයක් තිබෙන බවට වූ ආකල්පයක් ඉහල සිට පහලට සමාජ ගත උනා. ඒ ආකල්පය විසින් අන්තිමේදී ජාතික ආරක්ෂාව පිළිබඳව උනන්දු වීම ජාතික සංහිදියාවට එරෙහිවීමක් යන මතය අපේ පොළවේ පැළ කලා. එක හරියට හුස්ම ගැනීම හදවතට අහිතකරයි කියනවා වගේ අවිද්‍යාත්මක විකෘති අදහසක්. දැන සහ නොදැන ඍජුව හා වක්‍රව එකී තත්වය මේ මහා විපතට හේතුවක් උනා.
  • අපි අවධාරණය කරන්නේ  ජාතික ආරක්ෂාව නිසි තැන ස්ථානගත කරන්න කියලා. ජාතික ආරක්ෂාවට හිමි තැන දෙන්න කියලා. ජාතික ආරක්ෂාව කළමනාකරණය කිරීමේ  වගකීම නිසි වෘත්තියභාවයක් සහිත පරිනත සුදුස්සන් අතට පත් කරන්න කියලා. 
  • ජාතික ආරක්ෂක කවුන්සිලය ප්‍රමුඛව ජාතික ආරක්ෂාව භාර ආයතන වල බරපතල බිද වැටීමක් අපට නිරීක්ෂණය උනා. වහාම ජාතික ආරක්ෂාව භාර ආයතන විද්‍යාත්මකව ප්‍රතිව්‍යුහගත කරන්න.
  • රාජ්‍ය බුද්ධි සේවා අත්තනෝමතික දණ්ඩනයකට ලක්වී අති බව ප්‍රසිද්ධ කරුණක්. ඒ හේතුවෙන් රාජ්‍ය බුද්ධි සේවාවන් අකර්මන්‍ය වෙලා. රාජ්‍යයක  පැවැත්ම උදෙසා රාජ්‍ය බුද්ධි සේවාවක ඇති අවශ්‍යතාව වහාම තේරුම් අරගෙන අකර්මන්‍ය කර ඇති රාජ්‍ය බුද්ධි සේවාව යලි සක්‍රිය කරන ලෙස අපි ඉතා අවධාරණයෙන් ඉල්ලා සිටිනවා.
  • රැස් කරගන්න ලද තොරතුරු නිශ්චිත දත්ත බවට පත්වෙන්නේ විද්‍යාත්මක පිරිපහදු (Filtering) කිරීමකට පස්සේ. බුද්ධි සේවාවක් විසින් ඉදිරිපත් කරන බුද්ධිමය දත්ත කියන්නේ ඕපා දුප නොවේ. පසුගිය සිදුවීම විශ්ලේෂණය කරද්දී අපට පෙනී යනවා බුද්ධි අංශ දත්තයන්ට සාමාන්‍ය කට කතාවකට ලැබෙන තරමේ වත් වටිනාකමක් ලැබී නොමැති බව. බෙහෙත් ගත්තට වැඩක් නැහැ බෙහෙත් බොන්නේ නැත්නම්. ඒ නිසා ලැබෙන බුද්ධි තොරතුරු නිසි ලෙස භාවිතයට ගැනීම වගකිව යුත්තන්ගේ ප්‍රමුඛතම වගකීමක්.
  • ජාතික ව්‍යසනයකින් පසු හැසිරීම. වර්තමාන ආණ්ඩුව වහාම අධ්‍යනය කල යුතුයි. මේ සිද්ධියේදී  සිවිල් නායකයින් සහ සාමාන්‍ය මහජනතාව ඉතා දියුණු හැසිරීමක් ප්‍රකට කලා. ඔවුන් හිටියේ වගකිව යුතු බලධාරීන්ට වඩා බොහොම ඉදිරියෙන්.
  • මේ වන විට නිර්මාණය වී ඇති තත්වය පාදක කරගනිමින් ශ්‍රී ලාංකීය මුස්ලිම් ජනතාව කෙරෙහි  වෛරයක් ඇති කොට ජාතීන් අතර සමගිය පළුදු කිරීමේ කුමන්ත්‍රණයක් 1983 කළු ජූලිය නිර්මාණය කළා සේ මේ මොහොතේ මතු විය හැකි බැවින් ඉතා වගකීමෙන් සියලු ජන කොටස්වල ආරක්ෂාව තහවුරු කිරීම ආණ්ඩුවේ මූලිකම වගකීම විය යුතුය.
  • පාස්කු ඉරිදා ඛේදවාචකය සිදු වූ සැනින් මනුෂ්‍යතත්වයේ නාමයෙන් සහ රාජකාරිමය වගකීමෙන් ඉදිරිපත් වූ අසල්වැසියන්ට, රෝහල් කාර්යමණ්ඩලයන්ට, ආරක්ෂක අංශ නිලධාරීන්ට සියලු අපදා සහන සේවාවන්ට. මෙන්ම පරිත්‍යාගශිලිව සහ කම්පනයන් යුතුව  උපකාර කල සැමටත් අපි හිස නමා අචාර කරනවා.
  • පළාත් සභා 09 න් 08 ක්ම මේ වන විට නිල කාලය අවසන් වීම හේතුවෙන් මහජන සේවාවන් පවත්වාගෙන යාම සම්බන්ධයෙන් බරපතල දුෂ්කරතා පවතිද්දී ඊට මුහුණදෙමින් අපගේ පළාත් පාලන ආයතන සියල්ල මගින් මේ මොහොතට අවශ්‍ය සියලු සේවාවන් ලබාදීම සදහා 24 පැය පුරාම අපගේ මහජන නියෝජිතයන් සහ පළාත් පාලන ආයතන සූදානම් කර ඇත.

What the government should do

April 25th, 2019

Sunil Vijaya

Dear Editor,   

We are no experts on security however common sense would suggest the following.

  1.  Declare a 24-hour curfew and round up all Wahaabis (Saudi influenced radical islamists). both men and women and politicians and incarcerate them indefinitely, under emergency laws.  If Human Right lobby such as AI cry foul, request them to keep the terrorists in their homes. 
  • Negligence by even former government led to this catastrophe.  Begin clean up from MUHUDU MAHA VIHARA precincts in Pottuvil.  Drive out all wahabis from the temple land they encroached with the help of wahabi politicians.re is There is an undeclared protection of wahabis by some ministers in the cabinet and that has to be investigated.
  • All wahabis in Eastern province and Colombo and other provinces should come under the microscope from this day onwards. Pottuvil is the equivalent of Velveteturai where during 70s no police could enter that area without being shot at. The same situation now in Pottuvil – no law and order.
  • Ban the burka dress asap as suggested by an MP.
  • Take even the minor things seriously and be PROACTIVE not just REACTIVE.  A person who made an offensive remark on linking IS to a person was questioned by Police in Kandy and every one, not confined to security personnel, should be vigilant like the LTTE days.
  • There could be cyber-attack on government websites initiated by a foreign country with links to IS, to cripple the country.  So let the internet security beefed up to meet this challenge.

Thank you

Sunil Vijaya

The terrorist attacks carried churches and hotels in Sri Lanla

April 25th, 2019

International Network for Sri Lankan Democracy (INSD), Stuttgart 

We at International Network for Sri Lankan Democracy (INSD) condemn the terrorist attacks carried out targeting churches and hotels in Sri Lanka claiming lives of over 300 innocent civilians including foreigners, and injuring nearly 500.  

We commend the people of Sri Lanka for the patient manner in which they reacted at a time of shock and immense grief.

A close look at the facts shows that the government of Sri Lanka could have avoided this disaster if due consideration had been given to  the information provided by international intelligence with regard to the attacks. The fact that the Minister of Defense who is also the President, to whose attention this information had been brought, completely ignored the matter at the heavy cost of civilian lives, is appalling. Further, it has been brought to light that the Minister of Defense failed to inform the Prime Minister, the second citizen of the country, about this crucial matter concerning the security of the people. This appears to be purposeful. The Minister of Defense, with his stubbornness and arrogance, has once more failed the country and should be held responsible for the innocent lives lost. 

We call upon the government of Sri Lanka to bring to justice all involved in the terror attack as well as all officers guilty of unethical conduct.  

Finally, we request all citizens to remain composed and cautious, to extend your fullest corporation to bring the terrorists to justice and to disregard the actions of individuals and groups who are trying to gain political advantage using this situation.

Ranjith Lochbihler.

Sivasamy Sivarajan.

Mankayatkarasy Sivarajan.

Ruwandi Silva.

Krishna subramania.

Senaka Wattegedara.

BUDDHISM IN THE NORTHERN PROVINCE (1990-2019)

April 25th, 2019

KAMALIKA PIERIS

This essay presents some events relating to Buddhism in the north in the last three decades.  But first some news from the Eastern province. In January 2019 it was reported that construction work on the tallest Buddha statue in the Batticaloa district at Mahindaramaya, Mayelankarachchi in the Koralai Pattu West, Valaichchenai has commenced. The 60-foot statue will be the tallest in Batticaloa said Mahindaramaya Chief Incumbent Ven. Kaddukasthodda Mahindalangara.

Some new temples were erected during the period under review. Admiral Sandagiri, then Commander Northern naval area   built a Buddhist temple, Sanghamitta Seya,   at Dambukola patuna, where Sanghamitta is said to have   landed in Sri Lanka. The foundation for the Sanghamitta Seya   was laid in 1997. The pinnacle was unveiled in 2005, again by Sandagiri, then Chief of Defense staff and Commander of the navy.

The origins of Kankesanturai Thaiyiddi Tissa Viharaya could be traced to 1946. ‘The deed had been written in 1946’, the media reported. The last Wesak festival celebrated there was on 1954, it was damaged during the Eelam war. The temple was repaired in 2018 and there are plans to construct a sanghawasa (monastery) and a dharmasala.

Navatkuliya Sri Samiddhi Sumana Viharaya also had a rough ride. In 2009 57 Buddhist families were brought in and settled in Navatkuli.  They were Sinhala families that had been driven out of Jaffna in 1984 and 1990. Navatkuli is located 6 km from Jaffna. There was a fairly large Sinhalese community in Jaffna at the time. The Jaffna Sinhala Vidyalaya had 250 students. Life was pleasant with the Tamils and Sinhalese getting along like one family. Our family had roots in Maniyamthottam and Kankesanthurai and I knew Jaffna district like the back of my hand, said one returnee.  Eight generations of her family had lived in Jaffna.

Demonstrations were organized against the settlers.   Two Tamil politicians S.Sritharan and Suresh Premachandran said this was government-sponsored Sinhala colonization.  A temple was constructed in 2013. It was promptly bombed.  In 2017   the residents wanted to start work on a new stupa. The Chavakachcheri Pradeshiya Sabha refused permission and also went to courts against the construction of the stupa. Chavakachcheri Magistrate S. Chandrasekeran  disagreed with this . He  ordered the Chavakachcheri Pradeshiya Sabha to permit the construction of the temple’s stupa without any hindrance. His verdict was publicly applauded by the sangha.

The main temple in Jaffna town today is the well known modern Naga Vihara. I am unable to find out the year in which the modern Naga Viharaya in Jaffna was established. My guess is that it would have been built in the 1950s or possibly late 1940s. The Vihara somehow survived the Eelam wars. It had ‘resumed’ religious activities from 1997,  including Katina puja.   The first ever Buddhist Perahera organized by Naga Vihara in Jaffna was held on Esala poya day, 2003, with participation of Sri Lanka army, said the media. 

The pinnacle  for Naga Vihara chaitya was handed over to the viharadhipathi in 2002 by two Catholics, Dr Jayalath Jayawardene and Fr. Ranjan Silva. Buddhist organizations objected. It should have been done by a monk or Buddhist leader, they said. The signatories were National Council of Buddhist women, ACWBC, International Buddhist centre, Dayake Sabhawa, Sadaham charika, SUCCESS Colombo, Dhammacharini, Lanka Buddha Sanrakshana Sabhawa, Dharmavijaya Foundation, and Buddhist Doctors Society.

The media reported that the Katina Puja  at Naga Vihara was resumed in 2009.   The next available news is that the Katina puja was held on a grand scale in 2012. It attracted thousands, said the media. The religious activities were conducted by the Naga Vihara Development Foundation, Jaffna, and the Tamil Buddhist Association. The Nandarama Tamil Dhamma School under the auspices of the Association also participated.  The army helped. Bhikkhus from many parts of the country participated. There was also a Perahera in 2012, with elephants and dancers.  The elephants were sent from Gangaramaya in Colombo.

A group of 12 lawyers   had gone to courts to prevent the last rites of the late chief incumbent of the Naga Vihara, Ven. Meegahajandure Gnanaratana, being performed at the Jaffna Fort Sports Ground. The restraining order had been sought on two grounds. Permission had not been obtained from Jaffna Municipal Council and secondly,  the cremation of bodies could damage the environment. Jaffna Magistrate Katheeswaran  did not agree. He refused to issue a restraining order.

Wesak celebrations were organized in Jaffna in 2005 by army commander, Jaffna  and his   team.  Religious activities were at Naga Vihara and Kadurugoda temple. Large crowds had thronged  to Jaffna for Wesak to view the celebration. There were lanterns and dansalasa at the Alfred Duraiyappah stadium.

Jaffna celebrated Wesak in 2009 too. Families of the forces personnel in Jaffna observed sil at the Naga Vihara Jaffna. The  celebration lasted for three days. Wesak lanterns were lit along the main trunk roads,  main junctions and at the army camp. Wesak was also celebrated   at Lumbini Vihara, Kilinochchi.  Daily News carried a photograph showing the Perahera there.

In 2014 , Wesak celebrations were organized in Jaffna  by the Jaffna Buddhist Society” with  the assistance of the army. This too attracted large crowds. There was a special Wesak zone  with a giant pandal  and a dansela run by the army.   The Wesak zone attracted over 100,000 on first day.  Bhakthi Gee were sung by soldiers, students of Jaffna schools and the students of the  Manipay Nandarama Tamil Buddhist Dhamma School.

Wesak celebrations organized by the Jaffna Security Force Headquarters in 2018 were very popular, judging from the crowd turnout.  The Wesak Dansela catered to over 15,000 people each day. The Wesak pandals attracted large crowds. Previously, if a person from Jaffna needed to witness the Wesak celebrations, they would have to travel either to Anuradhapura or Colombo, but now with the Wesak celebrations being held in the North, the Northern people too could enjoy this festival,”   the public said .  Both the young and old come for the Wesak celebrations. They enjoy seeing the lanterns and pandals and it also gives them an understanding of the Buddhist culture. Tamil  politicians, however,  objected to the Wesak celebrations .

In 2010 Sunday Leader said that  Wesak is a modern Buddhist festival started in 1950. Celebration is centered on the display of lights and lanterns and  elaborate sponsored displays in the streets.  In 2010 the military had organized Buddhist celebrations in traditionally Tamil Hindu areas of the country including Jaffna. They are trying to show that the north is a Buddhist area said Jaffna MP Suresh Premachandran. This could be seen as communal triumphalism. It ‘confirms the fear that this is a Sinhala Buddhist country’’   concluded                                   the report in Sunday Leader.

There appears to have been two Tamil Buddhist Associations, in Jaffna   one after the other. A Tamil Dhamma Buddhist Association was started around 1959 by Maruthar Vairamuttu (1918- 2012). He lived in Manipay and was a handicrafts teacher. He had converted to Buddhism and had associated with Ven Akuretiye Amarawansa, Madihe Pannaseeha, Kanaweththewe Nandarama and Ganegama Saranankara.  Vairamuthu had worked with Nissanka Wijeratne when Wijeratne was    Government Agent, Jaffna. He had also helped individuals from depressed castes  obtain jobs.

This Association   seems to have died a natural death. A second Tamil Buddhist Association started by A. Ravi Kumar of Manipay, Jaffna. This was launched in 2010 at the All Ceylon Buddhist Centre in Colombo.  ‘Divaina’ newspaper, May 11, 2014   told his story.

Arunnethwaraththam Ravi Kumar’s father was an Inspector of Police. The permanent residence of the family was in Jaffna, but he studied till Grade 10 in Bandarawela.  I associated mostly with the Sinhalese”. He thereafter lived in Jaffna where he clashed with Prabhakaran, received death threats and for his safety went to India.  He lived in Chennai and Mumbai, working as a travel agent. His wife was abducted and his daughter was taken in by relatives. He was depressed and looked for solace. He tried Hare Krishna, Pentecostal and Sikhism. ‘One day I chanced upon a meditation centre. I practiced meditation for ten days. I liked it’. He then turned to Buddhism.

On his return to Sri Lanka, he wanted others also to share ‘the feeling of the soothing peace of mind Buddhism brings’. He  founded the Jaffna Buddhist Association. Tamil politicians had  told the Tamils in Jaffna that Buddhism is a Sinhalese Religion. They misled the Tamil people, and made them keep away from Buddhism and the temple. They should not be deceived any longer. They should experience the Dhamma for themselves, he said.

Ravi Kumar started Nandarama Tamil Dhamma School, in Chunnakam in 2012 in his home..  It is  the first Buddhist Dhamma School in the Tamil Language. When I started the Buddhist Dhamma School, Suresh Premachandran accused me of trying to destroy the Tamil culture by doing so. I pointed out that the Christian religion had already done that.

 Ravi Kumar carries on with his work by himself, said Divaina in 2014. 50 Tamil children are taught the Dhamma at this school. The school manages with difficulty. It lacks a suitable building. They study under a thatched roof.  There is no offer of help, Ravi told Divaina.  11 students  of this school, under the patronage of Chief Incumbent of Naga Viharaya Ven. Megahajadure Siri Vimala went on a pilgrimage to Bodh Gaya in 2013. In 2014 the  students observed sil on the Poson poya day. Around 53 children participated in the sil progamme. The  progamme was    organized by Naga Vihara, ACBC, Sambodhi Vihara, Colombo with the help of the security forces in Jaffna.

Jaffna was used as the venue for Buddhist conferences on two instances. The Karuna International Buddhist Convention organized by the Triple Gem Foundation, Bengaluru,   held its annual conference in 2015 at Weerasingham Hall, Jaffna.  The co-sponsors of the event are Tripitaka Tamil Foundation, Chennai, Dhamma Vijaya, Maha Vihara, Madurai, Buddhist Trust of Andhra Pradesh, East Godhavari, Sarvodaya Wisvaanikethan, Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Mahabodhi Society, Sri Wardanarama Purana Vihara and Naga Vihara, Jaffna.  Chief Organizer of Karuna International Convention   Ven. Bodhipala said he had been visiting Sri Lanka three times a year since 1999 and was a guest of Siri Perakumba Viharaya, Pita Kotte.

The very first Buddhist Congress in the North with the participation of Buddhist monks from the Northern Province was planned for March 22 2019 at Vavuniya Sri Bodhi DhakshinaramaTemple, under the patronage of the Chief Sanghanayaka of Northern and Eastern provinces, the Chairman of the Vavuniya District ‘Sasanarakshaka Balamandalaya’ Ven. But Suren Raghavan and North East Chief Sanganayaka Most Ven. Siyambala Gaswewa Wimalasara.

The Tamil Separatist politicians  objected to the construction of Buddhist temples in the north. Tamil Peoples’ Council, headed by Northern Province Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran said,  in a statement  issued in 2016    that Buddha Viharas are sprouting like mushrooms in areas where there are no Buddhists. Buddha statues have come up in front of the 2500 year old Thirukoneswara Hindu temple in Trincomalee and the Thiruketheeswaram temple in North West Sri Lanka.

A Buddha Vihara has come up in front of the hot water springs in Kinniya (Trincomalee district.) A Buddha statue has come up in Sambaltheevu with police protection. In Kokkilai in Mullaitivu district, a Buddha Vihara is coming up with army support despite a claim to the land by a local Tamil. There are nine Buddha Viharas being built in Mullaitivu district alone.

Other places in the Northern Province where Buddha Viharas are coming up are Omanthai, Semmadu, Kanakarayankulam, Kilinochchi, Mankulam, Paranthan and Pooneryn. A 67 foot Buddha statue is coming up in front of the Nainai Nagabhooshani Amman Hindu temple. Northern Province Governor Reginold Cooray   said in reply that there are only 13 Buddhist temples in the entire Northern Province and that there is nothing wrong in constructing Buddhist temples.

In 2016 there have been demands for the removal of Buddhist temples, statues, and shrines built in the Northern Province, reported the media.     In August 2016 TNA MPs met Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe and raised concerns about Buddhist temples and statues being built in the area. The Northern Provincial Council   passed a resolution in 2016  prohibiting the construction of Buddhist temples in the north.   The British Tamil Forum (GTF) launched in 2017, a book titled Proliferation of Buddhist structures in Tamil Homeland-sowing the seeds of disharmony.”

The Tamil Peoples’ Council (TPC),  invited people to join a mass protest in Jaffna on September 24, 2016 to demand a stop to the construction of Buddha statues and Buddhist temples in areas in the Northern Province where there are no Buddhists.  Wigneswaran issued a statement where he said, stop erecting Buddha statues and Buddhist temples illegally and in places where there are no Buddhists, except in the army camps.  He also objected to putting up Buddha statues and temples illegally on private lands.

Tamil National Alliance MP P. Raviharan said in 2018 that Buddha statues and temples had been built in areas where there were no Buddhists. This was done  to demonstrate the power of the Sinhalese.  There were 131 sites of Buddhist religious worship in the North, of which 67 were in Mullaitivu. These were ‘unlawful’ as there were no Sinhalese living in those areas. They must  be removed immediately.

DM Swaminathan responding to a complaint that there were attempt to build Buddhist temple and Buddhist statue in Kilinochchi, said that no one will be allowed to remove Buddhist temples or statues in the north and Buddhist monks and devotees had the right to built temples and statues in any part of the  Northern Province.

Buddhist places of worship were attacked and vandalized. Shrine room at Mankulam had been vandalized on or around August 31 2016. It was erected by the army in its camp at Mankulam.  This was not an isolated incident, said the media. The Bo tree and shrine room at Sambaltivu in Trincomalee was cut down and destroyed.  

A Fundamental Rights application was lodged in 2016 challenging the vandalizing of Buddhist statues in north.  There was specific reference  to the shrine room at Mankulam but  the petitioner stated that this was not an isolated instance. Over the past few months there have been constant demands for the removal of  Buddhist statues from Northern Province.The Buddhist  archaeological sites in the Northern Province are  also under threat.

The Supreme Court in October 2018 issued re-notice on the Vice Chancellor and several other officials of the Jaffna University, over a complaint made by five Buddhist Students of the faculty of Business studies.  The petitioner students said they were prevented from entering the campus premises because they had attempted to install an enclosure to house a Buddha statue in their hostel premises. They had been suspended. They have requested the Court to direct the VC to allow them to enter the university premises and declare the violation of their fundamental rights by the university.

Response of Sinhala Buddhists to the Muslim Menace

April 25th, 2019

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane

The Bodu Bala Sena is a movement under the leadership of group of distinguished, academically accomplished, and deeply patriotic Bhikkhus and lay Buddhists, dedicated to the task of revitalizing and reinforcing cultural nationalism in Sri Lanka, the only motherland of the Sinhala community. In spite of varied challenges and threats to which they were subject in the recent past, it continues to have a steadfast support base among concerned Buddhists both ordained and lay, across the country and overseas. Its aim is to save our nation from spiritual decay and disintegration, to halt the erosion of Buddhist social values and to peacefully counter the varied local and foreign forces  that are hell-bent on undermining Buddhist culture and related heritage of Sri Lanka. It aims at directing society towards a cultural rejuvenation based on traditional Buddhist norms, principles and values which have been the foundation of this nation for over 2200 years.

Sri Lanka’s Bhikkhus, should necessarily be in the forefront in movements aimed at protecting and promoting the Buddha Sasana or the historic Buddhist establishment, especially when it is under threat. Bhikkhus of the Bodu Bala Sena have voluntarily made their choice to take an open public stand on issues surrounding Buddhism and Buddhist culture which is the greatest treasure that Sri Lanka could offer to the world or to humanity. Why should anyone feel uncomfortable when the traditional spiritual leaders of our country, the Bhikkhus, take the initiative and provide necessary leadership to protect the greatest wealth of this nation – our Buddhist cultural heritage?

Like anyone else, under a democratic system, Bhikkhus are eligible to exercise their rights, including political rights. They are traditional leaders of this nation.  Those who object to the initiative taken by our Bhikkhus of the Bodu Bala Sena, appear to be those with ulterior motives, those having their own self-interests to promote, those attempting to promote blind beliefs and establish unwholesome lifestyles based on such beliefs, those opposed to further strengthening  and consolidation of Buddhist culture in this country, and those resorting to unwholesome activities that are contrary to Buddhist norms and principles and all those who are inclined to undermining the Buddha Sasana and Buddhist values which have been preserved and promoted for thousands of years in this country, by the large majority of its inhabitants. These undesirable elements may feel uncomfortable about the Bodu Bala Sena activities which are, on all counts, legitimate, wholesome and timely. Non-violence and compassion form the basis upon which the programme of activities of the Bodu Bala Sena is structured. Our Bhikkhus have become a thorn in the flesh of religious extremists, the recent breed of inter-faith dialogue facilitators, those in the ethnic and human rights businesses and above all those who are funded or backed by extremist anti-Buddhist elements. 

Genuine and practicing Buddhists of our country should be closely and actively involved in politics. They have a duty by the nation, which is founded on Buddhist principles, to be fully involved and participating in their nation’s political life. Most of the ills of our country’s political life could be attributed to the absence of genuine Buddhists in the political arena. This is particularly relevant today owing to the fact that our nation is severely threatened at present by diverse negative forces, especially by Muslim fanatics. They are trying hard to undermine the wholesome Buddhist cultural heritage and values of our nation.

It is the Buddhist perspective to public life and decision-making, that is most needed today in the country’s political domain. We need compassionate politicians with unselfish and mindful interest in the welfare of the country. This alone can bring about needed positive changes in public life which at present is infected with dishonesty, crime and corruption. The impact and influence of such people can make a big difference. They can help to generate a wholesome political culture, that is characterized by Buddhist approaches and attitudes and a truly Buddhist atmosphere, conducive to the development of a healthy political climate in our nation, so that all nationals will benefit irrespective of their diverse origins and cultural-religious inclinations.  

Politics in actual fact is simply about deciding how to live together peaceably while bringing together the wide variety of perspectives available in the human realm. It is something necessary and something creative.  Politics is part of our life. If we regard all life as sacred and politics is a part of life, then politics must be sacred. Politics is not an inherently unclean and base activity. It becomes dirty in the way that everything else becomes dirty. That is, through lack of attention, through lack of mindfulness, through ego, all of which resulting in greed, hatred and delusion. The best kind of politics can take the profound viewpoints and virtues of spiritual practice and apply them in the public realm. Buddhism can be of fundamental help in this regard.

If we do not bring spiritual virtues to the public arena, we are destined to both a selfish kind of spirituality and a selfish kind of government, devoid of vision and meaning. It is time that more and more of our genuine and practicing Buddhists entered the political arena in various influential capacities. We are grateful to and value the initiative and leadership provided, in this regard by the highly esteemed movements such as the Bodu Bala Sena, Sinhala Ravaya, Ravana Balaya  among others.      

SOCIALLY ENGAGED BUDDHISM

Buddhism has always been engaged in various socio-political contexts. The idea of interdependence is widely associated with Buddhism. Buddhism is the religion of Human Ecology. Engaging in the lives of others through compassion, sacrifice and service is the worthy spiritual path that we need to observe in the contemporary world. We need to expand our approach or shift somewhat away from those traditional customs that excessively promote monasticism and individual salvation, and become more socially engaged and be more concerned about service to the community, the human habitat and the environment in general.  We need to broaden our spiritual practices to include both family and community and the social and environmental concerns of the broader world. We need to approach meditation not as a way of escaping from society or getting out of society, but to prepare us for a re-entry into society so that we will be better able to identify and understand social hardships, misery and perils, and be able to do something tangible to relieve them.  It is time that we as Buddhists involve ourselves in an organized manner, become socially engaged and apply Buddhism to matters of everyday life, individual work, family, politics and the community.  It needs to be a direct application of Buddhist principles and concepts to the overall development of our motherland, to the varied social, economic and political issues that have implications for the short and long term welfare and development of our motherland, the only country of the Sinhala  community.              

The great mass of Sinhala Buddhists continues to be lethargic and appear to be adopting an indifferent attitude towards the plight of their fellow Buddhists. It is a pity that today, being a Buddhist is of secondary importance to many  Sinhala Buddhists. This explains the lack of unity and a common stand when it comes to matters pertaining to securing and promoting the rights and privileges of Sinhala Buddhists. They get together in temples to perform common Buddhist rituals, but are reluctant to join forces when it comes of securing or promoting the legitimate rights of Sinhala Buddhists of this nation. They show indifference to the idea of joining hands as Buddhists, in an organized manner, to deal with forces that violate Buddhist rights and are a threat to Buddhist culture and values.  As long as this prevails, they will fail to become a force to counter the threats and violations of their legitimate rights in their only homeland. It is their motherland whose cultural foundation has been inspired by Buddhism.

Buddhist cultural norms and values are being threatened today by Muslim extremists. The violation of the historic rights of Sinhala Buddhists by Muslims is clearly evident today. Under the circumstances, the initiative of some of our Mahasangha, providing leadership  to the Bodu Bala Sena organization is timely and most admirable.  In spite of challenges from various quarters, they are determined to provide a genuine leadership to this movement to save the Buddhas Sasana and the Buddhist heritage of this country.  This is demonstrated well by the courage, forthrightness, fearlessness, determination and foresight that they have shown.

THE BUDDHA SASANA

Of all the institutions and organizations of the country, the Buddha Sasana is the oldest and the most fundamental of organizations of our country for over 2200 years. It is this institution that promoted and protected the Buddha Dhamma and fostered Buddhist culture and values among us. It is this institution that formed the foremost advisory body of our kings, royalty and leaders. It is this institution that was instrumental in laying the cultural foundation of our country. It is this institution that endured the harshest of punishments and atrocities during invasions of our country by the South Indian Tamil-speaking Pandyans, Cholas and others, and the Christian Portuguese, Dutch and British. It is this institution that endured the murder of Bhikkhus, the burning of Buddhist scriptures, the destruction and demolition of Buddhist shrines, monasteries and stupas. It is this institution that helped to develop and enrich our language – Sinhala which is spoken only in our motherland. It is this institution that produced the greatest of our Sinhala scholars, writers, poets, artists among other leaders in various fields.

It is this institution that salvaged and protected the priceless ola books and scriptures containing valuable information for eternity when the country was under threat by ruthless foreign invaders and ethnic and religious terrorists. It is this institution that provided us with the Mahavamsa, Chulavamsa, Deepavamsa, Thupawamsa, among many other chronicles and works that outline the history of our country, making our country one of the very few countries in the world with a well-recorded history that extends to over 2500 years. It is the structures and historic sites connected with this institution which have preserved for us the rich, exquisite and most fascinating collection of our indigenous sculpture, paintings, architecture, wood carvings, and unique fine arts. It is this institution that was instrumental in the preserving for us one of the greatest cultural events of the country – the Dalada Perahera, which has been able to preserve for us the richness and uniqueness of our indigenous visual culture and most enchanting heritage of performing arts. It is this glorious and invaluable historic institution of ours, the Buddha Sasana,  that is being threatened today by the extremist Muslim menace. 

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane

සිංහල – මුස්ලිම් උණුසුම එක්වරම ඉවැන්ජලිකල් – කතෝලික තෙරපුමක් දක්වා පරිවර්තනය වුයේ ඇයි?

April 25th, 2019

නීතීඥ අරුණ ලක්සිරි උණවටුන B.Sc(Col),PGDC(Col)

පසුගිය සතියේ දක්නට ලැබුණ ආගම් නීතිය සහ දේශපාලනය හා බැදී උණුසුම සහ ඒවා හාස්කමකින් මෙන් සමනය වන ආකාරය අතීතයේ දක්නට නො වීය. එය යහපත් ප්‍රවණතාවයකි. 1815 උඩරට ගිවිසුමෙන් පසු 1818 ඇති වූ කැරැල්ලත්, 1962කුමන්ත්‍රණය, 1972 , 1988-1989 ආයුධ සන්නද්ධ අරගලයත්, වසර 30ක් පුරා උතුරු නැගෙනහිර මුල් කරගෙන පැවති සන්නද්ධ ගැටුමත් ලංකාවේ බහුතර සිංහල ජනසමාජයට බොහෝ පාඩම් කියා දී ඇති හෙයින් ජනතාව බේද කරමින්, නැවත මිනිස් සංහාරයක් සිදු කරවීම දක්වා ගැටුමක් නිර්මාණය කළ නො හැකි බව ප්‍රත්‍යක්ෂ වීම ලාංකිකයින් ලැබූ විසල් ජයග්‍රහණයකි.
උතුරු නැගෙනහිර පැවති බෙදුම්වාදී යුද්ධය 2009 මැයි 18 වැනි දින අවසන් වීමත් සමග  වත්මන් බෞද්ධ සමාජයේ බොහෝ පිරිසක් විවිධ නීතිමය ක්‍රියාකාරීත්වයේ හස්තයට හසු වී බන්ධනාගාරගත වීමද, විටෙක දේශපාලන පළිගැනීමේස්වභාවයෙන්ද, විටෙක පසුගිය පාලන සමයේ දූෂණ අක්‍රමිකතා සෙවීම නමින්ද, විටෙක ආගමික මුහුණුවරින්ද සිදු විය. යුද්ධය අවසන් කිරීමට දායක වූ සෙබළුන් ජිනීවා උගුල අටවා කොටු කිරීමට සමත් විය.මුස්ලිම් අන්තවාදයක් සම්බන්ධව සාක්ෂි ඉදිරිපත් වෙමින් බෞද්ධ ජන සමාජය තුළ සැකයක් ඇති කරන පුරාවස්තු විනාශ කිරීම් සහ රක්ෂිත වනාන්තර එළි කරන බවට තොරතුරු පසුගිය දිනවල සමාජයේ බහුල ලෙස සාකච්ඡා විය.
යුද්ධය අවසන් වීමත් සමගම බහුතර සිංහල ජනතාවට සිදු කළ අසාධාරණ
2009 මැයි 18 දිනෙන් පසු බහුතරයක් වූ සිංහල බෞද්ධ ජනතාවට සිදු වූ ප්‍රභල පහරදීම සිදු වූ යේ නීති කෂේත්‍රය තුළිනි. 1971 සිට ශ්‍රී ලංකා නීති විද්‍යාලයේ ස්වභාෂාවෙන් නීතිය ඉගෙනීමට නිදහස් අධ්‍යාපනයේ දරුවන්ට සිරිමා බණ්ඩාරනායක මහත්මියගේ 1970 සමගි පෙරමුණු රජය විසින් හිමිකර දී තිබූ අයිතිය මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ සහ මෛත්‍රීපාල සිරිසේන රජය විසින් කප්පාදු කරමින් ස්වභාෂාවෙන් පාසල් අධ්‍යාපනය ලබන දරුවන්ගේ නීතීයට ඇති ප්‍රවේශය සීමා කරනු ලැබීය. යුද්ධය අවසන් වීමත් සමගම ජපානය, ප්‍රංශය, ජර්මනිය, ඉතාලිය, කොරියාව වැනි දියුණු රටවල අධ්‍යාපන ප්‍රතිපත්ති සම්බන්ධව විමසීමක් නො කර මැකෝලි සාමිවරයාගේ අධ්‍යාපන ප්‍රතිපත්තියම දිගටම ගෙනයාමට මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ ජනාධිපතිවරයා තීරණය කිරීමෙන් විශාල වැරැද්දක් ඔහු රටට සිදු කළේ ය. එමෙන්ම යුද්ධය අවසන් වීමත් සමගම පෙරදිග චින්තනයෙන් අපට උරුම අපේ හර පද්ධතිය නගා සිටුවිමට ඔහු ක්‍රියාකරනවා වෙනුවට සේද මාවත් සංකල්පය අනුව යමින් විදේශ ගැති ආර්ථිකයකට සහ ණය උගුලකට රට යටත් කළේ ය. ජිනීවා මානව හිමකම් උගුල විසදනවා වෙනුවට තවතවත් එයට රට සහ යුධ විරුවන්සිරකරනු ලැබීය.
කරුණාකර කියවන්න – ජිනීවා උගුල මව් භාෂා අයිතිය සහ මානව අයිතිවාසිම්  (2014 මාර්තු 31 රිවිර පුවත්පත 22 පිටුව)මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ රජය විසින් දායාද කළ සියලු දෝෂයන් සමනය කිරීමට කියා බලයට පැමිණි එකී රජයේම ඇමතිවරු සහනියෝජිතයෝ යහපාලන ආණ්ඩුව පිහිටුවා තමන්ගේ පෙර රජයේ වැරදි නැවත සිදුකරමින් තිබීම නිදහස සම්බන්ධ බලාපොරොත්තු තබා සිටි බහුතර සිංහල ජනතාව විමතියටත්, පසුතැවිල්ලටත් පත් කර ඇත. එවනි පරිසරයක පුද්ගලික වෛද්‍ය විද්‍යාල ආරාවුල, ඉවැන්ජලිකල් – කතෝලික තෙරපුම සහ 2017 ජුනි 20 දින ප්‍රකාශයට පත්කළ අස්ගිරිය ප්‍රකාශනය”දිශානති කරන්නේ බහුතර සිංහල ජනතාව පෙරදිග චින්තනයෙන් සවිබල ගැන්විය යුතු බවයි.

කරුණාකර කියවන්න අස්ගිරිය ප්‍රකාශනය ආණ්ඩුක්‍රම ව්‍යවස්ථාවද අභිබවා යන නීතිමය වලංගු ලියවිල්ලක් – අස්ගිරිය ප්‍රකාශනයට ආණ්ඩුක්‍රම ව්‍යවස්ථාව මගින් ලැබෙන නීතිමය පිළිගැනීම. 

ඉවැන්ජලිකල් – කතෝලික තෙරපුම සමාජයට නිරාවරණය වීම
භික්ෂූන් වහන්සේ ලා පිරිසක් විසින් සිය උරුමයන් එනම් බෞද්ධ පුරාවස්තු විනාශ කිරීම සම්බන්ධ නීතිය ක්‍රියාත්මක නො වන බවට රජයට චෝදනා එල්ල කළ අතර ඒ සමගම එක්තරා නීතීඥවරයෙක් ක්‍රිස්තියානි දේවස්ථාන 166කට නිසියම් පිරිසක් විසින් පහරදී ඇති බව විද්‍යුත් මාධ්‍ය ඔස්සේ ප්‍රසිද්ධ ප්‍රකාශයක් සිදු කරනු ලැබීය.  එකී ප්‍රකාශය සිදු කර පැය 24ක් යන්නට මත්තෙන් වර්තමාන යහපාලන ආණ්ඩුවේ ප්‍රභල ඇමතිවරයෙක් ප්‍රසිද්ධ ප්‍රකාශයක් සිදුකරමින් ක්‍රිස්තියානි දේවස්ථාන කිසිවකට හානි සිදුකර නැති බවට කාදිනල් හිමිපාණන් වහන්සේ තොරතුරු ලබා දී ඇති බව කියමින් ක්‍රිස්තියානි දේවස්ථාන 166කට නිසියම් පිරිසක් විසින් පහරදී ඇති බව කීම අසත්‍ය බව දක්වා එකී නීතීඥවරයා විසින් පැය 24ක් යාමට මත්තෙන් සියලු ජනතාවගෙන් සමාව ගත යුතු බවට ප්‍රකාශ කළේ ය. එහි ප්‍රතිඵලය වූයේ මේ දක්වා කොලඹ කොටුව දුම්රිය ස්ථානය ඉදිරියේ හෝ හෝ ලිප්ටන් වටරමුමේ  දක්නට නොවූ අගම වෙනුවෙන් වන උද්ඝෝෂණ කරළියට පැමිණීමය. එකී ආගමික උද්ඝෝෂණ සදහා එතරම් ජනතාවක් සහභාගී නොවුණද ජාත්‍යන්තර වශයෙන් ඉන් රටට සිදුකරන හානිය සුළුපටු නො වේ. එහිදී පහර දෙන්නාත්, පහර කන්නාත් එකගතාවයෙන් එය සිදු කරගන්නේද යන්නත් විමසිය යුතුය.බෞද්ධ පුරාවස්තු විනාශ කරමින් පුරාවස්තු ආඥාපනත උල්ලංඝණය කරන සිදුවීම් පසුගිය සමයේ බහුලව සිදු වුණද බෞද්ධ ජනතාව ඒ වෙනුවෙන් උද්ඝෝෂණය කිරීමට කොළඹ කොටුව හෝ ලිප්ටන් වටරවුම තොරා නොගෙන අස්ගිරිය ප්‍රකාශනය”වැනි විධිමත් නීතිමය වලංගු සන්නිවේදන ක්‍රම අනුගමනය කරද්දී ක්‍රිස්තියානි පල්ලි 166කට පහරදීම සම්බන්ධව කියාමින් වත්මන් රජයේ ප්‍රභල ඇමතිවරයා ඉලක්ක කරමින් සිදුකරන ආගමික විරෝධය මතු කරන්නේ කවර ගැටුමකට ආරාධනයක්ද යන්න බහුතර සිංහල ජනතාව අවධානය යොමු කළ යුතුය. මන්ද වර්තමානයේ ලංකාවේ විධායක ව්‍යවස්ථාදායක සහ අධිකරණ පාලන ආයතන අතරින් අධිකරණය නැමැති දෙවොලේ කටයුතු සිදුවන්නේ බහුතර සිංහල ජනතාවගේ භාෂාවෙන් නොවීමත් එහි තීන්දු තීරණ ගන්නේ එංගලන්ත නීතී වාර්තා සහ දකුණු අප්‍රිකානු නීති වාර්තා මගින් ඉංග්‍රීසි භාෂාවෙන් පමණක් බවත් බහුතර සිංහල ජනතාව අවබෝධ කළ යුතුය.
යුක්තිය ඉටු කිරීමේදී සහ යුක්තිය ඉටු කර ගැනීමට යාමේදී නිවහල් ස්වාධීන රටක ජනතාවට උරුම විය යුතු නිවහල් අධිකරණ සහ නීති ක්‍රමය මේ දක්වා අවබෝධ කිරීමට, ඒ සම්බන්ධව පර්යේෂණ කිරීමට බහුතර සිංහල ජනතාවට මේ දක්වා නො හැකි වීමද සළකා බැලිය යුතුය.

කියවන්න – 

1.      නීතියේ පාලනයට පාර්ලිමේන්තුවත්, අධිකරණත් රටේ ජනතාවගෙන් සගවා නීති නො සෑදීම ද ඇතුළත් ය.

http://www.lankanews.org/2017/06/blog-post_50.html

2.        නීතිය නො දැනීම සමාවට කරුණක් නො වේ” යන්න සහ තමාගේ නඩුවට තමාටම පෙනී සිටීමට” ඇති අයිතිය බහුතරයක් වූ සිංහල ජනතාවට වලංගු නො වේ.

http://www.lankanews.org/2017/06/blog-post_47.html#more

3.      ශ්‍රී ලංකා රාමඤ්ඤ නිකායෙන් විශේෂ නිවේදනයක් -නීතිය ආධිපත්‍ය යටකරමින් දේශපාලන ආධිපත්‍ය මතුවෙලා..රටම අනතුරක

 http://www.lankanews.org/2017/06/blog-post_67.html

ඉහත තොරතුරු පමණක් නොව සිංහල – මුස්ලිම් උණුසුම එක්වරම ඉවැන්ජලිකල් – කතෝලික තෙරපුමක් දක්වා පරිවර්තනය වුණේ ඇයි? යන්න විමසීමේදී එයට නිවැරදි පිළිතුරු පෙරදිග චින්තනය මගින් පෝෂිත අවිහිංසා ධර්ම මාර්ගය ඔස්සේ ලබා ගැනීමට ප්‍රයත්න දැරීමේදී ශ්‍රේෂ්ඨාධිකරණය සහ අභියාචනාධිකරණය ඉංග්‍රීසි භාෂාවෙන් නඩු තීන්දු දී බහුතර සිංහල ජනතාවද ඉන් පාලනය කිරීමට පොළඹබන බටහිර සංස්කෘතිය පෝෂණය කරන ලංකාවේ පවතින නීති ක්‍රමය පිළිබදව ද අධ්‍යයනය කළ යුතුය. (මෙවැනි කෙටි ලිපියකින් එය කළ නො හැකිය.)
අවසන් වශයෙන් කිව යුත්තේ සිංහල – මුස්ලිම් උණුසුම වේවා ඉවැන්ජලිකල් – කතෝලික තෙරපුම වේවා අවසානයේ රට සහ ජනතාව දිශානති කරන්නේ පෙරදිග සංස්කෘතිය සහ සිංහල භාෂාවේ අවසානය දක්වා බවයි. එනම් පෙරදිග චින්තනයේ පරිහාණිය දක්වා බවයි. බහුතර සිංහල ජනතාව ඒ සමගම අවබෝධ කළ යුත්තේ 1815 උඩරට ගිවිසුමේ සිටම අපව රැවටීමට පාලකයින් සමත් වී ඇති බවයි.
නීතීඥ අරුණ ලක්සිරි උණවටුන B.Sc(Col),PGDC(Col)

Stand Against Islamic Extremism in Sri Lanka

April 25th, 2019

අමාදම් ගඟුල

[1] අන්තවාදී ශරියා නීති තහනම් කිරීමට බලකරමු
[2] අන්තවාදී බුර්කාව තහනම් කිරීමට බල කරමු
[3] අන්තවාදය උගන්වන ශරියා විශ්වවිද්‍යල සහ අරාබි පාසල් වසා දැමීමට බල කරමු
[4] අන්තවාදී පූජකයින් මෙරටට ගෙන්වීම නැවත්වීමට බල කරමු
[5] අන්තවාදයට සම්බන්දයයි සැක සිතන සියළු දෙනාගෙ දේපොල පරීක්ෂාවට බල කරමු
[6] අන්තවාදීන්ට උදව්කල සියළු මුස්ලිම් දේශපාලකයින් නෙරපා දැමීමට බල කරමු
[7] අන්තවාදී ක්‍රියාකාරකම් බහුල මුස්ලිම් ප්‍රදේශ තුල නිතර සෝදිසි මෙහෙයුම් සිදු කිරීමට බල කරමු
[8] ඉස්ලාම් ව්‍යාප්තවාදයට ආවඩන හලාල් වෙලද සහතිකය ඉවත් කිරීමට බල කරමු 
[9] මේවැනි යෝජනාවන් නිසා ඔබගේ මුස්ලිම් මිතුරා අසතුටට පත්වේනම් ඔහුටද විෂබීජය ශරීර ගතවී ඇතැයි සැක සිතමු

~ සබ්බදානං ධම්මදානං ජිනාති ~

MUSLIMS: UNDERMINING NATIONAL INTERESTS

April 25th, 2019

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane

The small communities of Tamils and Muslims living in Sri Lanka, amount to a total of about 24% of the country’s total population. These communities are descendants of groups of individuals, exclusively males, who initially arrived in this island at different times in the past for various purposes, and later settled down among the Sinhala people. The Tamils came from southern India and observe the cultural traditions of Tamilnadu which is their homeland where the Tamil culture and Tamil language originated. Initially Tamils came to the island as invaders and mercenaries and later, especially in the 19th century and thereafter, the British brought South Indian Tamils to Sri Lanka to work as labourers in British-owned commercial plantations. This was the time when our country was under the British invaders. Most of this Tamil labour community stayed behind and  were accorded citizenship in later years after the country attained political independence. Tamils in general, therefore are settler communities in the island with the rights and privileges enjoyed by the indigenous Sinhala people.  It is important to note that Tamils are indigenous to the Tamilnadu which is the birth-place of the Tamil culture and language. For all purposes, the national and cultural homeland of the Tamils is Tamilnadu. 

During a good part of the past four decades, Tamil terrorists of the LTTE, took away from the indigenous Sinhala majority, what they valued and cherished most as a nation – their freedom and peaceful life.  During this time, the large majority of Tamils living within and outside Sri Lanka were openly or discreetly supportive of terrorism and separatism propagated by the racist LTTE terrorists under Prabakaran, their ruthless leader. The overwhelming majority of Sri Lankan Tamils living overseas, were providing  assistance, both directly and indirectly, often using deceitful means to the Tamil terror movement in Sri Lanka thereby promoting gruesome, hideous and horrifying  terrorist activities against the nation, its Sinhala leaders, Bhikkhus, military and police personnel.. They provided assistance to bomb and destroy reputed historically significant Buddhist monuments and sites in our country, and other public property of value and took action to disrepute and undermine the legitimately elected government of our country.

The Sinhala nation is eternally grateful to the Ranaviru Sinhala sons and daughters for eliminating from our nation, this treacherous racist terrorist menace in the year 2009. Sinhala leaders at the time understood that for the emancipation of our nation, there can be no compromise with terrorists and their cohorts both local and foreign. The territorial integrity and sovereignty of our motherland is of fundamental importance to us, and the nation is ever grateful to those who led our military forces to eradicate Tamil terrorism and for restoring our nation for the present and future generations. Thousands of true sons of the soil sacrificed their precious lives while serving in the military forces. The nation will is grateful forever for the sacrifices they made to bring peace to our people

Our heroic military personnel who were making untold sacrifices to protect our people and the territorial integrity of our country were subject to extreme forms of indignity, insult and disgrace by these Tamils, especially during the period of conflict, using most deceitful and dishonest accusations. Our illustrious national culture and our Buddhist Sangha community  responsible for nurturing, promoting and uplifting our outstanding national culture for some two thousand three hundred years, were subject to debase and disrespect by these treacherous Tamil racists and extremists. Buying over and using the international media and other means, these overseas Tamil extremists were involved openly in a widespread campaign, using the basest forms of falsehoods and blatant lies of unimaginable proportions, to demean, discredit and destroy the good image of our country

The average Sinhala person has nothing against anyone who wishes to shed extremist feelings and joining them to build a nation that is peaceful and prosperous, a nation which shuns extremism and terrorism. The Sinhala people want all other communities to join them, just the way how minority communities are expected to do in other countries of the world, especially Canada, Australia, USA, and UK.  The Sinhala people want others who live among them to help build the country as one nation, a nation founded on the noble principles of non-violence, tolerance, compassion, where peaceful co-habitation has been the cornerstone from historic times.

HISTORY OF THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY OF SRI LANKA  

The Muslim community in Sri Lanka is a small non-indigenous minority settler community amounting at present, to about 9% of the total population of the country. They are the descendants of small groups of individuals, exclusively males, who came to the island at different times in the past, basically as traders. Trade relations with the Indian region was started by the newly Islamized Arabs in the early 7th century CE. (According to Elliot and Dowson book , The History of India as told by its own Historians”, the first ship bearing Muslim travelers was seen on the Indian coast as early as 630 AD.  According to H.G. Rawlinson, in his book: Ancient and Medieval History of India, the first Arab Muslims settled on the Indian coast in the last part of the 7th century AD.  However, it was much later, in the 9th and 10th centuries that the Arabs expanded eastwards towards India and China in search of trade and dominated  overseas trade. They initially established trading posts which eventually became permanent settlements. By the late 13th century, such settlements were common along the southern coast of India and later on the western coast of Sri Lanka. In the 15th century, increasing numbers of Muslims from the Muslims settlement on the coastal region of South India, came and settled in coastal regions of Sri Lanka. They were the descendants of earlier Arab traders who had settled in South Indian ports and married local women who spoke Tamil. By the early 16th  when Portuguese vessels first arrived in Sri Lanka, Muslims were well settled in the coastal regions. They represented  a mixture of Sinhala, Arab and Tamil blood, and speaking Tamil with Arabic overtones.

In Sri Lanka, as everywhere they went, the Portuguese made a special point of ruthlessly persecuting Muslims, their business rivals. As a consequence, many Muslims fled the western littoral which had passed under Portuguese control, and settled in the north and east of the island.  The Dutch were no different during their period of occupation of the coastal areas. During the Portuguese period, Muslims had to seek refuge in interior areas among the Sinhala people. Sinhala kings such as Senerath and Rajasinghe-II, provided safety and shelter to Muslims in the Sinhala kingdom among the Sinhala people. Large numbers of Muslims were settled in the hill country and in Eastern Sri Lanka, saving them from harassment by the Europeans and providing opportunities for them to improve their livelihoods and practice their religion.

SPECIAL PRIVILEDGES AND OPPORTUNITIES 

The Muslim community continued to benefit from various forms of special opportunities privileges made available to them by the Sinhala-led governments, after the country gained political independence. Not only were they given opportunities to improve their commercial activities, but were accorded important Ministerial and professional positions in the government. Also, although forming a small segment of the nation’s  population (09% in 2013), Muslims have been accorded special privileges, some examples being   Muslim religious holidays being declared as public holidays in our country, and the representation of Muslims in the national flag of the country.

Muslims are well known to be running successful businesses in predominantly Sinhala majority areas with the Sinhala people as their customers. They are involved in wealth generating employment connected with tourism and travel. The per capita income of the Muslim community is far higher than that of the Sinhala majority community. A good part of buildings and land in most urban areas in the country, especially in predominantly Sinhala areas are owned today by Muslims. Most importantly, there are no restrictions in Sri Lanka for the construction of mosques in predominantly Sinhala areas, in spite of the fact that no Muslim country permits even the display of a Buddha image, let alone building Vihares. In Mosque activities such as prayers using load speakers in predominantly non-Muslim neighborhoods, the Muslims are causing a great amount of discomfort and irritation to non-Muslims. The Sinhala people have been overly tolerant about this unhealthy situation. 

No comparable minority in any major country in the world have been given such preposterous benefits, which are not rights but ridiculously high privileges enjoyed by the Muslims and Tamil settler minorities. Since the privileges of one person can only be had at the expense of the rights of another, this shows that, in fact, it is the indigenous Sinhala  who account for more than 75 of the population, who are discriminated against in Sri Lanka. Whenever Muslims held ministerial positions, they made sure that members of their  community were accorded preferential treatment in employment. That accounts for the large number of Muslim employees in Ministries and related public agencies such as Education, the Ports Authority,  Justice, and  Foreign Affairs which had prominent Muslim Ministers.  The important Ministry of Education in Sri Lanka was held by Muslims Ministers for many years under different governments. During this time, the Muslim children and youth were given preferential treatment in the area of education and admission to universities.  Also, it was during this time that several well- equipped exclusively Muslim schools were established in predominantly Muslim areas. After securing so much from the country, and from the majority Sinhala community who had all along provided them with hospitality and generosity, it is disappointing to see many Muslim leaders and Muslim people of today, especially those living in the Eastern province having the audacity and ingratitude to claim autonomy for the lands that they are occupying in predominantly Muslim areas. Do they realize that some of these lands were given to them by Sinhala kings and governments led by Sinhala leaders.

FURTHERING  COMMUNITY  SELF INTERESTS                                                   

There was much media attention in recent months, to undue exploitation and destruction of the country’s natural resources by Muslims under the direct initiative of a Muslim minister. This involves the illegal clearance of a part of the Wilpattu National Wildlife Sanctuary for a housing scheme exclusively for Muslims. Similar illegal and anti-national actions on the part of Muslims have been reported most recently in the Yan Oya valley, Thiriyaya and Pulmuddai national forest conservation and in Kalpitiya. These are instances of encroachment and illegal development of exclusively Muslim housing schemes, with funds from Muslim countries and Muslim INGO’s operating in this country. Muslim leaders and community leaders in general, appear to show a greater interest in furthering the interests of the Muslim community rather than the welfare of the public in general. It is a well known fact that Muslim establishments refrain from hiring non-Muslims for responsible positions in their establishments where the main clients are Sinhala people.  Also, the media has highlighted several allegations of various covert practices by Muslims to increase their population at the expense of the Sinhala population. The direct involvement of Muslims in the illicit drug trade has often been reported in the media.

ENCROACHMENT OF  HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT BUDDHIST SITES                            

There is clear evidence of disregard and disrespect for the Buddhist cultural heritage of the country. During the past two decades in particular, Muslims have illegally and forcibly encroached upon land that rightfully belongs to Buddhist temples on the eastern and southeast coast, THE Pottuvil region in particular. It was not long ago that Islamic fundamentalists and armed Muslim extremists were inciting violence against legitimate Buddhist activities in the East – Pottuvil region.  Muslims were forcibly encroaching upon land that rightfully belongs to Buddhist temples on the southeast coast. In addition Muslim encroachment of Kuragala archeological site near Balangoda  which is one of the oldest Buddhist historic sites of Sri Lanka has led to serious confrontations in recent years. Also in more recent years sites in the Northwest have been deceitfully encroached upon by the Muslim community, and archeological remains and ancient Buddhist monuments in these areas have been destroyed. It was not long ago that the exclusively Muslim, racist political party – the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and several Muslim civil society groups opposed the construction of Buddha’s statues on the southeast coastal areas which have long been places inhabited predominantly by Buddhists. 

THREAT TO THE NATIONAL UNITY AND CULTURE                                                     

From their attitude and actions, it is noticeable in recent years, that the Muslim         community in the country has posed a threat to national unity and territorial integrity of the country. They have resorted to actions that undermine the national cultural heritage and to the way of life of other communities, and in a covert manner to democratic principles and rule of law of the country, especially with the adoption by them of the Sharia law. These Sharia rules of Islam appear to govern politics, marriage and the day-to-day lives of its followers. Islam is associated with a political ideology where the church and state are not separate. Under the circumstances, one cannot expect Muslims to develop a sense of patriotism and national pride in a predominantly non-Muslim country such as Sri Lanka. In recent years, it is well evident that most Muslims do not appear to be interested in integrating with other communities, perhaps because assimilation is not permitted under the Islamic Shariah law. They rarely if at all participate in national events. They do not participate in the singing of the National Anthem in public events. They do not observe the traditional way of greeting by placing both hands together in the form of worship. Muslim children are taught not to worship their teachers which is a common practice among other non Muslim school children. 

There are schools that operate with government assistance, where not only the Principal and academic staff, but all students are Muslim. Some of these schools have been elevated as National Schools enjoying special privileges. Muslims have established many private International schools in several towns, where the student population and majority of staff are almost entirely Muslim. The most threatening of all is the recent establishment of the so-called Madrasas or Islamic schools, similar to those found in Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, where the curriculum is focused on the teaching of the Koran and Shariah law. Saudi Arabian sources have funded the establishment of most of these Madrasas. Here, the younger generation of Muslims are being strongly exposed to the Saudi Arabian fundamentalist Wahhabi form of Islam imported from Saudi Arabia. Scholarships are awarded to Muslim youth of these schools to continue their Wahhabi Islamic studies in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries such as Pakistan, where Wahhabism predominates. This type of exclusive Islamic education and indoctrination is having a well-evident divisive effect in our nation and is beginning to disrupt national efforts to bring about overall unity and togetherness among communities that have made Sri Lanka their home. Their new male and female attire displays the desire of Muslims to look different and to be exclusive and separate from the nation’s mainstream. This polarization tendency and divisive spirit of the Islamic community is self-imposed. It is definitely not because they feel marginalized. The Koran forbids Muslims to closely associate non-Muslims.

The long term implications of these extremist trends are highly undesirable for the maintenance of peace and stability in the country. What is well evident from the several Muslim instigated, disruptive, illegal and often violent incidents that occurred in some places in the country in recent times, is how these extremist trends are impinging upon the traditional cultural base and integrity of this country, in particular on the wholesome Sinhala norms and principles upon which this nation is built, and also on the rule of law of this country. One should not overlook the fact and take for granted the long-standing opportunity for peaceful cohabitation of different communities, provided by the traditional cultural foundation established by the Sinhala people of this nation.

HALAL” PRACTICE AND ANIMAL WELFARE                                                           

There has been much discussion in recent times about the deceitful and exploitative nature of the halal’ business venture of Muslims. Halal is a most repulsive and horrendous practice that involves extreme form of abuse and cruelty towards animals?  It is a gruesome method where animals are tied down and their throats slashed, letting their blood ooze out slowly from the animal’s body and making animals die on their blood, a slow, lingering and agonizing death.  What is most horrendous is that this torturous practice takes place while the animals are desperately struggling for their lives. It is a well evident fact that these animals are conscious of what is happening to them. This is a most sickening and inhuman way of killing animals. It is a practice that should not be tolerated in any civilized society.

In a society such as ours where Buddhists predominate, and where non-violence       towards all living beings is a fundamental tenet, criminal practices of this nature cannot and should not be tolerated under any circumstances.  Animal welfare has been a tenet of the rulers of our nation from very early times, from the 3rd century BCE.  It was at this time that the world’s first bird and animal sanctuary was established in Sri Lanka. From ancient times, the principle of animal welfare prevailed in our country until the arrival of European colonial powers, starting with the ruthless Portuguese invaders, at the beginning of the 16trh century. Besides hunting animals as a sport, the slaughtering of animals as a vocation started with the entry of Christianity and Islam to Sri Lanka.

CONFORMING TO NATIONAL CULTURAL NORMS AND VALUES

The non indigenous settler communities such as the Tamils and Muslims are expected to conform to the norms and values of the Hela Nation to which they belong today. They may have brought various ethnic, cultural and religious customs, traditions, traits and values from their original nation and homelands where their cultures evolved and consolidated. They are free to maintain these cultural norms as long as they do not conflict with the norms and practices of the Sinhala Nation of which they are now a part. Once the non-indigenous persons become a part of the Sinhala Nation it not only becomes their national obligation, but more importantly, it is to their advantage to become a part of the nation by learning and understanding the norms of the Sinhala nation where they now belong, and where they have been accepted as non-indigenous nationals by the indigenous Sinhala people. When a foreigner or a person not indigenous to a particular country migrates into the country, and decides to make it his home, it is incumbent on that person to learn about the history, norms and traits of the new country and its people. The new immigrant is expected to acknowledge, subscribe to and integrate into the new nation of which he now is a part. The same applies to all descendants of non indigenous immigrants, who may have been born and raised in the new nation

NATIONAL RIGHTS AND INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS

Indigenous Sinhala nationals or the Sinhala people are the founders of the Sinhala or Hela Nation, and are entitled to special national rights. Important in this regard is the promotion, protection and preservation of their culture, language, social system and values that characterize their Sinhala Nation.  Sinhala should be restored as the sole national and official language of the country.  Promotion and preservation of the Sinhala Buddhist culture as the national culture, should receive priority attention. It should be made a mandatory subject in the school curriculum.  The national anthem of the country is sung in the Sinhala language. The minority communities are not entitled to such special privileges, because the Sinhala nation was founded by the Sinhala people and is the legitimate home of the Sinhala people. Sinhale is not the home of other cultures and languages. These cultures and languages did not originate or evolve in this land  unlike the case with the Sinhala culture and Sinhala language. Therefore, the cultures and languages of minority communities cannot and are not entitled legitimately to be accorded national or official recognition at par with the Sinhala culture and language. However, these communities are free to observe and preserve their cultural activities and their languages within their communities. As far as ordinary human rights are concerned, members of minority settler communities are entitled to the same human rights as those enjoyed by members of the mainstream Sinhala community.   

As a nation with a historic cultural tradition that extends to over 2200 years, where the founding principles have been freedom, compassion, tolerance and accommodation of people of all faiths and ethnicities, it is necessary that the true patriots of Sinhale, the Sinhala nation, get to the forefront, mobilize themselves and  take legitimate actions to protect and uphold these wholesome cultural traditions, and thereby reinforce the Sinhala nation  – Sinhale.  All citizens of the country who subscribe to the Sinhale Nation and respect the cultural norms and values that characterize this nation, will find acceptance as members of the Sinhale nation, irrespective of their ethnic and religious affiliations and differences. The Sinhale Nation incorporates the tremendous cultural wealth of the Sinhala people recognized the world over for its richness and uniqueness. This should be preserved and promoted for posterity. Those who undermine the nation’s cultural heritage, sovereignty and territorial integrity are enemies of the nation and should be confronted and subdued forthwith, for the welfare of the nation.

STRENGTHEN AND REVITALIZE THE SINHALA NATION

For the patriotic and caring nationals of this island, especially those of the Sinhala community, irrespective of their religious affiliations, there is one moral law that stands above everything else, and that is to do everything possible to strengthen their Sinhala Nation and to curb the efforts of anti-national elements both local and foreign, engaged  in violating and undermining Sinhala Buddhist national interests. It was with such an attitude and approach that enabled our valiant Sinhala soldiers to wipe out anti-national, separatist Tamil terrorists who were hell-bent on destroying the integrity of this nation.  

The present generation of Sinhala nationals has a moral obligation to protect, preserve and promote the greatest of their inheritance, their unique nation, for the survival of their Buddhist cultural heritage and for the benefit of future generations. Concerned Sinhala nationals will under no circumstances allow the sovereignty, the distinct territorial integrity and the all-pervasive Sinhala Buddhist cultural character of the island be subject to any form of disarray or disintegration. They will not permit any force, internal or external, ethnic or religious, to subjugate or undermine the integrity of the Sinhala Buddhist culture of this island nation. .

Sinhala history is replete with valor and courage in battles against overly superior forces. The struggle against extremism and the looming division of this Sinhala island nation of ours demands our full national strength. Let all Sinhala nationalists rise to the occasion, forgetting for a moment their ‘other’ differences, and swear allegiance to the unity of this country by giving unswerving support to those commendable organizations that have emerged in recent times to save the nation from undesirable elements. The renewed loyalty that is fast emerging among the Sinhala nationals, particularly among the contemporary youth, is most encouraging.

VIOLATION OF SOVEREIGNTY AND NATIONAL INTEGRITY 

Sinhala nationals should not tolerate any individual or community who, whilst living in the Sinhala Nation and considering it their home, deliberately misusing such a privilege by scheming and adopting extreme means or contributing to such actions, in violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of this only nation of ours. This includes both direct and indirect efforts on the part of these extremist elements living among us, with ridiculously unfounded claims to carve out ethnic and religious enclaves within our country, merely because some of them had lived in specific places for extended periods of time. These individuals and communities with self-serving attitudes and objectives should be considered as traitors or enemies of our nation and should be dealt with accordingly. There  is no place in our nation for such traitors, double crossers, renegades, turncoats, collaborators of enemies, criminals and terrorists, conspirators, connivers, schemers and emissaries, spies, secret agents, undercover agents and double agents of the enemies of this Sinhala Buddhist Nation. 

BUDDHIST MONKS, SINHALA SCHOLORS AND PATRIOTS

The majority of present day monks are better educated and possess a broader outlook. Our monks are fully capable of providing the necessary leadership, patronage and helping in the organization of Buddhist cultural pursuits. Our Buddhist scholars have stayed too long in the background. It is time that they came forward and jointly with our monks took the initiative to counter the negative forces harming Buddhism and Sinhala culture. They owe it to their children and youth. Buddhist cultural pursuits should be encouraged and receive increased patronage. The mass media should be used to the utmost in the accomplishment of these pursuits.  In spite of all the challenges of recent decades, our monks continued to be accorded attention and respect by our people. On their part our monks have continued to be close to people and participate at all notable events in people’s lives. This should continue with more vigor.

In recent times, movements and organizations have sprung up under the initiative of some concerned Bhikkhus and members of the Sinhala community across the country, with an increasingly large following of the nation’s youth, to highlight and draw attention to the vital and pressing need for necessary action to restore, protect and uphold the legitimate national rights and privileges of the Sinhala people and the traditionally and constitutionally accorded foremost place to Buddhism, which in recent times appear to be subject to threats and challenges from both local and foreign sources. There is evidence of attempts both direct and indirect, overt and covert, to undermine these legitimate rights and privileges by extremist elements, especially of the minority Muslim and Tamil communities evidently with the involvement of extremist, racist, uncaring and unpatriotic politicians with their own vested interests and ulterior motives. 

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane

‘He had a long beard, lost his sense of humour’: Sri Lanka bomber left Australia a ‘changed man’

April 25th, 2019

Courtesy  Brisbane Times

One of the Sri Lankan bombers came back from Australia after his postgraduate studies a changed man, his sister says.

Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed studied at Swinburne University in Melbourne between 2009 and 2013, The Australian reported.

Sri Lanka bomber Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed studied at Swinburne University in Melbourne.
Sri Lanka bomber Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed studied at Swinburne University in Melbourne.CREDIT:SEVEN NEWS

Mohamed, suspected to be one of the ringleaders of the atrocity in Sri Lanka, was investigated by the Joint Counter Terrorism Team in 2014 because of his links to several suspects including Australian-born IS militant Neil Prakash, the paper says.

Samsul Hidaya, one of Mohamed’s sisters, told the Daily Mail her brother became “a different man” in Australia and became withdrawn and intense.

One of the Sri Lanka bombers reportedly had links to Australian-born IS militant Neil Prakash.
One of the Sri Lanka bombers reportedly had links to Australian-born IS militant Neil Prakash.

“My brother became deeply, deeply religious while he was in Australia,” Ms Hidaya said.

“He was normal when he went to study in Britain, and normal when he came back. But after he did his postgraduate in Australia, he came back to Sri Lanka a different man.

“He had a long beard and had lost his sense of humour. He became serious and withdrawn and would not even smile at anyone he didn’t know, let alone laugh.”

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Sri Lanka suicide bomber studied in Australia
Man chases ute thieves in nothing but a towel

Kerala IS cells played a role in Lanka blasts? Probe on

April 25th, 2019

Times of India

KOZHIKODE: Security agencies are probing whether any of the  .. 

Read more at:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/69050078.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

Sri Lankan bomber investigated for terrorism in Australia

April 25th, 2019

One of the Sri Lankan bombers who studied at an Australian university was investigated by the Joint Counter Terrorism Team in 2014, The Australianreports. 

Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed studied at Swinburne University in Melbourne between 2009 and 2013, The Australian reports and was investigated because of his links to several suspects, including Neil Prakash.

Mohomed, suspected to be one of the ringleaders of the atrocity in Sri Lanka, came back from Australia after his post-graduate studies a changed man, his sister says.

Sri Lankan security forces stand at the site where a vehicle parked near St. Anthony's shrine exploded in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Photo: AP

 Sri Lankan security forces stand at the site where a vehicle parked near St. Anthony’s shrine exploded in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Photo: AP

Samsul Hidaya, one of Mohamed’s sisters, told the Daily Mail her brother became “a different man” in Australia and became withdrawn and intense.

“My brother became deeply, deeply religious while he was in Australia,” Ms Hidaya told the Daily Mail.

“He was normal when he went to study in Britain, and normal when he came back. But after he did his postgraduate in Australia, he came back to Sri Lanka a different man.”

Sri Lanka PM warns of more attacks as bombers still at large

April 25th, 2019

By EMILY SCHMALL Courtesy  The times of Israel

Suspects could have access to explosives and aim to carry out more suicide bombings, Ranil Wickremesinghe says

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at his office in Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at his office in Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s prime minister said Thursday that suspects linked to the coordinated Easter Sunday bomb attacks remain at large and could have access to explosives.

Some of the suspects may go out for a suicide attack,” Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Wickremesinghe spoke frankly about the greatest challenge the South Asian island nation has faced since its civil war ended a decade ago.

This is another experience for us. Not that we are not strangers to terrorism, but this is global terrorism, so we have to ensure that we root this out,” he said.

Approximately 250 people were killed in the string of suicide bombings at churches and luxury hotels in and around the capital, Colombo, Sri Lanka’s health ministry said late Thursday. The death toll was revised down from previous police estimates of 359 people.

The mother and sister of Dhami Brandy, 13, who was killed during Easter Sunday’s bomb blast at St. Sebastian Church, mourn during her funeral service in Negombo, Sri Lanka, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

The attacks were claimed two days later by the Islamic State group, who posted a video of the man Sri Lankan officials said led the attack with seven others pledging their allegiance to the withered caliphate.

Police, meanwhile, issued a public appeal for information about three women and two men suspected of involvement in the attacks.

Wickremesinghe also said that the father of two of the suspected suicide bombers, Colombo spice dealer Mohammad Yusuf Ibrahim, had been arrested. He described him as a leading businessman active in politics known as Ibrahim Hajiar,” a Sri Lankan term for Muslims who have gone on religious pilgrimages to Mecca.

The prime minister expressed doubt about Ibrahim’s complicity in the attack.

People like that would not have wanted their sons to blow themselves up,” he said.

Sri Lankan authorities have blamed a local extremist group, National Towheed Jamaat, whose leader, alternately named Mohammed Zahran or Zahran Hashmi, became known to Muslim leaders three years ago for his incendiary online speeches.

On Wednesday, junior defense minister Ruwan Wijewardene said the attackers had broken away from National Towheed Jamaat and another group, which he identified only as JMI.”

Wijewardene said many of the suicide bombers were highly educated and came from well-to-do families.

The prime minister said it appeared that Sri Lanka’s wealthiest and best-traveled Muslims were most susceptible to the doctrine professed by the Islamic State group.

A photo published on the Islamic State terror group’s propaganda outlet, the Amaq agency, on April 23, 2019, showing what the group says is eight bombers who carried out the Easter attacks in Sri Lanka. (Amaq)

They were too educated and therefore, they were misled,” Wickremesinghe said.

The bombers were wealthy enough to have financed the entire operation themselves, though they would have needed outside help for training and bomb-building expertise, Wickremsinghe said.

He said that authorities still hadn’t confirmed whether Zahran, who was supposed to have led one of suicide missions, was among the corpses recovered from the scenes or still at large.

Sri Lanka has been sharply criticized for an apparent intelligence lapse. Government leaders have acknowledged that some intelligence units were aware of possible attacks weeks before the bombings, but the president and prime minister both have said the intelligence was not shared with them.

Wickremesinghe blamed the incident, in part, on a breakdown of communication.”

Sri Lankan security personnel walk next to dead bodies on the floor amid blast debris at St. Anthony’s Shrine, following an explosion in the church in Kochchikade in Colombo, on April 21, 2019. (ISHARA S. KODIKARA/ AFP)

President Maithripala Sirisena, who was out of the country during the Sunday attacks, had ousted Wickremesinghe in October and dissolved the Cabinet. The Supreme Court later reversed his actions, but relations between the two top leaders have remained frigid.

In the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s attacks, Sri Lanka blocked most social media, with the prime minister expressing concern that it could be used to incite violence in the country of 21 million.

Wickremesinghe said Thursday that security forces were trying to help Muslim Ahmadis from Pakistan seeking refugee status in Sri Lanka, who said they had been attacked and beaten in the days following the bombings.

Some people had become suspicious of foreigners, not of Muslims per se,” Wickremesinghe said.

Sri Lanka terrorist left ‘for work’ without saying goodbye to wife then blew himself up

April 25th, 2019
Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohammed as boy (Image: Rowan Griffiths)

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The wife of the UK-educated Sri Lanka suicide bomber has told how he betrayed his family to join Islamic State.

Devastated Shifana Mohamed, 30, last saw Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed – who attended Kingston University – when he left home for Friday prayers.

The privately educated aircraft ­engineer was so keen to hide his deadly mission he did not even say goodbye.

He left behind his six-month-old baby boy, two sons aged six and four, and their ­three-year-old daughter.

Jameel set off like any other day” to meet the seven other bombers, who killed 253 people, a revised toll after officials said morgues had been overwhelmed.

I had no idea until the police turned up at my door. I was in complete shock,” she told her dad.

He was a loving father, and just went off as usual on Friday.

 But we never saw him again. He has left me and his children behind. It is hard to take in what he has done.”

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Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed seen on CCTV (Image: Sky News)
Gravediggers work at the site of a mass burial in Negombo, Sri Lanka (Image: REUTERS)

The family spoke of their devastation as Britons were warned against all but essential travel” to Sri Lanka.

The Foreign Office’s advice could lead to thousands of holidaymakers leaving.

Jameel’s family showed photos of him playing with friends and animals when he was around 12 years old.

They have watched in horror as police, then special force officers arrived at their home in affluent Wellampitiya, Colombo.

They searched the property before returning to take heartbroken Shafina into custody with their baby son.

He was quiet, reserved, just a normal guy who was a very caring father to the kids,” said her dad who did not wish to be named.

The last time we saw him, he went off without a goodbye. He did not leave a suicide note.”

Another childhood picture (Image: Rowan Griffiths)

Jameel, 36, studied at Kingston ­University in London, named by Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015 as one of four universities which he alleged hosted the most events with extremist speakers. Kingston denied the claim.

His sister believes he was ­radicalised abroad, notably his three-year postgraduate course in Melbourne, Australia.

Jameel was ­investigated by Australian security over links to IS recruiter Neil Prakash.

The probe was triggered by ­intelligence that linked him to counter-terrorism targets, including Prakash.

He started to grow his beard to show his devotion to his faith, praying five times a day.

But there was no hint of his radical views, or devotion to extremist Zahran Hashim, the suspected mastermind behind the Easter Sunday massacres.

Jameel was meant to blow up the Taj Hotel in Colombo. When his device failed, he moved to the Tropical Inn Hotel. It is believed he set off his bomb by mistake, killing one other.

When the Mirror visited his home, Shifana’s dad, 57, said: He betrayed his faith, his family.

“My daughter fell in love with him 10 years ago when he rented a room at my home. I wish she’d never laid eyes on him.

If we had known anything, we would have told police. He was quiet, secretive, with no friends.

“He would say ‘mind your own business’ when even we asked him about work.

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The smaller guest house Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed targeted
Anusha Kumari 43, wife of a St Sebastian’s Church suicide blast victim Dulip Appuhami, 46, reacts as she cries in her house in Negombo (Image: AFP/Getty Images)

He was wealthy, provided for his children. He’d go away from Friday to Monday, we had no idea where.

I had no clue that he was becoming more obsessed with religion. He was a caring dad, but his kids are without a father.”

Born in 1982 with six siblings, Jameel was from a privileged background like many of the bombers.

His father had a tea business before he died 10 years ago.

He fell in love with Shifana, who came from a meat-trading family, when he returned from Britain around 2007.

They had a child in Australia, where Prime Minister Scott Morrison said a bomber lived with his wife and child there on a student visa, leaving in 2013.

He and his wife spoke English with their children, who do not speak native Sinhalese.

His sister Samsul Hidaya said he became deeply, deeply ­religious” while he was in Australia.

He came back a different man,” she said. He had a long beard, had lost his sense of humour.

“He was serious, withdrawn, he would not smile at anyone he didn’t know, let alone laugh.

He was a music lover. Before he died he wouldn’t let his children listen to music and never said a friendly word to anyone.”

Pregnant Wife of Sri Lankan Bomber Detonates Suicide Vest as Police Raids Home

April 25th, 2019

BY JANITA KAN Courtesy  The Epoch Times

The pregnant wife of a Sri Lankan suicide bomber detonated a suicide vest when police raided the family’s Colombo home, killing herself, her children, and police officers.

A series of coordinated attacks on hotels and churches devastated Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday leaving at least 250 people dead and hundreds more injured. The Health Ministry revised the death toll from 359 casualties on April 25, blaming it on a calculation error, reported BBC.

A total of nine bombers have been identified by the authorities for carrying out the attacks.

According to reports, two brothers Ilham Ahmed Ibrahim, 31, and Imsath (or Inshaf) Ahmed Ibrahim, 33, have been identified as the suspected bombers during the attacks. Inshaf Ibrahim, a copper factory owner, is accused of being the mastermind behind the bomb plot.

The nation’s Deputy Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said that when police went to raid the brothers’ home in Dematagoda shortly after the bombings, the pregnant wife of one of the brothers, who was identified as Fatima Ibrahim, detonated a suicide vest she was wearing killing herself, her unborn child, two other young children, and three police officers, reported ABC.

Wijewardene told local media in a press conference on April 24 that one of the brothers is understood to have studied in the UK and then continued on with postgraduate studies in Australia.

We believe one of the suicide bombers studied in the UK and later on did his postgraduate in Australia before coming back to settle in Sri Lanka,” he said.

Moreover, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on April 25, I can confirm that the suicide bomber had been in Australia. They departed in early 2013. That individual had been here on a student and a graduate skilled visa.”

The brothers are thought to be the sons of wealthy, politically connected spice merchant Mohammad Yusuf Ibrahim.

What we can say is some of the suspected bombers, most of them are well-educated and come from maybe middle- or upper-middle-class so are financially independent and their families are quite stable. So that is a worrying fact,” Wijewardene said.

Both were members of the radical Islamic group National Thowfeek Jamaath (NTJ) that has been named by Sri Lankan officials as being behind the bombings.

Ilham Ibrahim had previously express extremist views and was involved in meetings with the local radical Islamic group suspected of being involved in the bombings, reported Newscorp. Meanwhile, his brother Inshaf is known to have more moderate views, was reported brainwashed” by his brother over many years to become more overtly religious and intolerant, reported the National Post.

Inshaf was married to the daughter of a wealthy jewelry manufacturer and had given donations to local struggling families, reports said.

The brother’s father, Mohamed Ibrahim, a wealthy spice trader is now being interrogated about the coordinated attacks.

He had previously been recognized by Sri Lanka’s former president for outstanding service provided to the nation,” according to The New York Times. He was also supported by one political party, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, which planned to nominate him to Parliament. However, it did not win enough votes.

Police are continuing to carry out raids as they investigate those responsible for the attacks. So far at least 70 people have been arrested and seven people are wanted in connection with the bombings, reported BBC.

The Epoch Times reporter Melanie Sun and NTD News reporter Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

Sri Lanka suicide bomber’s family link to Auckland

April 25th, 2019

Courtesy  NZ Herald , Section National,

Suicide bomber Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed's sister and mother lived in Auckland.
Suicide bomber Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed’s sister and mother lived in Auckland.

One of the Sri Lankan suicide bombers has family links to New Zealand, with confirmation both his sister and mother lived in Auckland.

Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed was one of the terrorist bombers involved in the Easter Sunday attacks. His deadly plan was to target the luxury Taj Samudra hotel in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo.

Mohamed’s sister, Samsul Hidaya, has revealed how he became radicalised abroad and ended up “really angry and totally crazy”.

The family split apart, with some moving to Australia and others to New Zealand.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail, Samsul Hidaya said Mohamed had been educated to the highest level but became increasingly withdrawn and intense as he descended into extremism.

“My brother became deeply, deeply religious while he was in Australia,” she said.

“He was normal when he went to study in Britain, and normal when he came back.

“But after he did his postgraduate in Australia, he came back to Sri Lanka a different man.

“He had a long beard and had lost his sense of humour. He became serious and withdrawn and would not even smile at anyone he didn’t know, let alone laugh.”

Sri Lanka has lowered the death toll from the Easter suicide bombings by nearly one third, to 253, as authorities hunted urgently for a least five more suspects – and brace for the possibility of more attacks in the coming days.

Mohamed tried to blow up the luxury Taj Samudra hotel in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo on Easter Sunday.

But he is believed to have botched his attempt to detonate his bomb at the five-star hotel and is thought to have blown himself up by accident at a much smaller guest house.

UK counter-terrorism investigators believe he attended Kingston University in south-west London from 2006-07.

British investigators are searching for any associates or signs of extremist activity during his time in the UK.

Recalling the shock of his involvement in the atrocity in which the initial toll was thought to be 359, Mrs Hidaya opened the family photo album to show childhood pictures of the future bomber show the practical joker as a teenager, laughing with friends as he posed with a crocodile and other animals.

“He was a music lover and a funny boy,” his sister said.

“It makes me sad to think what happened to him. Before he died he would not let his children listen to music and he never said a friendly word to anyone.”

Even as a child he was always devout, she added, but had ‘never taken it too far’. But on his return from Australia, he ‘created tension’ by berating his family for their religious lapses, she said.

“I had many arguments with him,” his sister recalled.

“At first he started quoting scripture and I would say OK, you’re right.

“But then the conversation got deeper and deeper into religion and I couldn’t follow what he was saying any longer.

“He told male relatives off for trimming their beards and became angry and totally crazy. So I just stopped speaking to him because it got to the point where it was getting out of hand.”

Suicide bomber Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed's sister and mother lived in Auckland.

Suicide bomber Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed’s sister and mother lived in Auckland.

Although Mohamed lived round the corner, the siblings avoided each other. She he came to visit their mother, who lived with Hidaya, he would ignore her.

“We even started using different roads to go to and from our houses,” she said.

But despite his evident fanaticism, the news of the Easter atrocities came as a shock. “When the police came to tell us it was him, I almost collapsed,” Hidaya said.

“I just didn’t think he would take it this far. I am still in disbelief. Something happened to him in Australia that changed his personality. He became silent and aloof.”

Mohamed’s wife, who he married in a lavish ceremony before moving to Australia, was a “silent and anonymous” character, Hidaya said.

She has been taken into police custody and their four children, aged six, four, two and six months, are being cared for by their grandmother in the home where the atrocity was planned.

Mohamed’s identity came to light after Sri Lanka’s defence minister, Ruwan Wijewardene, told a media briefing earlier on Wednesday that one of the bombers had studied in the UK and done postgraduate studies in Australia before returning to settle in Sri Lanka.

Hidaya said her brother, born in 1982 to a family with six siblings, was from a wealthy tea trading family based near the central city of Kandy.

He was educated at the nearby Gampola International School before studying for his A Levels at the Royal Institute, a well-known international school in Colombo.

Bomber’s family lived in Auckland

Ten years ago, after his father, Abdul Latif, died, his mother, Samsun Nissa, moved the family to Colombo, renting the upper floor of a mansion in a majority Muslim eastern suburb.

After returning from studying in Britain, he moved into the property and fell in love with their landlord’s daughter, Shifana, who came from an affluent meat-trading family.

They married before moving to Australia so he could pursue his postgraduate studies.

Mohamed’s younger sister married a Sri Lankan New Zealander and emigrated to Auckland with their mother.

Her brother, who had his first child in Australia, moved back to Sri Lanka to live in the mansion his family previously rented.

His grandfather had left him an extensive property portfolio when he died, including the family home in Kandy. As a result, the trained aeronautical engineer did not need to work.

“Before he died he was selling the family home,” Hidaya said.

“He obviously needed a sum of money.

“But he never wanted for anything in his life. From time to time he sold or bought a property. He never had to worry about money like ordinary people do.”

– Additional reporting: Daily Mail

Sri Lanka attacks: Could this photo be evidence of failed mission by bomber with UK links?

April 25th, 2019

By Deborah Haynes, foreign affairs editor Courtesy Sky News

Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed has a rucksack, thought to contain explosives, and a suitcase at a Colombo hotel before the attacks.

Image:Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed pictured at the Taj hotel in Colombo

A photograph has been obtained by Sky News which, according to a security source, is of the suspected Sri Lanka suicide bomber who studied in Britain.

Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed, 36, is bearded with a rucksack, thought to contain explosives, and a suitcase at the Taj hotel in Colombo on Easter Sunday.

He is wearing a baseball cap just like two other suspected bombers pictured on CCTV footage before they struck the Shangri-La hotel.

Seven other bombers exploded themselves in a coordinated strike against churches and hotels on Easter Sunday.

Only he didn’t, and instead blew himself up hours later at a low-grade guesthouse on the outskirts of the city.

Security officials say something went wrong with the detonation charge so he left the five-star hotel frustrated.

Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed
Image:Mohamed at a mosque before he killed himself in a guesthouse

One source said he changed his clothes, swapping a striped shirt for a white, short sleeved one.

He then caught a rickshaw to travel to the Dehiwala area where he checked into the Tropical Inn at around 9.30am, just after the mass bombings.

Sumith Vijelal, the manager of the guesthouse, said the driver of the rickshaw was a friend of his and claimed he brought Mohamed to him as a favour to find him a guest.

He revealed this driver has since been taken in for questioning by the police but claimed he thought he would be released soon.

Mohamed asked for a room with a lock, before dumping his bags and leaving, according to Mr Vijelal.

Sources said he visited a local mosque. Another photograph is said by a security source to be of him at the mosque, wearing a white shirt.

He then returned to the hotel at around 1.30pm, went into his room and about eight minutes later, blew himself up, the manager said.

Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed
Image:Mohamed in an ID photo

The blast killed a man and woman staying in a room next door.

It reduced the one-storey building to rubble.

Mohamed – who has also been pictured in an ID photo – was already under police monitoring.

He has two passports and travelled widely, possibly even spending time in Syria.

Sky News has obtained exclusive details of some of his foreign travel when he may have been radicalised.

The suspect made his first known trip to the UK on 1 January 2006 to study aeronautical engineering at Kingston University.

He then returned to Sri Lanka via the Maldives in September the following year.

He went back to Britain in 2008. Security officials are looking into his movements and any extremist links.

Over the next four years he jumped between Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka. Islamic State is known to have a presence in Malaysia.

It has been revealed that he did a postgraduate degree in Australia at some point. He is also reported to be married and with children.

When and how he became radicalised is under investigation as well as why he chose to bring terror to an obscure street on the outskirts of Colombo.


UK sends Counter-Terrorism Police to Sri Lanka

April 25th, 2019

Courtesy Ceylon Today

Britain has sent a team of Counter-Terrorism Police to Sri Lanka after the deadly bombing attacks that killed at least 359 people, including eight Britons, on Easter Sunday.

United Kingdom (UK) Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that family liaison officers had been sent to Sri Lanka to support and assist the families of British victims and help with repatriation of their bodies.

The attack was complex, tightly coordinated and designed to cause maximum chaos, damage and heartbreak,” Hunt told Parliamentarians in the House of Commons yesterday (23).

The UK will never stand by in the face of such evil, so today we stand in solidarity with the Government and people of Sri Lanka, who have been making enormous strides towards stability and peace after the conclusion of the civil war almost 10 years ago.”

Hunt spoke with the Sri Lankan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tilak Marapana on 22 April evening to offer his condolences and the UK’s assistance with the investigation.

After eight explosions ripped through hotels and churches across the country, an improvised pipe bomb found on Easter Sunday evening was destroyed by the security services at the Katunayake Airport.

Hunt said that the device was probably meant to harm fleeing civilians.

British Prime Minister Theresa May spoke to Sri Lankan Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe earlier yesterday (23). May stressed the UK’s solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka.

The Leaders discussed the strong connection between the UK and Sri Lanka, and the need to stand together in the fight against terrorism,” a Downing Street spokesman said.

Wickremesinghe expressed his gratitude for the UK’s support.”

Hunt stated that the attacks were a ‘primitive and vile’ attempt to sow division between the people of different faiths.

We must respond by bringing people together – the exact opposite of what was intended by the perpetrators,” he said.

To attack Christian worshipers at Easter, which is a celebration of peace and the holiest day in the Christian calendar, betrays in the attackers an absence of the most basic values of humanity,” he added.

In response to such acts, we must redouble our efforts to protect the freedom of religious minorities to practice their faiths, wherever they are,” he said.

He said that the British Government will continue to give their wholehearted support to the people of Sri Lanka.

Notes to the people For a Paradigm Shift in National Security

April 25th, 2019

By Sumanasiri Liyanage Courtesy Ceylon Today

Even at the time of writing this piece, blood stains at the Katuwapitiya church, Negombo that is just a kilometre away from my house might not have dried off. In the next a few days, we may be able to witness the funeral processions of our neighbours who were killed in the brutal and cowardly attack on Easter Sunday. Hope and pray the people who were injured badly but fortunately survived would recover soon. For nearly two and a half decades prior to 19 May 2009, Sri Lankans lived in fear and uncertainty without knowing what would happen to them and their loved ones. This was common to all Sri Lankans of course in a different degree irrespective of where they lived – North or South. Having heard this sad news with shock and dismay the first question that for sure would come to anyone’s mind is Will Sri Lanka go back once again, to a prolonged period of terror?” Peace that usually prevails on Easter Sunday was disrupted by a brutal attack not only in Negombo but in eight places. Even the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) with a larger military mechanism in their heydays were not able to execute simultaneous attacks in a large number of places. Hence, surmising returning back to the prolonged days of terror is absolutely understandable. The targets of the perpetrators were three prominent churches in the heart of Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa and three five-star hotels in Colombo. The eight attacks left 350 dead and about 500 injured. A massive number! A powerful organisation with an extended network is absolutely essential to execute an attack of such a massive scale. And the victims of the attacks were ordinary women and men, not the State or a rival militant organisation. It has also been reported that in some places the attacks were executed by suicide bombers. To convince someone to go, kill and die, an organisation should be able to provide a strong dose of extremism or drug or both.  


Two Questions


Who executed these cowardly, cruel and inhumane attacks? Whey did they do it? What was the motivation that led them to engage in such a barbaric action? Of course, a layman like me may not be able to answer these complex and difficult questions. Nevertheless, we all need quick answers. In case, when authorities fail to provide reasonable answers to these questions it is natural for people to come out with their own answers based not on facts that are distant from them but on surmises that may oftentimes be incorrect. The State Minister of Defence has revealed that seven persons who are allegedly involved in this attack were arrested. 

Although there has been no conclusive and firm evidence, all fingers appear to have been directed towards a little-known militant organisation that pretends itself as the sole protectors of Islam. Muslim religious leaders informed the Government sometime ago that this organisation, in the name of Islam, was planning a terror attack.


On the basis of this inconclusive identification of the culprit, the second question that is to be posed refers to the motivation behind the attack. Why do they target innocent Catholics knowing that they would flock together to their parish church to show their devotion on Easter Sunday? In the last forty years, Muslims were made victims of inhumane attacks in Jaffna, Mawanella, Mutur, Beruwala, Digana and many other places. 

However, there was no evidence that the Catholic population was behind these attacks or participated in them. Catholics played a neutral role in these Tamil-Muslim and Sihala-Muslim tussles. Did Sri Lanka become one of the links of the New Zealand, Notre Dame Chain, in the clash of civilisations”? Still I have no clue why Sri Lanka has become such an immediate link in the chain.


Towards a New Security Paradigm


As far as national security is concerned, it is imperative to review even briefly the security implications of these attacks because people are worried about whether this marks a beginning of a new period of terror. It was reported that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said that the Government was aware of information regarding a possible attack and that adequate precautions were not taken to prevent the attack.” These reprehensible and disgraceful revelations by the country’s Prime Minister show that the Government is not at all concerned with the security of the people. In another country, the Prime Minister would have resigned from his post for the total disregard for national security. Similarly, Minister Harin Fernando told the press that he was warned by his father not to attend the Easter Sunday sermon. Had he shared this information with his fellow Christians, many of the fatalities would have been avoided. He also tweeted some documents that proved the Government’s prior knowledge of the attacks. Could this be related to the ongoing tussle between the President and the Prime Minister? Are the two fighting with each other for individual political gain at the cost of innocent lives? Even if it was the case, the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers cannot easily wash their hands off the matter and they like the President are equally responsible for what has happened. Government’s total negligence of and disregard for peoples’ security poses an issue of paramount importance.


What is meant by national security? What weightage was given in it to the security of the ordinary people, like who attended the Easter Sunday sermon? Two tentative conclusions can be made. In the last four odd years national security appears to have been neglected partly because of the Government’s pro-Western foreign policy articulated primarily by Minister Mangala Samaraweera.  It is unbelievable that a country that had developed a very strong intelligence network has failed to know about the presence and the operation of an extremist militant organisation that was capable of conducting simultaneous attacks in the country killing more than 200 people. As one of my friends in the University of Colombo told me, the so-called Yahapalana Government had rejected and abhorred everything that come with adjective, ‘national’ except in the case of the National Government. Secondly, in the name of national security, security is being provided to President, ex-Presidents, Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers and other politicians. Money was over-subscribed to back up vehicles, bullet proof vehicles and helicopters. Hence, even when the Prime Minister was aware of the attacks that were targeted at ordinary folks, no preventive actions were taken owing to the fact that peoples’ security is not a major concern.


Therefore, we need a system in which not the security of politicians but the security of the common people be given a priority. This means a paradigm shift in national security. Only such change can resolve the issue of peoples’ security. Can we expect such paradigm shift from the Government that represents and stands for elites and elites only?
The writer is a retired teacher of Political Economy.

E-mail: [email protected]

Three suspects arrested with 21 hand grenades

April 25th, 2019

Courtesy The Daily Mirror

Three suspects were arrested along with a van, 21 locally made low powerful hand grenades and six swords during a raid carried out by the Colombo Crime Division (CCD) and the Special Task Force (STF) personnel in Modara today.

The CCD officials are conducting further investigations.

Sri Lanka halts low season visa-free plan after bombings

April 25th, 2019

Courtesy The Daily Mirror

Sri Lankan Government said it was suspending plans to grant citizens of 39 countries visa-free entry during the country’s tourism low season after Easter Sunday terror attacks, AFP reported today.

Tourism Minister John Amaratunga in a statement said although arrangements were in place to issue visas on arrival for citizens of 39 countries, the government has now decided to hold it in consideration of the current security situation. 

“Investigations have revealed foreign links to the Easter attacks and we don’t want this programme to be abused,” he said.

Sri Lanka had announced last month a plan to allow visa-free entry to tourists from 39 countries, including EU members, Australia and the United States, during the low season, from May 1.

The scheme did not include China and India, from where many of Sri Lanka’s visitors come.

The devastating Easter Sunday suicide bombings against churches and hotels killed 359 people, including dozens of foreigners.

The blasts have rocked the country’s burgeoning tourism industry, which is one of the most important foreign exchange earners for the island.

Sri Lanka received 740,600 foreign tourists in the first three months of the year, up 4.6 percent from the same period a year earlier.

It welcomed a record 2.33 million tourists in 2018, and was named the world’s top travel destination for 2019 by the Lonely Planet guide book.

Australian PM confirms Sri Lanka bomber studied there

April 25th, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed one of the suicide bombers involved in the Sri Lankan bombings that killed more than 350 people on Easter Sunday spent time in Australia.

The prime minister says the man was not granted another visa after leaving Australia more than six years ago.

I can confirm that the suicide bomber had been in Australia. They departed in early 2013. That individual had been here on a student and a graduate skilled visa,” Morrison told reporters in Townsville earlier today. That individual had been here some years ago and they had a spouse and child visa at that time as well but they had not returned to the country.”

Morrison’s comments come as details surrounding the aftermath of the attacks come to light, with the pregnant wife of one of the bombers killing herself, her three children and three police officers during a raid on their Colombo home on Sunday.

Separately, a British security official has confirmed one of the bombers was believed to have studied in the U.K. between 2006 and 2007. The security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the investigation, said British intelligence was not watching the relevant individual during his stay in the country.

Defense Secretary resigns

April 25th, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

Hemasiri Fernando has resigned from his post as the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, stated Ada Derana reporter.

President Maithripala Sirisena requested the Defense Secretary Hemasiri Fernando and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to submit their resignations, yesterday (24).

This was following public outrage and backlash against the two officials over the failure to prevent the Easter Day bombing despite receiving prior warnings of a possible attack.

Meanwhile, Parliamentarian Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe has sent a letter to President calling for immediate arrests of the Defense Secretary and the IGP.

On Easter Sunday (April 21) a series of bombs targeting several churches and hotels in the country had left nearly 360 persons dead and over 500 injured.

Jummah prayers at mosques to be cancelled tomorrow?

April 25th, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

The Muslim communities are urged to refrain from gathering for Congregational Prayers (Jummah prayers) tomorrow (26), says the Minister of Postal Services and Muslim Religious Affairs.

Issuing a statement today, he appealed to the Muslim devotees to pray at their respective homes for peace and security of the motherland, instead of gathering for the Friday’s congregational prayers.

This action is a sign of solidarity with the Catholic Community and a protest against the barbaric act of ruthless terrorists’, the minister said.

Suspicious lorry registered under Shangri-La bomber seized

April 25th, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

A suspicious lorry, which bears the number WP DAE 4197 and purportedly used to transfer bombs for the suicide attacks on Easter Sunday, has been apprehended at Nayakkanda in Wattala.

It is reported that the lorry is registered under one of the suicide bombers at the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo.

The interrogations into one of the suspects arrested in Nawagampura area has led to the seizure of this suspicious lorry, the police said.

Investigations are being carried out to confirm if the lorry was used to transport explosive devices.

Sri Lankan Muslims will not accept bodies of terrorists behind attacks – ACJU

April 25th, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) stated that they will not accept the bodies of the individuals who carried out the Easter Day attacks.

Holding a press conference today (25), Sri Lanka’s main Islamic Cleric association stated that they vehemently condemn these attacks and that those who are responsible for this attack must be brought before the law and given maximum punishment.

The ACJU states that there is no place for terrorism in Islam and that the Muslims of Sri Lanka condemns all forms of violence, extremism, and terrorism. They stated that they clearly wish to emphasize that in the history of Sri Lankan Muslims nobody has ever partaken in such a violent act.

ACJU declared, Those who committed this barbaric attack on innocent civilians do not belong to us. Hence we categorically state that we will not accept their bodies. They have not done any good on behalf of us.”

Speaking on the recent debate on the traditional Muslim female garb Burqa creating identity issues the ACJU said:

Considering the situation of emergency and the security of the country, we request all our sisters to cooperate and identify themselves and remove their face veil whenever it is necessary. Do not create any situation where others will feel threatened. We request them to carry their identification and corporate with the security officials.”

The ACJU pointed out that the ACJU and the Muslim organizations under ACJU issued a joint declaration against the ISIS on 22nd July 2015. It should be noted that since the declaration was made the ACJU and other Muslim organizations have been continuously informing the defense authorities and requested them to take necessary actions against the individuals who hold extremist ideologies, stated ACJU.

The ACJU stated that the Eastern Muslim community had alerted the police on one of the individuals behind the attacks. They even have gone to the extent of holding protests demanding the arrest of the person, said ACJU.

Furthermore, the ACJU requests all the Christian and Catholic communities to carry out their religious activities on Sunday at the churches as usual and that they, the ACJU, would provide the necessary security they need to carry out their worshipping. If the Christian and Catholic communities do not feel safe to visit churches, the ACJU will support them to carry out the religious activity at safer places.

They will be writing to the Archbishop Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith with this regard, they further said. 

198 detonators found inside abandoned parcel in Nuwara Eliya

April 25th, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

198 detonators have been recovered from Hawa Eliya area in Nuwara Eliya this morning (25).

Nuwara Eliya Police had received a tip-off on a suspicious parcel abandoned near a culvert in Hawa Eliya area.

198 detonators found inside abandoned parcel in Nuwara Eliya

In a joint search operation carried out by the Army and the Police, 198 detonators were found inside the parcel.

The police suspect that the detonators were abandoned at the culvert as its owner was concerned about the ongoing extensive search operations in the area.

Further investigations are being carried out in this regard.

Another possible attack targeting mosques?

April 25th, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

A statement issued by the IGP warns of another possible attack by the terrorist group which carried out the Easter Day attacks.

The DIGs in charge of the Presidential Security Division, Special Security Division and Prime Minister’s Security Division has been informed by the IGP on this threat.

According to the statement, this terrorist group may target the Kuppu mosques also known as ‘Aulia’ mosque for their next attacks.

The United States Embassy in Colombo too has issued a warning of a possible attack and requested the public to avoid places of worship and large crowds.

From the Den of the Mastermind

April 25th, 2019

By Hafeel Farisz in Kattankudy Courtesy The Daily Mirror

The entire family, 2 brothers, a sister and the parents of Zahran Hashim the suspected mastermind of the Easter Sunday massacre have been missing since April 18, 2019, his sister Mohomed Hashim Madaniya aged 25 told the Daily Mirror exclusively.

I went and gave food to my parents and my sisters family on April 18, and haven’t heard from them since” she told us, at her house in Kattankudy located around the mosque of National Thawheed Jamath in Kattankudy.

Providing exclusive access and details of a chilling tail of radicalization of which the sister insists she had been against, and members of the mosque completely dissociating themself with, the Daily Mirror was told that Hashim was a gifted orator and a loving family man until his sudden disappearance”

The family included five children with Zahran Hashim being the oldest (33) he is married to Mohomed Haadiya (23) a resident of Kekenuwella, Kurunegala and is the father of two children aged a boy aged eight and a girl aged four.

His brother Mohomed Zeyin Hashim (30) is married to Abdul Gafoor Afrin (23) and has two children a boy aged 5 and a girl aged 3. The third was Mohomed Rilwan Hashim (28) Nafha (20) and is the father of two children aged 5 years and the other a six month old boy.

The remaining sister Mohomed Yaseera Hashim (20) was married to Mohomed Rishad (22) and is the mother of a boy aged one year, all of whom have left without a trace.

I don’t know where they are. From the 18th onwards I have had no contact with them” she told us.

Accordingly all the family members including the parents of Zahran, Hayath Mohomed Hashim (55) and Abdul Cader Sameema ( 50) have left no trace of their whereabouts since April 18th.

It was early 2017 when he started preaching things that we thought were out of line. They were things like the world was made for Muslims and was against other religions” she said.

My husband didn’t like what he was saying so we stopped our connections with him. That didn’t mean we were angry, its just that we stopped following him” the mother of three said.

On March 10, 2017 following an armed fight between moderate Sufi groups and those following the new mosque and denomination propagated by Zahran, he had reportedly gone missing”.

we didn’t hear from him after. He together with his brother Rilwan completely lost contact with all of us” Moulavi Thawufeek (33) the Head of the National Thawheed Jamath told Daily Mirror.

The National Thawheed Jamath was a denomination originated by Zahran in or around 2011.

Katankudy a small area of land with one of the highest density of population comprises 63 mosques. 8 of the mosques follow the Fundamentalist strand openly and the other barring 3 mosques follow different degrees of wahabist ideology” H. M Ameer from the Badriya Mosque told the Daily Mirror. The Jammiyathul Ulama are also supporters of the Wahabi ideology” he and Jaseem told the Daily Mirror.

The incident culminating in violence on March 10, 2017 was a result of rift between the Badriya Mosque followers of the Sufi Ideology and the religious strand that Hashim propogated.

There was a meeting to be held at the Aliya Junction at which Zahran was to speak when the violence broke out” both parties said, after which differing accounts were narrated as to what took place.

Nine persons from Zahran’s, National Thawheed Jamath were arrested by the Police and Two from the Badriya Mosque. The arrests included Zahran’s brother Zeyin. The suspects had been remanded for over 7 months according to one of the suspects Mohomed Rifaz (32).

Speaking to the Daily Mirror at the two storied mosque of which one storey is yet to be completed, Rifaz said Zahran went missing” after the Police came after him.

We didn’t know of his whereabouts till he started posting videos on Facebook around June 2017” the Daily Mirror were told by the members of the NTJ. We completely disassociated ourselves from him after we saw his videos” they told us after which they showed the Daily Mirror a letter which had been issued by the Mosque expelling Zahran from the mosque.

The fact that the Mosque was a small non sophisticated one with no approval nor accounting books issuing a letter of expulsion” could not be lost.

That is a complete lie. We have information that he visited the mosque around six weeks ago,” Ameer from the Badriya mosque insisted. We had informed authorities of him starting in 2012. We in fact gave dockets to 11 authorities including the Secretary of Defence, the Inspector General and the Attorney General detailing the extremism carried out by Zahran and his ideology,” Ameer told the Daily Mirror. They all fell on deaf ears,” Mohomed Jaseem a trustee said.

Ameer and Jaseem both showed the Daily Mirror the docket which they provided to the authorities on March 27, 2017. The docket details the hatred espoused by Zahran, and contradicts the version of the NTJ that the radicalisation took place after he fled from the police.

The complaint includes preachings by Zahran to the effect that Islam should be the only religion in the island,and that Muslims should not pledge allegiance to the country.

” We gave this to the authorities in black and white. We told them that these guys were preaching some crazy radicalised fundamentalism and that there is a threat to our lives. We did this from as far back as 2012″  Jaseem told the Daily Mirror.

According to those at the National Thawheed Jamath mosque, Zahran had single handedly originated a new denomination and built a mosque through donations given by those attending Jumma prayers” an account rubbished by Ameer.

They opened a new mosque because they got funds from foreign entities. They couldn’t be with the other fundamentalists because the money wasn’t coming in,” Jaseem told us.

The members of the NTJ however,  insist that up until his fleeing from the Police following the clashes on March 10, 2017 Zahran was a peaceful preacher.

We did a lot of charity work and we followed Islam how it should be,” they told us adding that it was following his postings in June 2017 that they realized Zahran had deviated from their path. However, according to the sister Madaniya his radical preaching commenced before.

He had just stared to preach things against the Government, against courts, and against other religions. He may have had 2 to 3 sermons like that when the clash took place in March,” she told us, refuting the underground radicalization” claim of the NTJ members.

Zahran had preached from time to time during the Five years commencing 2012 to 2017 at various junctions”. By all accounts he was a preacher who could hold a crowd. Around 2000 to 3000 people participated at his public sermons although they didn’t go to his mosque,” we were told.

I met Zeyin and his Family last around February,” Madaniya told the Daily Mirror. She claims to have had no contact with Rilwan who had also fled together with his brother Zahran following the clashes of March 10, 2017.

Intelligence sources claim that Zahran may not have been one of the bombers as they scramble to make distinct identification of them. Zahran and his family accordingly may still be at large.

I fear for my safety. We live under a lot of tension,” Madaniya said. Its unbearable to know what has happened. I don’t want to have anything to do with him and hope he is dead,” she told the Daily Mirror.

When asked as to what she believes is the reason her immediate family have been untraceable she said she assumed the worst.

They must have joined him. They never spoke to me about him because they knew my husband didn’t like him. I am the only one who has to take on all of this blame and suffering now. I don’t want to have anything to do with any of them,” she said after being asked of the alternative of the family being alive.

Moulavi Thawufeek insisted that the actions have got nothing to do with religion”. These are despicable acts and have got nothing to do with religon” he said after quoting the Quranic verse stating that the killing of a single man meant the killing of humanity”.

Thawufeek who succeeded Zahran had known the suspected mastermind since 2002. I knew him from the time he was reading at the Al- Falah Madrasa. He couldn’t complete his studies and had to leave in 2007”.

Thawufeek together with the rest present in the mosque insisted that they had not watched the vidoes of Hashim following the realization of his radicalization.

Yes he was an ISIS sympathizer and we were told of it by people. But we didn’t watch his videos” they said.

According to Moulavi Thawfueek, Intelligence Agencies were fully aware of Zahran and his preaching.

” During the past two years they used to visit the mosque at least once a week if not more. They were here a few weeks ago too” he said, sentiments concurred by the rest of the gathering.

When asked as to if he had followers of his doctrine amongst them, he said that they could not be certain.

What you have in your heart only you would know. Even if people were supporters of ISIS they wouldn’t come out openly and tell us,” he said.

Carrying her 10 month old son, Madaniya said she fears for her safety, sentiments echoed by the members of the NTJ too.

” Im the only one from the family and its alot of heartbreak and suffering” she said.

Moulavi Thawufeek also insisted that they remained fearful.

” The forces walk in and out every other day and we might not be able to practice our religion. We are fearful that this mosque we built with so much hardship will be brought down. We are also living under a lot of tension and we want our side of the story told” he said.

Ameer and Jaseem of the Badriya mosque were also fearful of theirs.

We were the only people who stood up against this fundamentalist and we fear for our lives. They will come after us” they said.

WHO CARRIED OUT THE EASTER BOMBINGS, AND WHY?

April 25th, 2019

DHARSHAN WEERASEKERA

, 22nd April 2019

A State Minister of Defence has said on the floor on Parliament that the ‘Easter Bombings’ of 21st April 2019 were in response to the Christchurch attacks against Muslims in New Zealand.  Meanwhile, almost simultaneously, it is reported in the internet that ISIS has claimed responsibility for the bombings.  For now, as a private citizen, I choose to remain skeptical of the Minister’s claims as well as the reports that ISIS is behind the bombings, for reasons I will explain in a moment.

What is crucial is that, the bombings not be permitted to become a pretext for the Government to join the U.S.’s ‘War on Terror.’  For the past four years, the U.S. and India (the U.S.’s new ally in Asia) have been busy trying to gain maximum indirect control over Sri Lanka in order to prevent the Chinese from establishing a presence in this country.  They would have succeeded had it not been for the collapse of the ‘National Government’ and the subsequent collapse of the drive to enact a new Constitution. 

It is also well-known that an attempt by the U.S. to push through a defence agreement with Sri Lanka, one that would give the U.S. privileged access to strategic parts of this country including its harbours is on hold, because of the lack of support.  Finally, most Sri Lankans are counting the days to the next Presidential and General elections.  It is expected that a pro-nationalist Government will take over and begin the process of returning control of the country back to its population.  

All this can be reversed if Sri Lanka signs on to the ‘War on Terror,’ which would give the U.S. a new lease to continue interfering in the internal affairs of this country.  Sri Lankan investigators must be given sufficient time to get to the bottom of who is responsible for the Easter Bombings.  In my view, investigators should look into whether the bombings were orchestrated by a foreign intelligence agency/agencies (i.e. the Indian and American intelligence services) using local or international Islamist terrorists.   

a)         THE MINISTER’S CLAIM THAT THE EASTER BOMBINGS WERE A RESPONSE TO THE CHRISTCHURCH ATTACK          

To the best of my knowledge the Christchurch attack happened on the 15th of March 2019.  The Easter Bombings in Sri Lanka happened on the 21st of April 2019.  Many people seem to agree that at least by 4th April 2019 and certainly by around 10th April 2019, one of more foreign intelligence agencies had warned of some sort of attack in Sri Lanka.  Most people agree that, in terms of scale and sophistication, the Easter Bombings have few if any parallels in the annals of terrorism. 

So, the Minister would have us believe that, barely two weeks after the attack in Christchurch New Zealand, an obscure group of fanatics in Sri Lanka—a group whose only significant act of violence prior to 21st April appears to have been to shoot the secretary to Kabir Hashim, the prominent UNP Parliamentarian![1]—managed to, a) acquire the specialized knowledge and skill to assemble suicide vests and/or backpacks, and also IED’s, b) acquire the requisite explosives for such devices, c) finalize the tactical plans including logistics and surveillance for an operation that would have made Pottu Amman proud, and d) coral together at least seven highly trained suicide bombers.  As an American might say, ‘You gotta be kidding me!’  

b) ISIS HAS PURPORTEDLY CLAIMED RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE BOMBINGS

There are reports that ISIS has claimed responsibility for the bombings.  There are also reports that videos showing the purported bombers pledging their allegiance to ISIS have been posted on ISIS websites.  However, I choose to remain skeptical until our own security services confirm the links, because of the following reasons. 

First, to the best of my knowledge, when ISIS and other international Islamist terrorists have carried out attacks outside the Middle East, it has been against countries that have troops actively fighting Muslims either in the Middle East or regions of the world that ISIS and others consider to be ‘Muslim lands.’  To my knowledge, Sri Lanka does not have troops fighting in such regions.

Second, certain experts on Islamic terrorism/jihadism—for instance persons such as the British journalist Robert Fisk, one of the few Western reporters ever to personally interview Osama Bin Laden—have said that the jihadists have a tendency to warn their adversaries before an attack, and also to offer terms.[2] 

Apparently, there is an injunction in the Koran that an adversary must be warned before being attacked. Whatever else the Islamist terrorists may or may not be, there is no question that they take the Koran seriously.  In the case of Sri Lanka there has been no warning, at least by the attackers.    

Finally, if killing Christians was the motive, then how does none explain the attacks on the hotels?  Three hotels were targeted—Kingsbury, Cinnamon Grand and Shangri La—which shows that at least one of the motives behind the attacks had to be to strike at Sri Lanka’s tourism industry. 

Tourism is one of the few means by which this country is still able to earn an income.  Whoever is behind these attacks wanted to deprive the country of that income also.  So, the attack is not purely against the Christians, it is against the country as a whole.  It is difficult to imagine what Sri Lanka could have done to ISIS or any other international Islamist terrorist group to make them hate this country to such an extent. 

c)         A FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE AGENCY/AGENCIES CARRIED OUT THE ATTACKS USING LOCAL ISLAMIST TERRORISTS/FANATICS

It is not in dispute that, the Siri-Wiki regime that came to power in January 2015 was a boon to the Americans and the Indians, especially the former.  In retrospect, the Siri-Wiki regime can be seen as a predictable offshoot of the ‘Pivot to Asia’ policy of the Americans begun under the Obama Administration and continued under President Trump. 

The purpose of the ‘Pivot’ is to consolidate American military as well as economic dominance over Asia.  It is accompanied by a military/naval strategy whose primary focus is to counter Chinese influence in the region and ultimately encircle China itself.[3]  Sri Lanka which sits at a strategically vital spot in the Indian Ocean is crucial for both the Americans as well as the Chinese, the former in order to further entrench their control over this region, the latter to break out of the ‘encirclement.’ 

The Siri-Wiki regime has now collapsed in Sri Lanka, and most people expect that any new Government that will take over will be heavily pro-nationalist as well as pro-Chinese.  In short, all the hopes that the Americans/Indians had in January 2015 are now in ruins, and the ‘gains’ they made in the last 4 years are very much in danger of being reversed. 

If we consider the Easter Bombings from the above perspective, it is impossible not to see that the bombings offer a wonderful opportunity for the Americans to continue to pursue in this country their goals in respect of the ‘Pivot.’

To digress a moment, if I am not mistaken, in Somalia, under the pretext of helping the Government there fight Al Shahab, the Americans have managed to gain various concessions that have allowed them to make Somalia a key station in AFRICOM, the new American military command for Africa.  AFRICOM began under the Bush Administration but was vastly expanded under the Obama Administration.  It is being further extended and consolidated under Trump. 

Len Wengraf, a respected American academic, discusses AFRICOM in its early years in the following terms, and they are highly relevant to Sri Lanka under the present circumstances.  He says:

‘The Obama Administration is also a strong proponent of AFRICOM, a new U.S. military command for Africa officially launched on October 1, 2008, with the frightening potential to subject Somalia and other countries and regions to U.S. terror on a new scale.  In fact, AFRICOM would mean the Somali experience writ large for the entire continent, with local proxies and enhanced military reinforcements. 

As Nunu Kadane put it in an article titled, ‘AFRICOM, Militarization and Resource Control’:

If you’re thinking traditional bases with thousands of military personnel, think again.  General Kip Ward has said it is not about bases” and garrisons” but rather a network of sophisticated military operations strategically placed throughout the continent, which can be moved around and utilized for any purpose.

General Gates called AFRICOM a different kind of command with a different kind of orientation, one that we hope and expect will institutionalize a lasting security relationship with Africa.”  It is a civilian-military partnership” where diplomatic and humanitarian relief by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will get directives from the Department of Defence.’[4]  

The point is this.  If under the pretext of helping to fight ISIS and other Islamist terrorists in Sri Lanka, the U.S. extends something like AFIRCOM to this country, we are finished.  So this is something that Sri Lankans will have to watch out for.  Also, to recall Somalia, if I am not mistaken, around 2006, the Americans, claiming that the Somalia had become a breeding ground for terrorists, got Ethiopia to invade and occupy Somalia. 

If Sri Lanka is portrayed as a breeding ground for Islamist terrorists who are not just a menace to this country but to others as well, particularly our big neighbor to the North, it is possible to envision a scenario where the Indians might be enticed into invading and occupying this country or at any rate setting up a puppet regime here, a regime directly answerable to New Delhi.  Such a thing would solve both the Indians’ as well as Americans’ problems in respect of the Chinese presence in Sri Lanka.  

To repeat, these are all opportunities that the Easter Bombings have created.  Under the circumstances, I hope our investigators look into the possibility that the Indian or American intelligence services had something to do with these attacks. 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  1. Sri Lanka needs either a Presidential election or General Elections as soon as possible.  We must have a chance to choose the leaders who we think are capable of meeting this new threat.  Under no circumstances should the bombings or the security situation in the country be made an excuse for postponing elections.
  • If Sri Lanka is to seek foreign assistance to fight the Islamist terrorists, it is wiser to look to Russia than to the U.S.  Russia at least proved in Syria that it knows how to beat the Islamists.  In contrast, as a general rule, wherever the Americans have got involved they have only increased Islamist terrorism rather than diminished it.
  • In my view, the best long-term solution to the rise of Islamist terrorism as well as Tamil separatism/terrorism in this country is to resettle large numbers of Sinhalese people in the North and East of the country and thereby prevent the growth of ethnic enclaves which have tended to thrive especially over the last 30-40 years.  So, a practical plan to move, say, a minimum of 200,000 Sinhalese to the North and East over the next two years must be put together as soon as possible. 

[1] See ‘Kabir:  Suspect released by police due to powerful politician’s intervention carried out Easter attack,’ The Island, 23rd April 2019

[2] See for instance, ‘9/11 Remembered:  Robert Fisk’s Close Encounter with Osama Bin Laden,’ The Independent, 11th September 2018, www.independent.co.uk

[3] See John Pilger, ‘A World War Has Begun:  Break the Silence,’ www.counerpunch.org, 23rd March 2016

[4] Len Wengraf, ‘The Nightmare in Somalia,’ Counterpunch, 13th February 2009

Sri Lanka attacks: Who are The National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ)?

April 25th, 2019

Sri Lanka News

A previously little-known group called the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) is being accused of having carried out the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan officials pinned the blame on the NTJ at a news conference on Monday.

Until Monday, when the Sri Lankan government spokesman mentioned its name, very few people had heard of the NTJ.

The group is believed to have splintered off from another hardline Islamist group in the country, the Sri Lanka Thowheed Jamath (SLTJ).

While still relatively unknown, the SLTJ is a bit more established. Its secretary, Abdul Razik, was arrested in 2016 for inciting hatred against Buddhists. He later issued an apology.

මුස්ලිම් නීතිඥවරයෙක් විශ්වකර්ම සමග කල ආන්දෝලනාත්මක හෙළිදරව්ව | Interview with a Muslim lawyer

April 25th, 2019

Vishwa Karma exclusive interview with a Muslim lawyer.

Easter Day attacks are a plan of powerful nations – Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith (English)

April 25th, 2019

Ada Derana news

Archbishop of Sri Lanka Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith has urged not to hold services at Catholic churches until further notice.

The Cardinal stated this during a press conference held today (24) following a discussion with the ambassadors of Muslim-majority countries in Sri Lanka.

He has also urged to work with peace considering the situation prevailing in the country.

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said that all parties should ensure that the Muslim community is not being harassed at this moment.

Stop foreign forces entering the country: Dinesh

April 25th, 2019

Ajith Siriwardana and Yohan Perera Courtesy The Daily Mirror

Opposition MP Dinesh Gunawardane yesterday told the government that it should not by any circumstance allow foreign security forces to enter this country at this moment.

He also urged the government to conduct an investigation into the issuance of Visas to thousands of foreigners under lax conditions.

He told parliament that investigations into the matter should be carried out immediately and said it was pointless asking the IGP to do so.

MP Gunawardane said the government failed to act on information given by the intelligent services and added that it could not get away from the responsibility by claiming that it was not aware of such an attack.

“Information was there on extremist groups since 2016. The Government was well aware of it. It cannot get away saying that it was not aware,” he said.

He said if the government could not defeat this extremist terrorist groups, it should quit and hand over this country to someone who could do it.

He said the country could not be governed when there was a crisis between the President and the Prime Minister and stressed the need to pay way for a new government. (

600 deported Pakistanis escorted to community center

April 25th, 2019

Six hundred Pakistanis, who had been living within the Negombo Police Division owing to deportation from Pakistan, have been taken into the Ahmadiyya Community Center in Nittambuwa, stated Ada Derana reporter.

Reportedly, the relevant Pakistan nationals had been deported from Pakistan due to the war situation in Pakistan via the United Nations.

However, the owners of the houses they had been temporarily living in, had asked them to leave the house owing to the recent Easter Day attacks, stated Ada Derana reporter.

Accordingly, upon a complaint received by the Negombo Police regarding the safety of the deported Pakistanis, they have been escorted to the Community Center.

Ada Derana reporter further stated that funds have been received from the United Nations and the Pakistan government for the support of these deported Pakistanis.

CCTV footages of suicide bombers at Shangri-La & Cinnamon Grand

April 25th, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

The CCTV footages of the suicide bomb attacks on Cinnamon Grand hotel in Colombo have been released to the media.

The suicide bomber arrives at the Taprobane restaurant of the hotel at 9.12 a.m. when it was filled with guests having breakfast.

The bomber appears to be nervously hovering near the diners prior to detonating the vest.

Meanwhile, the CCTV footages of two suicide bombers arriving at the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo has also been released to the media.

They enter the hotel’s elevator and get off at the third floor of the building to enter the restaurant, where they detonated the bombs.

Zahran Hashmi, considered to be the mastermind of the series of suicide bomb attacks was captured in this footage.

The death toll of these terror attacks have increased to 359 as of yesterday (24), and 39 foreign tourists are among the dead.

The Phenomenon of Suicide Bombing

April 24th, 2019

Ruwan M Jayatunge M.D.

On Easter Sunday Sri Lanka suffered suicide bombers attacks which resulted over 300 deaths. At least 45 children were among those that perished. The Isis has claimed responsibility for these suicide bombings. Thesesuicide bombings are the results of religious fundamentalism. 

Suicide terrorism is not a modern phenomenon.  Suicide attack is an ancient practice with a modern history. The threat of suicide bombing attacks has escalated worldwide (Almogy et al., 2004).

As described by Horowitz (2015) a suicide bombing is an attack where the death of the bomber is the means by which the attack is accomplished. Suicide bomber could be defined as an individual carrying high explosive device, attached to his/her body and must be recognized as a separate medicolegal entity (Ruwanpura et al., 2008).

Martyrdom operations are the targeted use of self-destructing humans against noncombatant typically civilian populations to effect political change (Atran, 2003). The suicide terrorism is an operational method in which the very act of the attack is dependent upon the death of the perpetrator (Boaz, 2000). The attacker does not expect to survive the mission.

The literature on suicide terrorism has been dominated by political and social theories (Sheehan, 2014). Psychological, social and political forces contribute to suicide terrorism. Often collective identity motivates their terrorist behavior.  Indoctrination is a unique feature of suicide terrorism (Grimland, Apter, & Kerkhof, 2006). Also group dynamics play a major role (Jayatunge, 2008). Although religion is not a single, simple causal factor in terrorist violence, religious elements often feature strongly in the belief systems associated with terrorist violence(Rogers et al., 2007). Miller (2006) states that psychological and religious dynamics are often associated with suicide terrorism. In addition the cultures of martyrdom is a contributing factor in suicide operations (Hafez, 2007).

The psychology of suicide terrorism is complex. The Suicide attackers do not operate in a vacuum (Jayatunge, 2008). Suicide bombing is the result of a highly complex interaction between many forces (Grimland et al., 2006).Suicide terrorism is strategically planned, rather than randomly performed by individual fanatics (Kao & McAlister, 2018). For suicide terrorists personal identity, which has been shattered by helplessness, shame, and humiliation, is replaced by group identity (Volkan, 1997). Suicide bombing are best understood when analyzed on personality level, an organizational level, and an environmental level.

Suicide bombers have common psychological features such as isolation, feelings of emptiness, cold rationality, a lack of empathy, and a lust for martyrdom and death (Marazziti Det al., 2018). Townsend (2007) hypothesized that suicide bombers are not truly suicidal and should not be viewed as a subgroup of the general suicide population.According to Townsend (2007) suicide is associated with psychopathology, and suicide terrorists do not exhibit overt psychopathology. Furthermore suicide terrorism has murderous intent.

There are connections between mental illness and terrorism (Weatherston & Moran, 2003). Psychiatric disorders such as depression and PTSD are higher among the suicide bombers (Sheehan, 2014). Suicide bombers can commit an extreme form of violence without any remorse.

MUSLIMS: EXTREMIST AND PAROCHIAL ATTITUDES

April 24th, 2019

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane. 

All ethnic and cultural groups within society are not equal and therefore need not be treated in the same way. All people do not hold the same values. All those who are privileged to have  Sri Lanka was their home, should be aware of the fact that the foundation of our nation, its societal norms and values originate from the Sinhala Buddhist heritage, which has a history of over 2200 years in this island. Whether we choose to live as Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Malay or Burger, or as Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Christians or atheists, our right to do so is derived from this heritage and associated way of life. It should be well remembered that in spite of attempts by European colonial powers for over four hundred years, to undermine our nation’s indigenous culture, and also, in spite of serious challenges faced by our country during the decades of Tamil terrorism, the fundamental elements of our Sinhala Buddhist national culture prevailed. That gave our nation its distinct identity and character. It is a well evident fact that our nation was able to confront these vicious forces and subdue them, owing to the courage, dedication and sacrifices made patriotic Sinhala Buddhists.  

          Islamic community in Sri Lanka is a small non-indigenous minority amounting to about 9% of the total population. Despite their small numbers they enjoy many special privileges. In recent years, with their new found petro dollars, it is noticeable from their attitude and actions, that some extremist Muslims in our country are posing a threat to the norms and values of our national culture and way of life. 

          It was an admirable characteristic of the Sinhala Buddhists, from historic times, to have accommodated without prejudice, in their country various non-indigenous ethnic and religious groups of people such as Muslims, Malays and Tamils, who settled down in our country at different times in the past, for various purposes.           Non-indigenous minority communities such as the Muslims should feel morally obliged to reciprocate the generosity and cordiality accorded to them by the dominant mainstream Sinhala Buddhist community, and adapt themselves to the norms and values of this mainstream of the country where they have chosen to live.

         Whatever discord and conflicts between the mainstream and the minorities in recent decades, can be largely attributed to extremist and parochial attitudes of ethnic and religious minorities. These undesirable developments were the outcome of extremist views of these minorities with short-sighted and misguided leaders having their own hidden agendas for their own benefit.

          There is clear evidence of disregard and disrespect on the part of most Muslims, for the Buddhist cultural heritage of our country.  Muslims have been responsible for the destruction of archeological remains and historic cultural monuments in areas inhabited by them, especially in the Eastern region of the country. The fundamentals of ‘Islam’ that are widely propagated by Muslims especially those pertaining to attitude towards non-Muslims, have serious negative implications as far as the national culture is concerned. Peaceful coexistence of different communities and the democratic principles and rule of law that form the basis of social organization in our country appear to be threatened by the divisive attitudes and covert actions of Muslim extremists.  

         The younger generation of Muslims are being brainwashed with extremist Islamic fundamentalism, in ‘Madrasas or exclusively Muslim schools that have sprung up in the country in recent years. The fundamentals of ‘Islam’ that are widely propagated in these Madrasas  have serious negative implications as far as the national culture is concerned. The younger generation of Muslims are being brainwashed with these extremist Islamic beliefs and practices in their exclusively Muslim schools.

Their new male and female attire displays their desire to look different and to be exclusive and separate from the nation’s mainstream. This polarization tendency of the Islamic community is self-imposed. It is definitely not because they feel marginalized.

This divisive spirit of Muslims is owing to the influence of Islamic teachings to keep away from non-Muslims who are considered as inferior to Muslims. The Koran forbids Muslims to closely associate non-Muslims. Islam has dualistic ethics with one rule for Muslims and one rule for non-believers and there is no exception to this rule. Why these extremist Muslims want members of their community to have a common attire and to look different from others is a big question. However, this has a divisive effect on society.  

          Islam’s teachings say that non-Muslims are inferior to Muslims. To closely associate non-Muslims is forbidden or ‘haram’ according to the Koran. Islam has dualistic ethics with one rule for Muslims and one rule for non-believers who form the majority of Sri Lankans. There is no exception to this rule. Most Muslims do not appear to be interested in integrating with other communities, perhaps because assimilation is not permitted under Islamic Shariah law.

         The rules of Islam govern politics, marriage and the day-to-day lives of its followers. In fact, Islam is a political ideology where the church and state are not separate. Under the circumstances, one cannot expect Muslims to develop a sense of patriotism and national pride in a predominantly non-Muslim country such as ours. Our people are well aware of Muslims of Sri Lanka cheering Pakistan at cricket matches played between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

How many of us, especially those living in Sri Lanka are aware of the fact that Halal is a most repulsive and horrendous practice that involves extreme form of abuse and cruelty towards animals?  Halal is a gruesome method where the animals are tied down and their throats slashed, letting their blood ooze out slowly from the animal’s body and making animals die on their blood, a slow, lingering and agonizing death.  What is most horrendous is that this torturous practice takes place while the animals are desperately struggling for their lives. It is a well evident fact that these animals are conscious of what is happening to them. This is a most sickening and inhuman way of killing animals. It is a practice that should not be tolerated in any civilized society.

In a society such as ours where Buddhists predominate, and where non-violence towards all living beings is a fundamental tenet, practices of this nature cannot and should not be tolerated under any circumstances.  Animal welfare has been a tenet of the rulers of our nation from very early times, from the 3rd century BCE, when King Devanampiyatissa ruled the country. This was in-keeping with the declaration of the Buddha in the Cakkavatti Sihanada Sutta (Digha Nikaya of the Sutta Pitaka) that an ideal or virtuous ruler of a nation or ‘Cakkavatti King” will give protection and shelter not only to human beings, but also to birds and beasts. It was this king, over 2200 years ago, who established the world’s first Bird and animal sanctuary in Sri Lanka. Since this time, the principle of animal welfare prevailed in our country until the arrival of European colonial powers, starting with the ruthless Catholic Portuguese invaders, about at the beginning of the 16trh century. Besides hunting animals as a sport, the slaughtering of animals as a vocation started with the entry of Christianity and Islam to Sri Lanka.

The resurgence of Buddhism is a well evident development in the country in recent years. It is an opportune time to take action, on the part of the nation’s Buddhist leadership – lay and ordained, to develop a well-conceived policy against cruelty to animals, to save our animals from   ‘terrorism’ meted out to them by some quarters of people in our country.

Muslims are well known to be running successful businesses in predominantly Sinhala majority areas with the Sinhala people as their customers. They are involved in wealth generating employment connected with tourism and travel.  The household income of Muslims far exceeds those of ordinary Sinhala people. The per capita income of the Muslim community is far higher than that of the Sinhala majority community.

It is a pity that the Muslim leaders and successful individual in general, have shown greater interest in furthering the interests of the Muslim community and not the general public as a whole. It is time that Muslims invested more on hospitals, schools and other national social welfare activities and contributed tangibly for infrastructure development activities that benefit everyone and not necessarily the Muslim community.

It is time that Muslim establishments refrain from exclusively hiring Muslims, especially for responsible positions in their establishments.  There have been many instances of Muslim encroachment of places that are of Buddhist historic value, and the destruction of Buddhist monuments and items of archeological value in the Eastern Province in particular.  This definitely has to stop. If Muslims are involved in the illicit drug trade as often reported in the media, this is a national crime and has to stop. There has been much discussion in recent times about the deceitful and exploitative nature of the halal’ business venture of Muslims. Also, the allegation of various covert practices to increase the Muslim population at the expense of the Sinhala population has received much publicity in recent times.

Muslims should consider it their duty to participate more actively in national events such as the National day festivities and other important national events and international events as Sri Lankans and cheer Sri Lanka and rejoice in their international attainments in all fields including cricket and sports in general.  The indigenous cultural norms and values upon which this nation is founded should be well understood and respected by all citizens of this country, irrespective of their religious or other affiliations.

Most importantly, there are no restrictions in Sri Lanka for the construction of mosques in predominantly Sinhala areas.  It is a well known fact that Muslim countries do not permit even the display of a Buddha image, let along building Vihares. In activities connected with Muslim mosques, especially in early morning prayers using load speakers, the Muslims should pay more attention to the comforts and conveniences of the non-Muslim neighbors.   

It was not long ago that the exclusively Muslim, religion-based political party – the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and several Muslim civil society groups opposed the construction of Buddha’s statues on the southeast coastal areas. These were   predominantly Buddhist areas in the recent past, where Buddhist historic monuments and important archeological remains abound and these are some of  the cultural wealth of the nation

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane. 

PAKISTAN’S NEW IDENTITY

April 24th, 2019

ALI SUKHANVER

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s two-day official visit to Iran is certainly going to bring the two neighbouring countries more close to each other. Pakistan and Iran have a very long history of cordial relationship. Iran was the ever first country to recognize Pakistan’s sovereign status after its independence in 1947. Moreover the Shah of Iran was the first head of state that paid an official visit to Pakistan. According to a survey conducted by the PEW Research Center, Pakistan is a country where Iran is viewed positively. The conclusion report of that survey says, Polls have consistently shown that a very high proportion of Pakistanis view their western neighbor Iran positively.” But in spite of all this cordiality, things have not always been very good between these two countries and ‘credit’ of creating rather ‘encouraging’ misunderstandings between Iran and Pakistan certainly goes to the Indian agents of R&AW who have ever been very active in the bordering area of the two countries. On both sides this area is known as Baluchistan; on Iranian side this area comprises of 180,726 km² and a population of 2,775,014, whereas on Pakistani side the total area of Baluchistan is 347,190 km2 and population is 12,344,408. Baluchistan is a treasure land on both sides having immeasurable mineral deposits of Chromite, Copper, Lead, Iron, Zinc, Titanium, Manganese and Gold. On Pakistan’s side reserves of Copper and Gold were discovered in district Chaghai at Saindak and Rekodiq. Experts say that the deposits of Gold at Saindak and Rekodiq are of finest quality.  In short the mountains of Baluchistan are simply heaps of gold and other precious minerals and these minerals are making every one’s mouth water. By killing innocent people in Baluchistan sometimes in the name of sectarianism and sometimes in the name of racial identities, the agents of R&AW are trying to give the world an impression that there is no writ of the government of Pakistan in that region. When the security agencies start taking seriously strict action against such culprits, the agents of R&AW sitting in different western and Indian media houses start a blame game against the security agencies of Pakistan.

A few days back on 18th of April, more than fifteen terrorists camouflaged in Frontier Corps uniform barricaded the road and stopped four buses traveling to Gwadar from Ormara on the Makran Coastal Highway, Baluchistan. They checked the identity cards of all the passengers and off loaded fourteen of them who in fact belonged to the security forces of Pakistan. They were made to stand in a queue and then all shot dead. It was reported that the terrorists had come there from the Iranian side of Baluchistan and after ‘performing’ this massacre they ran back to the area they belonged to. As the terrorists had camouflaged themselves in the uniform of the Frontier Corps, it is very much obvious that they simply wanted to give an impression that this cowardly act was done by the security personnel of Pakistan. Though BRAS, an alliance of three terrorist organizations has claimed responsibility for this terrorist act but still things are not very much clear. But one thing is very much clear that the terrorists had come from the Iranian area and returned there after completion of the task assigned. The foreign office of Pakistan has written a letter to the Iranian Embassy which says, The information about the hubs of these Baloch terrorist organizations in Iran, having training camps and logistics bases across the border, was shared with Iranian intelligence in the recent past, and on a number of occasions earlier. Unfortunately, no action has been taken by Iran in this regard, to date.” The letter further says, Killing of 14 innocent Pakistanis by terrorists groups based in Iran is a very serious incident that Pakistan protests strongly. Pakistan awaits Iran’s response to its request for action against these groups based in Iran, whose locations have been identified by Pakistan a number of times.”

Whatever is happening there in Baluchistan has a direct link with the CPEC, with Gwadar Deep Sea Port Project and the recently discovered huge oil reserves close to the Iran border located 230km of Karachi’s offshore. Hu Weijia said reporting in the Global Times, Pakistan may soon hit the oil jackpot, and that will be good news for not only the country itself but all of South Asia as well as China and Gulf nations.” According to different media reports, US oil giant Exxon Mobil and Italy’s ENI have been involved in drilling process since January 2019. Experts say that on one hand these oil reserves would prove another CPEC like game changer for Pakistan and on the other hand these reserves would play a very important role in bringing the South Asian countries closer. This closeness would certainly bring a new spring of peace and prosperity in the region. Other than Mobil and ENI, there are so many other international companies which are willing to be a partner in different projects related to digging of the ‘oil-wells’. Experts are of the opinion that if Pakistan succeeds in attracting more companies to the project, it would certainly help Pakistan in fighting its present financial crisis. In short, it is being predicted that in near future Pakistan is going to gain a new identity; the identity of a leading oil producing country. It seems that some of the neighbouring countries are taking this new expected identity of Pakistan as a threat and a challenge to their own existence.

MUSLIMS AND SPIRIT OF INTERRELIGOUS UNDERSTANDING

April 24th, 2019

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane

Historically, Muslims have gone to great lengths, even waging wars, to impose Islam, their version of what they deem to be the one and true way. The attitude and position of ‘exclusivism’ adopted by Muslims, that Islam is the only true religion and rejecting the legitimacy of other faith traditions, does not help in developing a spirit of religious pluralism in society. The principle of ‘one truth, one religion’ or Exclusivism” lies at the heart of Islam. For the Muslims, the teaching in Islam represent the ‘best path’ and their egocentric attachment to their religion obstructs them from seeing the value of other religious traditions. They will not accept the pluralistic perspective of ‘many truths, many religions’.

It is time that Muslims of Sri Lanka, especially their leaders realize that without developing a genuine spirit of inter-religious understanding or a spirit of religious pluralism, there is no hope for the development of harmony based on true interreligious understanding. From the Buddhist point of view, there is tremendous diversity among sentient beings and individuals and groups find different ways of approaching and seeking spiritual development. This standpoint allows one to develop a sense of appreciation of all faith traditions.

From the Buddhist point of view, the belief in Allah with its emphasis on the idea of a ‘first cause’ that in itself is uncaused, amounts to falling into extreme absolutism, a view that obstructs the attainment of enlightenment.  If one believes that the entire cosmos, including the sentient beings within it, is the creation of one all-powerful and compassionate Allah, then, the inescapable consequence is that other faith traditions are also Allah’s or God’s creation. If this is not the case, then Allah is not omnipotent or the implication being that although these other faiths are ‘false ways’, Allah was  incapable of stopping their emergence.  If one maintains that although Allah or God is perfectly capable of preventing the emergence of these ‘false ways’ but he chooses not to do so, then one rejects Allah’s or God’s all-embracing compassion. This is because,  if Allah is all-powerful and compassionate, why did he choose to exclude millions of His own children, from following the so-called ‘false ways’ that would lead to their damnation? So the logic of monotheism in Islam, the standard version that attributes omnipotence, omniscience, and all-embracing compassion to Allah, inevitably entails recognition that the world’s many religious traditions are in one way or another related to Allah’s or God’s divine intentions for the ultimate well-being of His children. This means that, as a devout follower of Allah, one must accord respect, and if possible, reverence to all religions.   

The highly tolerant nature of the large majority of Buddhists of Sri Lanka should not be taken for granted.They are becoming increasingly aware of the various forms of threats to which they are subject without good reason, and as proven repeatedly in their nation’s long history of foreign aggression and misdemeanors, they will rise to the occasion when necessary, to save their Buddhist norms and principles forming the foundation of the national culture of their nation, their only motherland.   

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane

Our Sorrow and Condolences to the Victims and Families of the Sri Lanka’s Easter Carnage

April 24th, 2019

Society for Peace, Unity and Human Rights in Sri Lanka (SPUR) NSW Inc Australia

Our Society expresses its profound and heartfelt sorrow on the senseless killing of innocents in Sri Lanka. Our thoughts are with the families and persons affected by the deaths, grievous injury and destruction of property by terrorists who have caused fear and terror in the people of Sri Lanka and to the visitors to the island.

We give our condolences to the Christians who had been targetted on their Holiest Day of Easter Sunday whilst at prayer with sacred thoughts and goodwill at heart. This is a heinous crime our Society condemns unreservedly.

Our Society has been in the forefront of anti-terrorism in the 30 years of terrorism, conflict and the carnage in Sri Lanka which ended in 2009. Such an ending was possible due to the selfless life sacrifices made by members of our valiant defence forces. We will continue to assist in Sri Lankans to overcome the scourge of terrorism foisted on them once again this Easter Sunday.

Our Society also condemns multiple policy weaknesses of the present government in Sri Lanka that has contributed to the carnage. The government has deliberately let the guard down from 2015 in Sri Lanka even when surrounded by a world of enhanced extremist ideology, expansionist ethnic and religious greed, indoctrination through re-constructed histories, fake news, malicious propaganda, uncontrolled undisciplined social media and by open terrorism.

The government of Sri Lanka has again started bending backwards to please terrorist fronts who manipulate and operate through national and international agencies both government and non-government. Our security forces had been belittled, then witch-hunted time and again, and its moral broken and almost equated to terrorists themselves. Our intelligence agencies treated step-motherly, politicised, disbanded or their funding cut.

In this time of great sorrow let us pray and wish for the speedy recovery of all injured, the recovery from physical, mental and emotional damage caused to themselves and to those near and dear. Our respect and thoughts lie with the three members of the security forces and their families for the selfless sacrifice made in apprehending the suspects to this crime. It is once again time for those who deliberately forgot the security forces to reflect their undeniable worth and valour. Our thoughts are also with all Sri Lankans and others affected by these barbaric acts.

Let us also urge the persons in power or had been in power in Sri Lanka, not to find escape routes and hide behind flimsy excuses being made to the citizens, but to reflect upon their own deliberate actions in the past few years that contributed to this debacle, and take responsibility like leaders.

They will need to work for the good of the people, and to immediately stop working for their own selves and for their own political survival only.

Nimal Liyanage  
President                                                                                               
Nihal Jayasinghe
Secretary

                                                                                                  

ESTABLISHMENT OF MUSLIMS IN SRI LANKA

April 24th, 2019

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane

The Muslims of Sri Lanka should be aware of some important historic facts about Sri Lanka, if they are serious on becoming a legitimate part of this great nation. First, they should realize that, they are a small settler community in this country amounting to about 9% of its total population. Prior to the 15th century, the sole interest of the few male Arab merchants who visited the country was trade and they were basically visitors to the country. Gradually with passage of time, they married local woman and began settling down in some coastal regions. It was only by the 15th century that the Muslims became an established small minority community of the country. Therefore, it is incorrect to claim that Muslims have been an established community in Sri Lanka for over 1000 years. There is reference to Muslims and their settlements in Sri Lanka only during the period immediately prior to the arrival of the Portuguese in 1505 or the early 16th century.  For all purposes, the history of Muslims in Sri Lanka as an established community extends to about 600 years and definitely not 1000 years as claimed. The on and off, arrival and departure of sea-faring male Arab merchants exclusively for trade purposes in earlier centuries cannot be regarded as the beginnings of the establishment of the Muslim community in Sri Lanka.    

The country was referred to early times as Heladiva or Helabima which means the land or island of the Hela or Sinhala people. It was also referred to as Thunsinhalay (Ruhunu-Pihiti-Maya) or Sinhalay as it was called during the European colonial times (The Udarata Giwisuma or the Kandyan Convention of 1815 refers to the island as Sinhalay).

Muslims should be aware of the fact that this country has an unbroken written or recorded history that extends to a period exceeding 2500 years. According to this history, this country has been a Sinhala Buddhist nation since the introduction of Buddhism in the 3rd century BCE, in an unbroken manner for over 2200 years. The cultural norms and way of life of this country are an outcome of or are based on Buddhist principles.

The Muslims of Sri Lanka should be aware of the historic fact that Buddhism was brought to Sri Lanka about 1000 years before the origin of Islam, in the year 247 BCE.  That is about three hundred years before the origin of Christianity.  It is noteworthy that at the time of origin of the Islam religion in the early 7th century (622 CE?). the Sinhala were a highly advanced community. Up to the 7th century, our country has had 97 Sinhela Buddhist kings ruling the island. 

The 1600 year long period from 3rd century BCE to the 13th century CE, is referred to as the Golden era of our motherland, because of the vast overall development seen in the country, economically, socially and spiritually. Evidence of this prosperity is seen even today in the spectacular network of irrigation tanks and canals considered in modern times as engineering marvels, extensive farmland, and numerous Buddhist historic sites some of which have been designated by the UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. All these developments were the work of Sinhala Buddhists and took place in this country, way before Islam was ever known to the world. Besides, this development and prosperity was not attained through plunder, ruthless invasions and atrocities like in the case of communities that professed theistic religions such as Islam and Christianity. It is also noteworthy that this country had some of the greatest of literary works, paintings, sculpture and architecture, and historical chronicles written way before the Quoran and the Bible. The world renowned historic chronicle, laying out the written history fo this nation and of Buddhism in this country – the Mahawamsa was a product of this period.  

All these developments occurred way before the origin or Islam and some of it before the origin of Christianity. Our country was built on the Buddhist foundation for over two thousand years and the national character and identity of our motherland is Sinhela Buddhist. We were hospitable to permit non-indigenous settlers such as Tamils, Muslims and Moors in our motherland, with the expectation that they will integrate with our nation. They have no right whatsoever to seek autonomy or to claim territorial rights. They have no right to impose their religious or cultural norms and laws in our country which has its own characteristic national cultural norms and a well established rule of law. Muslims who live in Sri Lanka have no right to claim religious enclaves or regional autonomy in Sri Lanka. It is highly treacherous and ungrateful of settler communities to undermine the national culture, especially to destroy Sinhala Buddhist cultural sites, monuments and other historic and archeological treasures, and to impose Islamic norms such as the halal-halal stuff on the non-Muslims of Sri Lanka, and to propagate visible Islamic cultural norms in the open, that are damaging to the established visible cultural norms that characterize the of the vast mass of people of this country.       

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane

Ununpardonable blunder

April 24th, 2019

EDWARD GUNAWARDENA Former Director of Intelligence

Going by the media, both print and electronic, there had been overwhelming intelligence on the impending disaster that took away over 300 lives and injured over 500. Perhaps for the first time even intelligence agencies of friendly nations such as MI6, Mossad, FBI and RAW have fed the local counterparts with ‘red hot stuff’ in intelligence parlance. Understandable indeed, with the IS and its affiliated cells becoming a clear and present danger to peaceful democracies.

How is it that intelligence on this calamity that was to cruelly affect the nation as never before in its recent history, was not conveyed to the President and the country?

Intelligence that portends severe damage to the country must necessarily come to the notice of the Secretary/Defence of the President. I say this with authority.

In the late seventies of the last century when I was the Director of Intelligence, it was my report that was discussed by the National Security Council, presided over by the President. In exceptional situations I was able to bypass the Secretary/Defence, meet the President direct and personally brief him.

The failure on the part of the President and the National Security Council to initiate the necessary precautions, and also to alert the nation, is an unpardonable blunder.

Even if intelligence alerts had been ignored, proper police action on the Wanathavilla detection would have prevented the carnage.

The bombshell exposure by Minister Kabir Hashim that the suspects had been released on the request of a ‘Top’ politician is shocking, to say the least.

The ‘Top’ politician, the police that investigated the case, and even Minister Kabir have a lot to answer. The Minister responsible for the release of the suspects is a traitor who has to be taken in to custody and subjected to due process.

Mr. President, even if you get rid of the IGP, please give his successor the liberty to carry out his duties according to the law without political interference.

In any other country, govt. would have resigned – SF Easter Sunday bombings

April 24th, 2019

By Saman Indrajith Courtesy The Island

The entire government would have resigned if a disaster like the Easter Sunday carnage had happened in any other country, but such things would never happen in Sri Lanka, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka told Parliament, yesterday.

Participating in the debate on gazette declaring a state of emergency, Field Marshal Fonseka severely criticised both the government and the Opposition for allowing the deterioration of intelligence services.

He said that soon after the end of the war in 2009, he had proposed to build a national intelligence agency combining all intelligence units and divisions and to make it the best in South Asia. But no such thing had happened. Instead, the intelligence operatives had been used to stalk and surveillance of political enemies and their children, the former Army Commander said.

Fonseka said: “Governments that have been in power during the past 10 years need to take responsibility for this failure. Immediately after the war, the then government used intelligence services as instruments of political revenge. They used them to spy on us and our children. Even the new government did not do what should have been done.

“For example, I still depend on the security vehicle provided to me by the previous government. This government has done nothing to enhance my security though I am critical of terrorists and their activities. It is clear now that the National Security Council and Defence Secretary have neglected their responsibilities.

“As such, no one could escape responsibility for what happened.”

MP Fonsea pointed out that it had taken the LTTE years to mount large scale attacks like those carried out on Easter Sunday. “The LTTE’s terrorism was markedly different as it was an organisation fighting to divide the country. Its motives were political, whereas this group is pursuing a religious agenda.

“Whatever said and done, we are now back in an era where people’s lives are uncertain. We will see security barriers coming up again. Even those with beards will be subjected to more stringent checks. Tourists will stop coming and our economy will suffer. Even if a new government comes to power, it will face the same challenges.”

Fonseka questioned why some Opposition MPs were reportedly sitting in the National Security Council while both the PM and State Defence Minister were excluded. “There are some politicians who knew more about gambling and horses sitting at the National Security Council meetings while those who had the mandate to sit there are not invited. This is the sorry state prevailing with regard to national security today,” the Field Marshal said.

He also criticized the PM and State Defence Minister for not publicly raising the matter of their exclusion prior to the Easter Sunday atrocities. Even they could not escape responsibility for what happened, he added.

“I have nothing personal against the President, but he only returned to the country from Singapore at midnight on the day following Easter Sunday attacks. There were flights from Singapore which landed in Sri Lanka at 3.00pm and 9.00pm that day. Yet, he did not choose to take an earlier flight even after such an incident.”

Fonseka said he regretted that the intelligence reports on the impending attacks were seemingly not given even a fraction of the consideration given to information provided by Namal Kumara.

Mosque Officials Say They Warned Sri Lankan Authorities About Attacks

April 24th, 2019

DOUG MATACONIS ·Courtesy Outside the Beltway

Further evidence that Sri Lankan authorities failed to act on warnings of rising Jihadism in their country.

Officials at a mosque in Sri Lanka where several of the attackers responsible for Sunday’s massacre that resulted in the deaths of more than 300 people say that they warned law enforcement and government officials about some of the attackers involved in Sunday’s attack:

Reyyaz Salley, chairman of the Shaikh Usman Waliyullah mosque, told CNN that he had repeatedly attempted to warn the government about radical preachers in Sri Lanka, including Zahran Hashim, the alleged mastermind of the attacks. 

They started to attack Sufi mosques and shrines (in 2010),” he said. 

In February 2019, Salley sent police and intelligence officials videos that Hashim made, which Salley considered promoting jihad. He urged them to act upon it.

People have been brainwashed. He was talking about jihad. These are all very dangerous messages for the country,” he says.

If the authorities had taken our advice this could have been prevented.”

This news comes in the wake of the reports earlier this week that government officials had at least some warning of the attacks prior to Sunday but failed to act on them. At this time it’s still unclear what level of detail those warnings included so it’s not at all clear if the information the government did have would have been anywhere near sufficient to stop the attacks even if it had been acted upon. Additionally, it’s unclear if the sources of the information that the government had were sufficiently reliable to justify acting on them.

Notwithstanding this, though, the fact that the Sri Lankan government had those warnings in hand prior to the attacks and that it failed to act on that information, combined with the fact that it apparently failed to heed the warnings of Sri Lankan Muslims about the rise of Jihadist rhetoric from members of their own community is likely to lead to many questions about exactly how the government handled the situation and whether they are prepared to deal with what appears to be a growing Jihadist threat in the country.

This news comes at the same time that it is being reported that the group responsible for Sunday’s attacks was apparently planning a second wave of attacks:

A high-level intelligence official in Sri Lanka tells CNN that National Tawheed Jamath (NTJ) was planning a second wave of attacks across Sri Lanka.

NTJ has been named as the perpetrators by the Sri Lankan government, but it has not claimed the attacks.

In a statement published by the ISIS-affiliated news agency Amaq, the terror group said Sunday’s attackers were fighters of the Islamic State,” but its involvement in the attacks has not been proven.

The information was discovered in intelligence operations since Sunday’s explosions, according to the official.

If nothing else, this seems to be an indication that Islamic Jihadism is attempting to make inroads in parts of the Muslim world where, until now, it has not had any serious impact. That poses serious problems not just for Sri Lanka but also for nations such as India and Indonesia which, until now, have largely managed to avoid the rise of Jihadism among their Muslim population.

Sri Lanka’s Muslims Face an Angry Backlash

April 24th, 2019

By Jeffrey Gettleman and Dharisha Bastians Courtesy The New York Times

Muslims seeking safety in a mosque in Negombo after the Easter bombings.

NEGOMBO, Sri Lanka — Auranzeb Zabi was cooking rice at a friend’s house on Wednesday when he heard angry shouting outside, looked out the window and saw a mob of Sri Lankan men carrying iron bars.

A day after the Islamic State claimed responsibility for suicide bombings that killed more than 350 people, Muslims in some areas of Sri Lanka were facing a rising backlash.

The mob surrounded the house. Mr. Zabi, a Pakistani refugee who has lived in Sri Lanka for two years, said he grabbed his two children, dashed into the yard and scampered over two walls before reaching an army checkpoint.

There the mob caught up with him, he said, and delivered a harsh beating, begging the soldiers to let them kill him. Hours later, Mr. Zabi still looked terrified.


When you face 100 people,” he said, and then his voice slipped and he couldn’t finish the sentence. His eyes hardened.Muslims from Negombo being relocated to another town.CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times

Muslims from Negombo being relocated to another town.CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times

They even beat my kids,” he said.

In the town of Negombo, where an attack on a church during Easter services killed more than 100 people, gangs of Christian men moved from house to house, smashing windows, breaking down doors, dragging people into the streets, punching them in the face and then threatening to kill them, dozens of residents said. No deaths were reported, but many Muslims fear it is only a matter of time.

If one of the bombers’ goals in slaughtering hundreds of innocent men, women and children at hotels and churches on Easter Sunday was to stir new religious hatred in Sri Lanka, that may now be happening in some areas.

Despite pleas for calm from religious leaders of all faiths, tensions are rising and fear is traveling across this island nation like a fast-moving shadow. Many Muslims in different parts of the country say they are lying low and avoiding public places.

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Until this week, Sri Lanka didn’t have much history of Christian-Muslim violence. The two faiths are small minorities: The country is about 7 percent Christian, 10 percent Muslim, 13 percent Hindu and 70 percent Buddhist.

Religion was not a driving factor in Sri Lanka’s decades-long civil war, in which ethnic tensions between the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamils nearly tore the country apart.Until this week, Sri Lanka didn’t have much history of Christian-Muslim violence.CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times

During the war years, many Muslim men rose up the ranks of the government’s intelligence services because they were known for their fluency in Sri Lanka’s three major languages — Sinhala, Tamil and English.

But after the civil war ended in 2009, militant Buddhism began to surge. Some observers have said it was as if powerful forces in Sri Lankan politics were looking for a new enemy to fight. Hard-line Buddhist monks targeted churches and mosques, priests and imams, often with the tacit support of the security services.

While Muslims bore the brunt of these attacks, Christians suffered, too, and the two communities were essentially on the same side. But that informal alliance was seriously challenged by Sunday’s attacks, which the authorities say were carried out by Muslim extremists, primarily against Christians.

Many Muslims have tried to help grieving Christians, offering food and friendship, but the outreach has been complicated. Feelings are so raw that one priest told members of a mosque to stay away from the funerals.St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, where terrorists attacked on Easter Sunday.CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times

St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, where terrorists attacked on Easter Sunday.CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times

On Wednesday, as Christian gangs roved their neighborhood, hundreds of Pakistani Muslims including Mr. Farhan and Mr. Zabi, rushed for protection first to a police station and then to a mosque. Soldiers and police officers guarded the mosque gates and checked the identification of any visitors. Still, elders felt uneasy about the location.

By late afternoon a string of buses chugged out of the mosque with every seat filled and people packed in the aisles, instantly relocating an entire community of Muslims to a small town miles away where none had ever lived.

The Pakistani refugees are easy targets. They look different, speak a different language and were already on unsure footing, living in Sri Lanka as guests of the government while refugee agencies sorted out longer-term resettlement plans.

But they are hardly the only Muslims who are frightened.

About two hours away, in the town of Bandaragama, Mohamed Iqbal, a Muslim man as Sri Lankan as anyone else, winced as he looked at his shoe shop.

He had run Shoe Fashion for 15 years and the few hundred dollars it generated each month supported his wife, his three adult sons and two grandchildren. But Shoe Fashion is no more.Easter Sunday Attacks Add a New Dimension to Sri Lanka’s Sectarian TensionsThe deadly attacks on Easter Sunday marked a departure from the country’s sectarian tensions, with a radical Islamist group targeting Christian minorities.

It was gutted by fire the night of the suicide bombings — obviously revenge,” a neighboring shopkeeper said. A rock lay on the ground that had been used to smash the lock and open the roll-top shutter. Inside, it still smelled like char.

Our religious beliefs could not be more different from the Islamic State’s,” said Mr. Iqbal’s son Ifaz. But now everyone is looking at us as if we were the ones who bombed the churches.”

Sri Lanka is a complicated tapestry of ethnicities and religions. Many Muslims said they have gotten used to discrimination operating in the background, even during the peaceful times.

Say you walk into a bank and someone sees your beard,’’ Mr. Ifaz said. They might make you wait, even when they don’t have to.’’

In June 2014, after years of dehumanizing speech by hard-line Buddhist monks, religious bigotry exploded. Mobs of young Buddhist men attacked a Muslim neighborhood in a southern town, burning down houses, killing at least three Muslims and sending fear into just about every Muslim household in Sri Lanka.

Police officers were accused of standing by and sometimes even helping the Buddhist mobs. The Iqbal family wonders if the same is happening again.

On Wednesday, officials played down reports of violence, saying no one had been seriously hurt. The police said they were beefing up security around mosques and in Muslim neighborhoods, and trying to tamp down tensions.

But you know,” Mr. Ifaz said, there was a curfew the night our shop was burned. Maybe the police were there.”

Sri Lanka’s Bloody Legacy: A Country Ravaged by UK-Fueled 26-year Civil War

April 24th, 2019

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The history of Sri Lanka is marred with bloodshed and a 26-year-old civil war caused by British colonial rulers pitting Sinhalese and Tamil against each other. 

Located in the Indian Ocean south of India, the small island country of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka witnessed one of its deadliest attacks in recent history.

On Easter Sunday a series of suicide bombingsclaimed 359 lives. However, the bloodbath is not uncommon in the island which was ravaged by a civil war spanning over two decades and ending in 2009.

The civil war in a country of 21.2 million population, was between majority Sinhalese and minority Tamilians. It was a war for recognition, respect, and basic rights.

To understand the aspects of the civil war, one needs to take a brief look at the country’s history.

HISTORY

Sri Lanka, called Ceylon until 1972, had its own Indigenous population but later people from India started settling in the country.
In 1505 the Portuguese colonized Ceylon when seven warring kingdoms were trying to increase their territory. The Buddhists disliked the Portuguese occupation and welcomed Dutch intervention just to oust the former colonizers.

The Dutch started colonizing in 1638 and by 1660, they controlled the whole island.

During the Napoleonic wars, Britain started colonizing Sri Lanka and in 1815, they were successful in occupying the whole island. In 1833, the island was united under one British administration.

In 1948 Sri Lanka gained its independence and took a path which would later start a civil war.

The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. | Photo: Google Maps

GENESIS OF CONFLICT

After gaining its independence, the Sinhalese started disenfranchising Tamil migrants who were preferred by the British during colonialism.

The British, during its ruling, used only English for official purposes and education which was not widely accessible. A few English language schools were in the north of the country where the majority of inhabitants were Tamilians. Hence they started getting civil service jobs and the Sinhalas were left behind.

After independence, the ruling power was transferred to Sinhalese elites by the UK outgoing power. They started making policies that would marginalize the Tamilians like passing the Sinhala Only Act” in 1956 that would make Sinhala the official language. In 1972  Buddhism was made the official religion. The Tamils are mainly Hindus and Christians.

The repression spread to many sectors including education. It was harder for Tamilians to get a place in university because of the Sinhala Only Act.

Initially, the Tamilians started non-violent protests demanding an independent state for Tamilians. But it soon turned violent after facing brutal repression from the government.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE). | Photo: Reuters

EMERGENCE OF LTTE AND CIVIL WAR

Amid growing tensions, in 1976 Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) was formed under the leadership of Velupillai Prabhakaran. It started campaigning for Tamil homeland mainly in northern and eastern Sri Lanka.

It was an armed movement which had a well-trained army of fighters. They partook in many suicide bombings in the country.

In 1987, India, which has a large number of the Tamil population in the south, sent a peacekeeping force for three years which caused mayhem in the country. The troops were sent to enforce the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord according to which Tamilians were supposed to have some degree of regional autonomy in Tamil areas.

However, India did not take into account LTTE’s demands which led to a full-fledged war between the two.

Soon after the battle, the LTTE assassinated then Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 and the Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1993.

Since then peace talks started being regularly held, ceasefires announced and subsequently breaking of ceasefires.

RELATED:

Sri Lanka Gov’t Says Unknown Islamist Group Behind Attacks, Imposes Curfew

In 2008, the ceasefire was broken for the last time when the government withdrew from the truce and started full-fledged repression of LTTE which also included a witchhunt of Tamilians. Around 40,000 Tamil civilians were killed in the final few weeks of the war.

Finally in 2009, under the administration of the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the army killed Prabhakaran and a few days after that declared victory over LTTE.

As many surviving LTTE cadres surrendered, many more fled to India.

POST CIVIL WAR

The human cost of the 26 years civil war was the death of more than 100,000 civilians, 65,000 missing people, almost 800,000 internally displaced.

In August 2011, the Rajapaksha government allowed the expiry of state emergency laws which had been in place for almost 40 years with small interruptions in between.

Efforts were made to integrate Tamilians in the society but war crimes against Tamilians were never investigated despite outcry by international communities.

Tamils in Sri Lanka protesting against war crimes during the civil war. | Photo: Reuters

The country did not see any bloody violence since the end of civil war even though analyses said many top cadres of LTTE are still alive in self-imposed exiles who might try to regroup and return.

But the country did witness political upheavals recently. Current President Maithripala Sirisena suspended the parliament in 2018 replacing Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa whose increasing hard-line attitude after the war, waned his fame. A ruling by the Constitutional Court re-instated Wickramasinghe as the prime minister.

The island has also been witnessing sweeping anti-Muslim bigotry mainly fed by majority Buddhist nationalists but the country never had a history of Mulsim militants.

On April 21, rupturing 10 years of relative peace on April 21, seven suicide bombers from a militant Islamist organization killed 359 people bringing forth emergency laws and fear psychosis among a population which was still trying to heal from a bloody past.

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Island’s tourism may take a hit, hurting economy badly

April 24th, 2019

Courtesy The Straits Times

Country with already precarious external position may be forced to seek more IMF aid

HONG KONG • Sri Lanka faces a likely collapse of tourism following the Easter Sunday bomb attacks on churches and hotels, which would deal a severe blow to the island’s economy and financial markets, and potentially force it to seek further IMF assistance.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) extended last month a US$1.5 billion (S$2.04 billion) loan for an extra year into 2020, a key step in keeping foreign investors involved in a top-performing frontier debt market this year.

But with growth, and therefore state revenues, now likely to slow significantly, the budget targets agreed with the IMF may have to be reviewed, and the government is expected to resist pressure for any spending cuts before elections expected later this year.

There is even a possibility that more IMF money may be needed if foreign investment falls, adding to the hard currency gap left by plunging tourism receipts.

IMF’s Sri Lanka mission chief Manuela Goretti said on Tuesday that initial financial market pressures on Sri Lanka appeared contained after the horrific attacks.

“Decisive policy and security measures by the authorities will be important, in particular for tourism, which accounts for 5 per cent of GDP, to build on the strong performance of recent years,” she said.

The Sri Lankan stock index dived 2.6 per cent on Tuesday in its first day of trading after the attacks that left more than 300 people dead, while the heavily managed rupee held steady. Tourism is Sri Lanka’s third-largest and fastest-growing source of foreign currency, after remittances and garment exports, accounting for almost US$4.4 billion of gross domestic product last year.

A fall in tourism receipts is bound to weaken the rupee over time.

The central bank, whose coffers are too light to defend the currency through interventions, is likely to have to raise interest rates.

This would choke lending, hurting consumers and the investment plans of local businesses, while also making it more costly for the government to seek funding from foreign investors via bond markets.

Sri Lanka’s external position was already precarious. To help fund a record US$5.9 billion in foreign loans this year, the country successfully sold US$2.4 billion in five-year and 10-year US dollar bonds last month, but that was right after the IMF extension and amid bets of looser monetary policy.

In January, Sri Lanka used its reserves to repay debt worth US$1 billion. It had about US$5 billion left in February, the least since April 2017, and only enough to cover two months of imports and about two-thirds of its short-term external debt. Colombo also needs to finance a current account deficit of about 3 per cent of GDP.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is already facing heavy criticism domestically for higher taxes, and tight monetary and fiscal policies that have crimped growth to a 17-year low.

He has set an ambitious fiscal deficit goal of 4.4 per cent of GDP, compared with 5.3 per cent last year. But he also boosted spending on state employees, pensioners and the armed forces, and promised more funds for rural infrastructure, leading economists to doubt the targets.

A presidential vote is expected later this year, followed by a general election next year.

Blood brothers: the wealthy family behind Sri Lanka’s suicide attacks

April 24th, 2019

COLOMBO (Reuters) – Sri Lankan housewife Fathima Fazla thought of her neighbors in the grand three-storey home across the street as the wealthy celebrities of her humble Colombo suburb. She had no idea how infamous they would become.Security personnel stand guard near St Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, three days after a string of suicide bomb attacks on churches and luxury hotels across the island on Easter Sunday, in Sri Lanka April 24, 2019. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

Two brothers who lived at the white house on Mahawela Gardens have emerged as key players in suicide attacks on Easter Sunday that killed more than 350 people and stunned an island state that had enjoyed a decade of relative peace.

The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the coordinated attacks on three churches and four hotels.

Inshaf Ibrahim, a 33-year-old copper factory owner, detonated his explosive device at the busy breakfast buffet of the luxury Shangri-La hotel, a source close to the family said.

When police went later that day to raid the family home, his younger brother Ilham Ibrahim detonated a bomb that killed him, his wife and the couple’s three children, the source told Reuters, requesting anonymity for fear of reprisals.

They seemed like good people,” Fazla told Reuters from her rundown home opposite the Ibrahim family residence, now cordoned off with crime-scene tape and marshaled by police.

The brothers’ names were also reported in local media. Sri Lankan authorities have not released the identities of any of the bombers, and police did not respond to request for comment.

The brother’s father, Mohamed Ibrahim, was arrested as police investigate those behind the attacks, police said. Ibrahim, a wealthy spice trader and pillar of the business community, had six sons and three daughters. He was admired by many who knew him.

He was famous in the area for helping the poor with food and money. It’s unthinkable his children could have done that,” Fazla said, glancing affectionately at her two young daughters. Because of what they have done, all Muslims are treated as suspects.”

Ilham Ibrahim, 31, openly expressed extremist ideologies and had been involved in meetings of National Thowheed Jamath, a local Islamist group suspected of involvement in planning the attacks, according to the source close to the family.

His entrepreneur brother, Inshaf, was outwardly more moderate in his views, and was known to be generous with donations to his staff and struggling local households, the source said. Inshaf was married to a daughter of a wealthy jewelry manufacturer and he faced no problems with money.

I was shocked. We never thought they were these kind of people,” said Sanjeewa Jayasinghe, a 38-year-old network cabling engineer who works next door to the Ibrahim family home.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-sri-lanka-blasts-bombers/blood-brothers-the-wealthy-family-behind-sri-lankas-suicide-attacks-idUSKCN1S0202?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Reuters%2FworldNews+%28Reuters+World+News%29&&rpc=401

Pregnant wife of Sri Lanka bomber detonates suicide vest, killing children and police

April 24th, 2019

By South Asia correspondent Siobhan Heanue, Middle East correspondent Eric Tlozek and wires Courtesy ABC News

Yellow crime scene tape blocks off a white house as a police man stands and talks on his phone.

PHOTO: A policeman stands outside the family home raided by police after the Sri Lanka terror bombings on Easter Sunday.(ABC News)

The pregnant wife of a Sri Lanka bomber detonated a suicide vest when police raided the affluent family’s home in the wake of the terror attacks, killing her own children.

Key points:

  • Death toll from Sri Lanka suicide bombings stands at 359 killed, 500 injured
  • Two brothers at the centre of the plot were the sons of a wealthy spice merchant
  • Many hotel staff are not turning up to work, scared that their workplaces will be targeted

Another of the suicide bombers behind the deadly string of attacks that killed 359 people and injured 500 on Easter Sunday studied in Australia before returning to settle in Sri Lanka.

Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed studied in the UK before doing postgraduate study in Melbourne.

Sri Lanka’s deputy defence minister Ruwan Wijewardene told a press conference most of the suicide bombers were well educated and from affluent families.

Some had law degrees, and all were Sri Lankan, he added.

A camouflage van is parked in front of a white house, with police in the background with yellow crime scene tape.

PHOTO: A bomb squad vehicle on the street in Sri Lanka following the Easter Sunday terror bombings that claimed more than 300 lives. (ABC News)

‘Blood brothers’

Two brothers at the centre of the plot were the sons of a wealthy spice merchant, and their sprawling white house is one of the most ostentatious in the suburb where they lived.

A picture of broken windows.

PHOTO: When police raided the home of a family believed to be involved in the Sri Lanka terror attacks, a bomb was detonated, killing those inside and shattering windows. (ABC News)

One of them, Inshaf Ibrahim, a copper factory owner in his 30s, is believed to have been the mastermind of the bomb plot.

He detonated his explosive device at the busy breakfast buffet of the luxury Shangri-La hotel, a source close to the family said.

The family’s Colombo home was raided by police shortly afterwards.

Mr Wijewardene said that as police arrived, the pregnant wife of one of the brothers detonated a suicide jacket, killing herself and her two children as well as three police officers.

Sri Lankan police outside a big white house.

PHOTO: Police outside the Ibrahim house, where a pregnant woman detonated a suicide vest, killing herself, her two children, and three police officers. (ABC News: Eric Tlozek)

Ilham Ibrahim openly expressed extremist ideologies and had been involved in meetings of National Thowheed Jamath, a local Islamist group suspected of involvement in planning the attacks, according to the source close to the family.

Who are the National Tawheed Jamaath?

Who are the National Tawheed Jamaath?

Questions are being raised regarding an alleged warning by the Sri Lankan Foreign Intelligence services prior to the attack, and whether enough was done to prevent it.

His entrepreneur brother, Inshaf, was outwardly more moderate in his views, and was known to be generous with donations to his staff and struggling local households, the source said.

He was married to the daughter of a wealthy jewellery manufacturer.

The brothers’ father, Mohamed Ibrahim, was arrested as police investigate those behind the attacks, police said.

Mr Ibrahim, a wealthy spice trader and pillar of the business community, had six sons and three daughters. He was admired by many who knew him.

“He was famous in the area for helping the poor with food and money. It’s unthinkable his children could have done that,” neighbour Fathima Fazla said.

“Because of what they have done, all Muslims are treated as suspects.”

A black garage door is badly dented with yellow crime scene tape in front.

PHOTO: The garage door was badly damaged after a bomb detonation at the Ibrahim house in Dematagoda, Colombo, Sri Lanka. (ABC News)

Muslim community instilled with fear

Sri Lanka’s Muslim community is on edge, with Pakistani Muslim refugees near Negombo — where a church was blown up — boarding buses to escape the threat of retaliation.

Muslims living nearby the family of the two sibling suicide bombers expressed their sorrow that their neighbours were involved in the terror plot.

Yellow flowers in vases and a statue of the Virgin Mary in a window with a streetscape in the background.

PHOTO: A Christian shrine opposite the Dematagoda mosque in Colombo, Sri Lanka. (ABC News: Eric Tlozek)

“Not only for Muslims, the whole community, the whole of Sri Lanka, everybody is our brothers and sisters, everybody who has passed away are our brothers and sisters,” said a woman who identified herself by her first name Taybeh, a Muslim neighbour of the Ibrahim brothers.

“Everybody was worried; we didn’t have proper sleep for three days.

“I have a small brother, he was very afraid, all the kids in the lane, they were very afraid, my small brother — he is not even going to the bathroom by himself.

A large banner reads: 'We condemn the senseless killings of innocent Christians at worship in their Churches'.

PHOTO: A banner condemning extremism outside a mosque in Sri Lanka following the terror suicide bombings that claimed hundreds of lives. (ABC News: Brant Cumming)

“Everyone is thinking, what will happen the next moment?” she said.

“Even when I sleep I don’t know whether I’ll get up the next morning.”

Intelligence failure heightens political tensions

The failure to act on detailed intelligence pointing to the planned attacks has led to feuds at the highest levels of government, with Sri Lankan President Maithrapala Sirisena asking for the country’s defence secretary and police chiefto step down.

A special task force officer speaks with an official outside the Ibrahim home

PHOTO: A special task force officer speaks with an official outside the Ibrahim home, where the Sri Lanka terror bombings were allegedly masterminded. (ABC News: Eric Tlozek)

Mr Wijewardene, the deputy defence minister, said authorities had been investigating Islamic State group infiltration in Sri Lanka for years, keeping a close eye on returned foreign fighters and their families.

“I didn’t know it was going to be scaled up to this,” he said.

Arrests, interrogations and controlled detonations are still continuing around Sri Lanka, with authorities saying they also plan to beef up security around airports and for airlines.

‘She was already dead’

'She was already dead'

Australian man Sudesh Kolonne describes the harrowing moment his wife and 10-year-old daughter were killed in the Sri Lanka terrorism attacks. 

Australian, UK, US and UAE agencies are helping with investigations.

“Within a couple of days, we will have total control,” Mr Wijewardene said.

The attacks have already had a devastating effect on Sri Lanka’s economy, with mass cancellations of bookings at hotels.

The Colombo Shangri-La hotel, which was bombed, has shut until further notice.

Many hotel staff are not turning up to work, scared that their workplaces will be targeted.

The increased security presence around major centres and night time curfews are continuing.

But there is concern whether the funding, as well as the manpower and training to sustain this degree of security, will be available.

But for now, sweeping emergency powers for the military is the new normal.

Warning from Sri Lanka’s bombings

April 24th, 2019

Courtesy The Economic Times

If the Islamic State is active in south Asia, India would definitely be a prime candidate for terror strikes. Indian intelligence agencies have to be on high alert and policing, rigorous. Most importantly, the citizenry must be vigilant, ready to notice suspicious activity, investigate it discreetly and report what does not pass the test of innocence to the authorities. At a broader and generalised level, religious and quasi-religious activity across all faiths must be monitored for signs of radicalisation and voices raised from within communities against radicalism that could lead to violence. Political parties must appreciate their special responsibility in curbing the radical impulse, even when the temptation is strong to feed it for short-term political gain.

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the bomb blasts in Sri Lanka on Easter that killed more than 350 people. While it is unclear if this is mere glory-seeking by the outfit after it has been stripped of territory or a substantive claim, prudence calls for taking the claim seriously, and being on guard. India is said to have supplied intelligence to Sri Lanka about the bombing being planned by an outfit called the National Thowheeth Jama-’ath. Sri Lankan officials have brought into the discussion a splinter group as well. Whatever the precise name of the organisation that planned and executed this horrific massacre, what is striking is the fanaticism of the suicide bombers, who blew themselves up without any personal grievance or direct animosity towards their victims, except for their adherence to a faith other than their own. Such religion-based animosity towards fellow human beings is not the monopoly of the Islamic State, nor new to India — Mohandas Gandhi fell victim to precisely such religion-based hatred.

Community elders, religious heads and political leaders of all hues must wake up to the dangers of breeding religion-based hatred. It can blow up not just some people and buildings but the foundations of our nation itself. Politics must build and protect, not just jostle for power.

First pictures of ‘middle class’ suicide bomber brothers who calmly walked into Sri Lanka’s five star hotels and murdered innocents having breakfast

April 24th, 2019

Courtesy Mail OnLine

  • Wealthy brothers Inshaf and Ilham Ibrahim bombed the luxury Shangri-La and Cinnamon Grand hotels in Sri Lanka’s Easter Sunday terror attack
  • Suicide bomber brothers were the sons of a millionaire spice trader and were privately educated in Colombo
  • Their attacks claimed the lives of at least 41 foreigners, including eight British holidaymakers – three of whom were children
  • As police raided their £1m mansion in an exclusive neighbourhood of Colombo, Ilham’s pregnant wife Fatima blew herself up, killing her three children and three officers
  • Inshaf, a successful businessman, owned a copper factory thought to be where the suicide bombs were made 
  • At least 321 people were murdered in the massacre, 45 of them children, while more than 500 were injured
  • Chilling footage shows Ilham and an accomplice bomber attack the Shangri-La while guests had breakfast 
  • Second clip earlier showed different bomber patting a girl on the head before launching attack on a church 
  • ISIS has claimed responsibility and released footage of the fighters swearing allegiance to the jihadist group

These are the first pictures of the suicide bomber brothers who butchered eight Britons when they blew themselves up in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.

Wealthy brothers Inshaf and Ilham Ibrahim calmly walked into the luxury Shangri-La and Cinnamon Grand hotels and detonated their vests as guests were eating breakfast.

Their attacks claimed the lives of at least 41 foreigners, including eight British holidaymakers – three of whom were children.

Hours later, as police raided their mansion in an exclusive neighbourhood of Colombo, Ilham’s pregnant wife Fatima blew herself up, killing her three children and three officers.   

Inshaf Ibrahim (pictured) was on of the Sri Lanka suicide bombers who attacked the luxury Cinnamon Grand Hotel on Easter Sunday
His brother Ilham Ibrahim (pictured) detonated his suicide vest at the Shangri-La Hotel as guests ate their breakfast

Suicide bomber brothers Inshaf Ibrahim (left) and Ilham Ibrahim (right) calmly walked into the luxury Shangri-La and Cinnamon Grand hotels on Easter Sunday morning and detonated their vests, killing guests having their breakfast

Inshaf (pictured far right at a business awards), 38, lived with his wife and their four children - an eight-year-old daughter and three boys aged six, four and two - in a £1.5million six-bed mansion on one of the most exclusive streets in Colombo

Inshaf (pictured far right at a business awards), 38, lived with his wife and their four children – an eight-year-old daughter and three boys aged six, four and two – in a £1.5million six-bed mansion on one of the most exclusive streets in Colombo

The wealthy brothers - sons of a millionaire spice trader - are two of nine jihadis who carried out the devastating bomb attacks in Sri Lanka. They are believed to be pictured here alongside National Thawheed Jamaath leader Moulvi Zahran Hashim

The wealthy brothers – sons of a millionaire spice trader – are two of nine jihadis who carried out the devastating bomb attacks in Sri Lanka. They are believed to be pictured here alongside National Thawheed Jamaath leader Moulvi Zahran Hashim

Ilham, whose wife Fatima blew herself up when police raided their mansion in an exclusive part of Colombo, is pictured alongside an accomplice bomber entering the second-floor restaurant at the Shangri-La hotel before the deadly attack

Ilham, whose wife Fatima blew herself up when police raided their mansion in an exclusive part of Colombo, is pictured alongside an accomplice bomber entering the second-floor restaurant at the Shangri-La hotel before the deadly attack

It comes as CCTV footage has revealed the moment one of the bomber brothers, Inshaf,  nervously shuffling back and forth before deciding to blow himself up at the Cinnamon Grand hotel.

The footage from a camera in the hotel’s packed Taprobane restaurant shows the bomber hovering just inches away from diners. 

Wearing a light shirt, dark baseball cap and a large backpack, the attacker hesitates – shuffling from foot to foot before detonating his suicide vest at 9.12am. 

Inshaf had reportedly checked into the hotel the previous night using a fake name and claiming to be on a business trip.

Earlier, footage revealed that his brother Ilham and an accomplice bomber took a lift to the restaurant of the five-star Shangri-La hotel before blowing themselves up. 

Wearing backpacks, the two men appear to discuss their plans in the elevator on the second floor in the final moments before the Easter Sunday massacre. 

The bombers then enter the Table One eatery almost unnoticed while hotel guests are having breakfast before he detonates his deadly weapon. 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6955605/First-pictures-Sri-Lankas-middle-class-suicide-bomber-brothers-murdered-innocents.html

One of nine suicide bombers a woman: Minister

April 24th, 2019

Courtesy The Daily Mirror

One of the nine bombers that detonated explosives on Easter Sunday was a woman, State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene has said on Wednesday.

Straits Times said the state minister’s comment came after police confirmed that nine suicide bombers were involved in the blasts and eight have been identified.

It has been revealed that one of the suicide bombers had studied in Britain and Australia, it said.

Hizbullah’s connection to NTJ – Sumanthiran

April 24th, 2019

ANANTH PALAKIDNAR & METHMALIE DISSANAYAKE Courtesy Ceylon Today

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian, President’s Counsel M.A. Sumanthiran said today (24) that Eastern Province Governor M.L.A.M. Hizbullah’s alleged connections to the National Thowheed Jamaath (NTJ) must be investigated along with all connections this group has had with various other politicians and previous defence officials.

Sumanthiran was addressing the Parliament on the Easter Sunday carnage.

He said: The Muslim people, to their credit, have repeatedly complained about these miscreants. Years ago, Muslim groups raised the issue of radicalisation with Government Intelligence officials, and appealed that steps be taken to halt this process. Further, in 2017 itself, they even held a demonstration in Kattankudy and asked that Zahran (suspected Leader of the NTJ) be arrested. I must, in this respect, commend the brave conduct of Minister Kabir Hashim, who has set a great example for all of us. There are many serious questions that are being asked about Hizbullah and his connections to the NTJ. This must be investigated along with all connections this group has had with various other politicians and previous defence officials.”

Meanwhile, TNA Leader R. Sampanthan, speaking in Parliament on the same day, said that there should be an investigation to determine whether there was a foreign link in the recent terror attacks.

He also said that an independent investigation should be carried out to find out why the authorities failed to act to prevent the tragedy when they had all the intelligence information.

Findings of this investigation should be made public because people deserve the truth,” he said.

Another important question is why the terrorists chose Sri Lanka for this attack. Is it that we are divided politically? Is it that we are weak in the economic perspective? We should find out that as well. We should turn this situation around. This Parliament unanimously agreed to pass a new Constitution. We should go forward with that for the sake of our country. We shouldn’t be a divided country. We should be united. For that a new Constitution should be implemented. Then everyone will feel that Sri Lanka is going on a new path. So everyone should commit to achieve that. Otherwise we won’t be able to survive. We should keep to our commitment without any interruption,” he said.

Inspector General of Police transferred 12 SIS officers days prior to Easter attacks – SLPP

April 24th, 2019

RANMINI GUNASEKARA Courtesy Ceylon Today

The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) today (24) claimed that the Inspector General of Police, Pujith Jayasundara, had on 18 April, authorized the transfer of 12 officials attached to the State Intelligence Service (SIS), just days prior to the Easter Sunday attacks which took place on 21 April.

Parliamentarian Rohitha Abeygunawardena revealed this at a press conference held at the Party headquarters.

He also produced supporting documents, on these transfers, purportedly signed by the IGP, containing the names, current status and the transferred divisions of the said SIS officers.

Abeygunawardena further claimed that those Intelligence officers, who were transferred, were those who tipped off the authorities regarding the impending attacks that were set to take place on Easter Sunday.

I didn’t earn the title ‘Field Marshal’ for selling snacks in Galle Face – Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka

April 24th, 2019

Vehemently criticizing both, the Government and the Opposition equally, over the recent terror attacks carried out by Islamic fundamentalists; United National Party (UNP) Parliamentarian, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka today (24) said that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardena cannot escape the responsibility for the tragedy by simply saying that they were not summoned for the meetings of the National Security Council (NSC).

Participating in the special Parliamentary debate on the prevailing terror situation in the country, Fonseka said, I respect the Prime Minister. Nevertheless, if you were not summoned for the NSC meetings, you could have raised that issue in this House. You had six full months and you never said anything about it. Now you cannot escape saying that you were not summoned or informed about this. As the State Minister of Defence, Wijewardena must be at the NSC meetings. What is the point of a State Minister of Defence if he cannot attend such crucial meetings? If he could not do anything about it, he should have resigned from the post.”

Fonseka added, I was given a chance to meet the Prime Minister 48 hours after the terror attack. I did not earn the title Field Marshal for selling snacks in Galle Face. There is no member in this Government who has more knowledge than I have with regard to national security related matters. If there is any such person, I will give this title to him. This Government never uses our knowledge. I do not need any positions. Just utilize the knowledge of people like me to ensure national security.

“Also, I have nothing personal against the President. However, he only returned to the country from Singapore, at midnight on the day following the tragic incidents. There were flights from Singapore which landed in Sri Lanka at 3:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. that day. Yet, he did not choose to take an earlier flight even after such an incident. Is that suitable for a Leader?

All the Governments after 2010 should take responsibility for this terror attack. I think Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa can remember that I proposed to build a national intelligence agency combining all intelligence units and divisions and to make it the best in South Asia soon after the war. But unfortunately, that did not happen. Instead, the intelligence operatives had been used to stalk political enemies and their children and conduct surveillance. Even the new Government did not do what should have been done. Both these Governments allowed intelligence services to deteriorate,” he added.

Furthermore, he noted that the Easter Sunday’s attack was a long planned one.

It took 12 years for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to carry out a suicide attack on the then Defence Minister Ranjan Wijeyaratne. Therefore, these people must have planned the recent attack at least seven to eight years ago. The LTTE’s terrorism was markedly different as it was an organisation fighting to divide the country. Its motives were political, whereas this group is pushing a religious agenda. I regret that the intelligence reports on the recent attack were ignored. It seems that the authorities did not give a fraction of the consideration given to information provided by Operations Director of the Anti Corruption Force, Namal Kumara for them,” he added.

UNICEF says 45 children killed in Easter Day attacks

April 24th, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said Tuesday it is deeply shocked and saddened” by the terrible violence against families including children in churches and hotels on Easter Sunday across Sri Lanka.

The total now is 45 children who died (in the series of blasts in Sri Lanka),” said UNICEF spokesman Christophe Boulierac at a briefing here.

Many are wounded and are now fighting for their lives in intensive care units across the country,” said Boulierac.

UNICEF condemns this violence in the strongest possible terms. No child should experience such a heart-breaking situation, and no parents should lose their child forever under such horrible circumstances,” he said.

According to him, 27 children died and 10 children were injured as a result of the blast that occurred in St Sebastian’s Church in Katuwapitiya, Negombo.

In Batticaloa, 13 children lost their lives, with the youngest victim just 18 months old and five children aged between 7 years and 16 years are receiving treatment in hospital.

Five children of foreign nationality are confirmed to have died, and 20 children have been admitted to hospital in Colombo, four of them in intensive care as a result of the blasts in Colombo.

Many children have lost one or both parents and countless children have witnessed shocking and senseless violence,” said Boulierac.

Some hospitals where children were admitted need essential medical supplies and UNICEF is procuring and providing needed supplies.

UNICEF said children separated from parents need support to identify relatives and connect with their families.

Psycho-social support and counseling are also identified as a significant need, and UNICEF said this week it would provide psycho-social first aid” to children and their families impacted.

UNICEF expressed its deepest sympathy to the victims, families, and communities impacted by the brutal attacks” on the day of one of the biggest celebrations for Christian believers worldwide, in which 310 people have died so far, and more than 500 others injured.

-Agencies

Cardinal urges not to hold church services until further notice

April 24th, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

Archbishop of Sri Lanka Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith has urged not to hold services at Catholic churches until further notice.

The Cardinal stated this during a press conference held today (24) following a discussion with the ambassadors of Muslim-majority countries in Sri Lanka.

He has also urged to work with peace considering the situation prevailing in the country.

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said that all parties should ensure that the Muslim community is not being harassed at this moment.

Complaint lodged against Harin and his father

April 24th, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) has filed a complaint against Minister Harin Fernando and his father over not disclosing information on the Easter Day attacks despite receiving information prior to the attacks.

General Secretary of PHU Upul Wijesekara has lodged this complaint at the Police Headquarters, this morning (24).

He was joined by PHU Propaganda Secretary Attorney at Law Thushara Dissanayake and Public Relations Secretary Upul Konara as well.

Roots of Sri Lanka attacks, and a way forward

April 24th, 2019

By ASOKA BANDARAGE

More than 300 people have died and many more were injured by the barbaric attacks against Christian churches and five-star hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. The government has warned that there are more explosives and militants still out there.”

In the immediate aftermath of the coordinated attacks, local, Indian and Western media raised familiar aspersions against Sinhalese Buddhist extremists for the violence. However, the Sri Lankan government has now confirmed that the attacks were carried out by a local Islamic extremist group, National Thowheeth Jama’ath. While that outfit has denied a role, the international Islamic terrorist group ISIS has claimed responsibility for the horrific suicide bombings.

Earlier this month, Indian intelligence passed on information to Sri Lankan authorities of an imminent terrorist attack. Based on that, Sri Lanka’s police chief sent out a nationwide alert on April 11 warning of attacks on the Indian High Commission and churches. But as Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe admitted after the Sunday attacks, the government failed to take action.

Government and international inaction

Buddhist extremism has been subjected to severe global and local condemnation in recent years. The leader of the Buddhist Bodu Bala Sena, Galboda Ganasara Thero, is now serving a jail sentence. In contrast, despite mounting evidence, little action has been taken against the spread of extremist Wahhabi Islam ideology and violence. The reliance of successive Sri Lankan governments on Muslim votes and Muslim politicians and the economic and political power wielded by Saudi Arabia and other external forces have been major factors in the Sri Lankan government’s failure to curb the spread of radical Islam.

An example is the largest Islamic university in South Asia being built in Batticaloa in the Eastern Province with financial assistance from Saudi Arabia. This project is co-sponsored by the Sri Lanka government and is being built on land taken over by the government under the leadership of a Muslim cabinet minister. Graduating 1,500 students a year who can promote Islamic religious ideology is the objective of this joint project. Many of the militants belonging to groups like the Taliban in Afghanistan too have been educated in Islamic institutions.

Indian intelligence reports confirm that ISIS is using Sri Lanka as an international migration hub. The open-door policy and lax visa regulation in Sri Lanka have permitted the situation. The Eastern Province has become a battleground for extremist gangs and a paradise for Islamic extremism.” One of the churches attacked on Easter Sunday is in Batticaloa. The import of young Muslims from Bangladesh, India and elsewhere to study at the Sharia University in that city could aggravate radicalization and violence.

In a rare act of courage by a Sri Lankan politician, a cabinet minister, Kabir Hashim, revealed after the Easter attacks that he had brought to the president’s attention the existence of the extremist Islamic group quite some time ago. The group allegedly shot Hashim’s secretary in retaliation for his action. Subsequently, in conjunction with their desecration of two Buddha statutes, the police raided a hideout run by the group and arrested two suspects. But according to Hashim, they were released because of the intervention of a powerful politician.” Hashim also claimed that one of the suspects had carried out an attack on the fateful Easter Sunday.

Protecting innocent people is the primary responsibility of the government. Security measures have to be tightened and the spread of radical Islam halted. A functional and effective government that can protect its people has to be elected and dangerous projects like the Sharia University stopped. Peace-loving moderate Muslims in Sri Lanka need to be supported in eschewing extremism and in protecting their historically tolerant and gentle forms of Islam.

In November 2014, in a letter addressed to the United Nations chief, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), the Sri Lankan president and many others, an organization called Peace Loving Moderate Muslims in Sri Lanka (PLMMSL) called on the government to ban without delay” the Thowheeth Jama’ath because it was fast becoming a cancer within Sri Lanka’s Muslim community … preaching and practicing religious intolerance, exerting pressure on other Islamic movements … making the implementation of sharia law above the civil laws of Sri Lanka, forcing females to wear the burka and the construction of many mosques and madrassas in many parts of the country.…”

The PLMMSL letter warned:

It is tragic that the majority of the Muslims who are essentially peace-loving are to pay for the actions of this minority. We fear that these activities of the Thowheeth Jama’ath, if left unchecked by the authorities, would create a situation in which the majority of the Muslims in Sri Lanka, already under threat and harassment from the extremist minority, may have to face the wrath of other religions.”

The concerns and demands of PLMMSL were not heeded. Western countries, the United Nations and the UNHCHR, international non-government organizations, and the international media were all preoccupied with accusations of human-rights violations against Sri Lanka in its armed conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) that ended in 2009, constitutional reform and devolution. Regional and global powers have also been preoccupied with acquiring ports and resources and developing their businesses on the island rather than paying adequate attention to the realities and threats facing the local people.  As such, both the Sri Lankan government and the international community” stand implicated in the Easter Sunday tragedy.

A global threat

The world is exploding with violence that is seemingly religiously based: Baghdad, Amman, Paris, Pittsburgh, Jakarta, Mumbai, Manila, Christchurch, Colombo, Negombo, Batticaloa, and the list goes on. The international community has to take much more principled stances against all forms of ethno-religious extremism and violence without succumbing to political and economic pressures and fears of political incorrectness.” In March, Facebook blocked white nationalist and extremist groups from its platform after the attacks against mosques in New Zealand. It needs also to block the sites of extremist Islamic and other groups. The Facebook page of National Thowheeth Jama’ath is still active.

In order to avoid further religiously based violence, it is necessary to address how an intolerant and aggressive form of Islam is aggravating tensions between religious communities in Sri Lanka and around the world. It is also necessary to understand contemporary political and economic circumstances that provide fertile ground for mobilizing resentment along ethno-religious and other cultural differences.

The success of fundamentalist movements including radical Islam and evangelical Christianity lies not so much in the strength of traditional loyalties as in desperate contemporary social conditions. The simple message of a charismatic leader, the discipline of an authoritarian political movement directed against a cultural other” become attractive to youth whose lives have been thrown into disarray by political and economic forces beyond their control.

What is being called Islamic jihad today is not just the traditional ideology of a triumphant Muslim empire. It is a modern ideology fashioned in reaction to globalization and Western imperialism. The leaders of religious extremism may be fanatical men seeking their own glory and the young zealots awaiting martyrdom may be thoroughly brainwashed. Yet some of the underlying grievances go beyond mere civilizational”differences between the West and Islam.

In the case of militant Islam, the major grievances include Western – specifically US – control of oil, militarization of the Middle East and support for Israel. Indeed, while much of contemporary ethno-religious violence may seem to come from the impoverished global South, the roots of many problems, including the emergence of groups like the Taliban and ISIS, lies in policies of the US and the industrialized North.

The Sri Lankan tragedy is not an isolated one. It is a global human tragedy. To achieve global peace and security, it is necessary to go beyond stereotyping Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, Jews or other groups as simply extremists, terrorists or victims. It is necessary to see the interconnections between the extremist forces of both religious fundamentalism and economic globalization: Jihad vs McWorld.” Ultimately, peace and security come from moving toward a more balanced middle path of human development, in Sri Lanka and the world.

All those who were in charge of the security of the country in between 11th April up to yesterday should take full responsibility for this carnage

April 24th, 2019

Dr. Sudath Gunasekara

All those who were in charge of the security of the country at the top in between 11th April up to yesterday should take full responsibility, for this carnage. Therefore they should unconditionally apologies to the nation and resign immediately from their positions without putting the nation in to greater difficulties.

Dr. Sudath Gunasekara 24.4.2019.

Dear all please read the following two news items carefully and tell the country what you feel about it.

Sources confirmed that a letter signed by Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Priyalal Dasanayake dated April 11 which was widely circulated through social media pertaining to an impending attack, was authentic.

The Secretary of Defense and the Establishment did not deny knowledge of the warnings of an attack.

The letter specifies the suspected perpetrators too.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also confirmed that information was there”. (news item)

The above news item confirms the following things

1 The letter was signed by the DIG on 11th April. This means the warning letter must have reached the IGP’s office on or before the 11th. Therefore the IGP himself must have seen this and probably he may have instructed the DIG to issue the said letter to the parties concerned. Neither the IGP nor the DIG has taken any follow up action until the yesterday’s carnage took its toll.

2 The Secretary of Defense and his office also knew about the pending attack.

3 They also knew the details perpetrators too

4 Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also knew about it.

5 There was enough time to arrest the leader and prevent this disaster

6 No steps have been taken by all these people until the carnage took place killing 2 over 200s and nearly killing another 400 innocent men, women and children and causing billions of loss to the nation

7 They all were sleeping as none of them was concerned about the lives of people or the country at large.

In this backdrop I pose the following questions to the IGP.DIG. Secretary of Defense and the Prime Minister

Why didn’t the IGP request the Secretary to immediately inform the Head of the State about this impending serious disaster and advised him to summon the Security Council immediately to take necessary steps to prevent this disaster?.

Why didn’t the Secretary Defense inform the President as his Minister and ask him to summon a meeting of the National Security Council and take necessary steps to arrest Thowfeed Jamath leader Mohammed Zahran immediately and take all precautions to prevent this colossal disaster.

Why didn’t the Prime Minister inform the President, if he also knew about it, and ask to summon a meeting of the National Security Council and take necessary steps to arrest Thowfeed Jamath leader Mohammed Zahran and prevent the impending disaster.

The 21st incident clearly shows that all these people are together responsible for the carnage and all the damages caused to the nation and none of them is fit to hold their positions any longer as none could be exonerated from this crime. Nor can they plead not guilty either

If the President was kept in the dark why doesn’t the President sack the Secretary Defense, the IGP and the PM and all others responsible for this incident for gross negligence and failing their duties by the people and the country. In the alternative he can get sacked himself by resigning for failing in his prime duty of providing security to the people of the country he is supposed to govern as the Head of the State.

The best thing for others is therefore to resign from their positions before the President is compelled to sack them.

News item two

2 Minister Harin Fernando today tweeted the image of an internal memo and report by the police intelligence of a terror attack to be carried out by an organization called National Thawheed Jamath.

Some intelligence officers were aware of this incidence. Therefore there was a delay in action. What my father heard was also from an intelligence officer. Serious action need to be taken as to why this warning was ignored. I was in Badulla last night,” the minister tweeted..

The letter signed by the DIG and dated on April 11 was addressed to a number of key officials in the security services including the Directors of the Ministerial Security Division (MSD), Former Presidents’ Security Division and the Ambassadors Security Division.

The letter titled Information of an alleged plan attack” said the state intelligence services had received information from a foreign intelligence service to the effect that National Thowheed Jamath Leader Mohammed Zahran was about to launch a suicide bomb attack in Sri Lanka targeting famous catholic churches and the Indian High Commission.

In the letter, the DIG requested the concerned authorities to pay attention to the information and to beef up the security provided to VIP personnel and to the locations.”

If he knew all this including the name of the terrorist organization including the leaders name as well and has tweeted after the event why didn’t he at least tell his Prime Minister and requests him to take necessary steps to prevent this disaster, if he did not want to speak to the President. He too could have prevented this disaster had he divulged the name of the intelligence officer who told his father about it to the authorities.

What a selfish man he is. No wonder the country is gone to such pathetic situation when it is run by useless politicians like this.

All these events show that all these fellows are utterly unconcerned about the lives of people and the country as they are only concerned about their power, positions, perks and their own wellbeing.

This entire pack of unpatriotic self-seeking traitors should be sent home  ASAP before they put the country to an irreversible state.

The whole nation’s curse will be upon them.

Ps

Meanwhile I noticed last evening that Minister Rishard Bdurdheen and Hakeem walked away from a “UNP Cabinet meeting” held at Temple trees presided over by another noted traitor Minister Rajitha Senaratna.

Rishard Badurdeen and Hakeem walked away from the meeting when questioned by the press as to the involvement of Badurdeen’s sister at whose place the Dematagoda incident took place.

Now that a person living in that house has been arrested at Dambulla.  I suspect Badurdeen the never changing Minister of Trade and Commerce in Sri Lanka and Hakeem are also involved in this carnage. Otherwise why did they evade answering the press and left in ahurry?

Also Rajitha Senaratna said that they knew about it 19 days before.

The big question that arises is, if so, why didn’t they take immediate action by informing the Head of the State, unless he had the ulterior motive of putting the blame on President Sirisena. This proposition is confirmed when you look at Senaratna accusing the President for not inviting the PM for Security Council meetings since Oct 26 last year. 

In this backdrop I suspect he also, like Minister Haren Fernando, is trying to put the blame on the President and wash off his hands.

Revelations made by Mawanella MP and Minister Kabir Hasim and Wijedasa Rajapaksa on Asad Sali also have to be taken very seriously. They also should be sacked immediately and handed over to the CID for further action

As such there appears to be much greater ramifications in this canard where even some Cabinet Ministers are directly and indirectly responsible for the 22nd disaster. It appears to be a much wider conspiracy to destabilize the country even with wider international connections.

Therefore I would like to suggest that the President should sack all these Ministers as well and instruct the CID to arrest and question them for sabotage and hatching a conspiracy against the State in the interest of the Security of the nation.

If he is unable to take this course of action, then he should find a way to dissolve the present government which has brought the security of the country to a standstill and allow the people to elect a new patriotic and competent government to replace it in the interest of the Nation and the country.

That Mr. President is the only thing  the whole country expects from you at this moment as they know very well they cannot expect anything more from you on earth, going by the way you have governed or rather miss-governed this country for the past four and half years.

Wijeyadasa calls for immediate arrests of Defence Secretary and IGP

April 24th, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

Parliamentarian Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe has sent a letter to President Maithripala Sirisena calling for immediate arrests of Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando and Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundara.

MP Rajapakshe says that, on 18th November 2016, he had revealed information on these attacks and the extremist Islamic terrorist organizations in connection with it. However, several ministers and parliamentarians had slandered him, considering him a ‘tribal’.

In his letter, the parliamentarian says the IGP and the Defence Secretary have concealed the intelligence information received on this brutal attack from the Head of the state and the Prime Minister.

He has hence urged the President to immediately arrest Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando and IGP Pujith Jayasundara under Section 21 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for committing an offence punishable under Article 296 and Article 297 of the Penal Code.

Sri Lanka Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Condemns multiple terrorist attack.

April 24th, 2019

by A. Abdul Aziz.

In a letter to His Eminence Dr. Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo, the National President of the Sri Lanka Ahmadiyya Muslim Community A,H. Nasir Ahmad states:

On behalf of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Sri Lanka, I express my deepest sympathies and condolences to all those affected by the multiple attacks on churches and hotels in the country on Sunday – 21st April 2019.

Such heinous and utterly inhumane attacks must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. It is a grave tragedy that scores dead and hundredsinjuredwhilst joining together for worship. All people, no matter their faith or belief, have the right to worship peacefully.

Our heartfelt prayers are with the victims of these attacks and all those who have been affected. May the perpetrators of this evil act be promptly brought to justice”.

Buck Stops at the Top – Sri Lanka Easter Massacre Shook the World!

April 24th, 2019

Prof. Hudson McLean

Both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence – FAILED!

The Tragedy, the Unbelievable Loss of Human Life, due to Failure in Communications, now must be given to the Public, the citizens to Judge.

The Sri Lanka Easter Massacre is described as a second 9/11!

The President must immediately Dissolve Parliament to allow the Public to elect a New Government.

Immediately after the destruction of the LTTE by ex-President  H.E. Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Minister of Defence Gothabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka started a period of Peace, alas sans Prosperity.

The culprit was the fool of a General Sarath Fonseka, who tried to bite more tan he could chew.

The current Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe aptly demonstrated beyond any doubt, that he is No Leader, but a Serial Political Failure, as his late father Esmond Wickremesinghe, predicted one night over a Scotch.  Ranil has failed as a Leader. Throw him out!

Sri Lanka now needs a strong Prime Minister to lead the Island.

The country needs resurrection.  

The main revenue generation Tourism has collapsed.  

There will be no revival of tourism with security as a big question.

In order to get the Tourism moving, the Island needs to convince the Tourists, the Human Safety.

Without turning pages, there are two persons who can bring about the safety of Sri Lanka.

Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister.

Gothabhaya Rajapaksa as the President with the Defence Portfolio.

It is the Duty of the Readers of Lanka Web to Express their Opinion, hopefully supporting the two above mentioned candidates.

Express Your Opinion – Read What Others Say!
The Independent Interactive Voice of Sri Lanka on the Internet.

Please visit -: http://www.lankaweb.com/

Sri Lanka President asks Police Chief, Defense Secretary to resign

April 24th, 2019

Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

Colombo, April 24 (newsin.asia) – Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena has asked the country’s police chief, Pujith Jayasundara and Defense Secretary Hemasiri Fernando to resign following severe security lapses over Sunday’s explosions which killed 359 people, sources said.

NATIONAL SECURITY, POLITICS AND THE YAHAPALANAYA IN SRI LANKA

April 23rd, 2019

BY EDWARD THEOPHILUS

National security is the priority in any country and Sri Lanka has been facing for this issue clearly since 1983 and even before it was, but after 1983 security forces identified the significance of national security than any other activity of the country.  Before Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa elected as president of the country, the national security was negotiated with foreigners without knowing importance of national security and no country negotiate with overseas people on national security.  Many people supported to such negotiation due to ignorance and members of the current government supported to such an attempt to neglecting of national security for greedy and selfish motives of money offered by foreign organizations.

After the election of Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa as the president of the country in 2005, the scenario has been entirely changed and he determined to eliminate terrorism in the country and governed the country with a successful plan to overcome security threats. The result of Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa’s strict and authoritative administration was successfully controlled LTTE terrorism and so-called yahapalana advocates, NGOs and failed Marxist political parties united against the Rajapaksa regime in 2015 as they were provided with foreign assistance to defeat the administration of Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa and to establish an environment where it is a fertile ground to grow terrorism in the country. After the yahapala victory in 2015, good intelligence officers and successful leaders of armed forces were prosecuted and put to jail based on fabrication of yahapalana advocates. These examples clearly indicate that neither Mr. Maithripala Sirisena nor yahapalana advocates had good understanding of the national security and politics involved in it.

The environment created under the yahapalana administration was a free ground for growing other potential terrorist groups and many abeyance personnel who secretly associated with international or domestic terrorist movements gained opportunities to enter administrative positions, diplomatic and armed forces in Sri Lanka. Recently experienced that certain foreign diplomats appointed by the government of Sri Lanka were making decisions without listening to the government of Sri Lanka.  These yahapalana advocates attempted to make decisions disregarding the national security of the country. There were several racist conflicts after 2009 and in such conflicts, several members of the current government attempted to blame Sinhala Buddhists without properly investigating the problems and attempted to gain political advantages.   

The nature of all countries in the world is that national security is a not negotiable task and it is free from the politics and nobody can gain political advantages out of national security.  People have seen that after the terrorist crimes in the Easter Sunday in Catholic Churches, Hotels and other places, Mr Mangala Samaraweera attempted to push the responsibility of terrorism to the Rajapaksa family and when the culprit was disclosed to the world, Mr Samaraweera is hiding and looking for safe places to stay. Another minister of the government issued public statements that his father knew about the terrorist activities and he did not attend the church service in the Easter Sunday.  These two misters must resign and beg the pardon of people.  They could have avoided the killing of local and overseas people.

 The most of people suffered from the terrorist attack was poor people, who have no opportunity to go overseas or to have breakfast from the Shangri-La hotel.  One foreign national stated that his family contributed a large sum of money to build a hospital in Rathnapura and his family arrived to see the good work.  Unfortunately, his wife was killed by the bomb blast and a child was injured.

Now, ninety per cent of people in Sri Lanka clearly believe that the current government has no ability to govern the country, where needs an authoritative leader who can give priority for national security and make decisions to secure people.

As a responsible person, the president of Sri Lanka needs resigning from his position and allow to elect suitable person who respect national security and protect people.   

HOSTILITY AND VIOLENCE WITHIN THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY OF SRI LANKA

April 23rd, 2019

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane

Sufism or the Sufi Muslim Ideology

Traditionally, Sufism or the Sufi Muslim ideology had been the predominant Islamic spiritual tradition observed throughout Southern Asia, including Sri Lanka. Sufism is   considered to be the mystical, ascetic branch of Islam which emphasizes personal experience with Allah. Sufis can be members of either the Sunni or Shia divisions of Islam who share most of the basic principles of Islam. These two divisions stemmed from ancient political strife among Muslims.  Of the total global Muslim population,  87-90% are Sunni Muslims and 10-13% are Shia Muslims. Most Shias live in just four countries – Iran, Pakistan, India and Iraq.

Threats to the Dominance of Sufism

Sri Lanka has a long history of Sufism dating back several centuries, although some modern elements have been imported in recent years. During the past five decades the dominance of Sufism has been undermined by the increased presence of other Islam sects. Among them is Tabligh Jamaat, which has been active since the 1950s and has developed a mass following in the last two decades. Initially it avoided explicit political activity and concentrated on encouraging Muslims to engage more actively in religious rituals. It particularly focused on encouraging performance of daily prayers and religious rituals, and also promoted rigid dress codes for its members. It promoted and encouraged a more conservative view of Islam.  

                                                                                                                         Tabligh Jamaat was initially a religious movement founded in India in 1926 as a response to the deteriorating values and negligence of fundamental aspects of Islam which was becoming a threat to Muslims. Subsequently it became a transnational movement with followers in many countries. This ultraorthodox Islamic sect preaches that Muslims should replicate the life of Muhammad and tells them it is their duty to travel across the country converting non-believers to the Islamic faith. It has become common practice for Tabligh members to make regular journeys around the country to propagate the virtues of Islam. Young members are particularly encouraged to do so. This is said to be giving the younger generation of Muslims a chance to mix with other ethnic groups. Although Tabligh was of appeal to different classes of Muslims, its rather simplistic approach to religious belief and antipathy towards political and social action made it less popular among the educated, middle-class Muslims.

Jamaat-i-Islamiya (JI)   

Jamaat-i-Islamiya (JI) became active in Sri Lanka since the 1950s, and gained many adherents during the past fifteen to twenty years. The JI was founded in Pakistan in 1941, starting as an Islamic political party with the objective of establishing an Islamic state, governed by Sharia law. The JI opposes Ideologies such as capitalism, socialism and secularism, and practices such as bank interest and liberalist social mores. In its operations in Sri Lanka, the more intellectual approach of Jamaat-i-Islamiya (JI) generated greater appeal among the more educated middle class Muslims. It largely concentrated on religious orthodoxy and did not openly advocate radical political ideas.

Emerging Trends of Ultraorthodox Islam

According to reports, in Sri Lanka, since the late 1980s there has been a strong growth in ultra-orthodox interpretations of Islam that have provoked conflicts with Muslims who traditionally profess Sufism. There are several emerging trends, with issues of identity and Muslim separatism also coinciding with the influx of some religious ideas from the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and elsewhere. These new trends appear to presage more difficult developments in the future.

Arrival and Expansion of Wahhabism 

Wahhabism as opposed to Sufism, is an ultra conservative branch of Sunni Islam which is dominant in Saudi Arabia. It is a movement that started in the 18th century, in Saudi Arabia, among fundamentalist Islam believers who were promoting a return to the earliest fundamental Islamic teachings of the Quran and Hadith or religious law and moral guidance enunciated by Prophet Mohamed. 

                                                                                                                         After 1973, with the Arab oil embargo resulting in the enrichment of Saudi Arabia, the ultra-fundamentalist Wahhabi sect, dominant in oil-rich Saudi Arabia, began to have impact on Muslims living in other countries. Soon, it began encroaching Sri Lanka and having impact on adherents of the traditional form of Sufi Islam prevalent in Sri Lanka. Wahhabis began establishing itself in Sri Lanka despise the Sufis. They started operating through a movement called Thawheed funded by Saudi Arabian sources. They were instrumental in the establishment of numerous madrasas in Sri Lanka where young Muslims are being subject to various forms of indoctrination and brainwashing in Wahhabism including the jihad approach and Sharia law. During the last few decades, many Sri Lankan Muslims found employment in Saudi Arabia. Also, many young Sri Lankan Muslims were awarded scholarships by Saudi Arabia to study Wahhabism in Saudi universities. Upon their return to Sri Lanka they undertook in an organized manner the propagation of the ideology of Wahhabism. They were instrumental in the establishment of numerous madrasas where young Muslims were subject to various forms of brainwashing in Wahhabism including the jihad approach.  

                                                                                                                         In Arabic, the word jihad translates to mean “struggle”. Persons engaged in jihad are called mujahideen. Jihad is an important religious duty for Muslims. There are two meanings of jihad: an inner spiritual struggle and an outer physical struggle. The “greater jihad” is the inner struggle by a believer to fulfill his religious duties. The ‘halal’-haram- practices are related to this type of struggle. This is a non-violent struggle. The other meaning of Jihad is the physical struggle against the enemies of Islam. This physical struggle can take a violent form or a non-violent form. The proponents of the violent form translate jihad as “holy war”.

Increased Propagation of Wahhabism

With increased funding by the Saudi Arabia with their petro dollars, and other forms of penetration, the Wahhabi followers have increased in Sri Lanka during recent decades. This was clearly evident in the Eastern province. Wahhabis claim that the Sufis or the moderate Sri Lankan Muslims are ignorant of the basic teachings and practices in Islam. They claim to be the real scholars of Islam.

This has led to sectarian clashes among peace loving Sri Lankan Muslims. There appears to be an increasing trend in this unruly behaviour pattern of some sections of the Muslim community, in the East and elsewhere where they predominate. It is a fact that there is a rising trend of Wahhabi Jihadism in Sri Lanka. Wahhabi fundamentalism has advanced so quickly in Sri Lanka partly because the House of Saud has financed the building of many madrasas and Mosques.

                                                                                                                         Scholarships are offered to Muslim youths to go to Wahhabi institutions in Saudi Arabia and Egypt with the condition that those who complete their Wahhabi studies should return to Sri Lanka and propagate Wahhabism. This is happening extensively. Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaida, Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba and other Wahhabi terrorist groups. Saudi Arabia spends 87 billion US dollar per year to spread Wahhabism world-wide.

Wahhabis are trying to take the peaceful Islamic community in Sri Lanka down the path of extremism and violence. The Wahhabis have already created deep divisions in among Sri Lankan Muslims and have formed gangs that intimidate moderate Muslims who speak out against Wahhabi fanatics. Like the Christian fundamentalist groups using NGOs to convert innocent poor families to Christianity, Wahhabis help poor Muslim families by providing cash and other material benefits to convert them to their cult. Wahhabis appear to be using Sri Lankan Government agencies to propagate Wahhabi  activities.

Clashes between Sufis and Wahhabi Muslims

Wahhabism in Sri Lanka is headquartered in Kattankudi is a new politico-religious movement that is sweeping the Eastern province of Sri Lanka with more than sixty Muslim Wahhabi organizations helping in propagating the movement throughout Sri Lanka and has raced ahead and taken control of the Jihadist and Al Fatah groups in Sri Lanka under their wings. Wahhabism is imported and planted in the midst of peace-loving Muslims in Sri Lanka, mostly through the lavish inflow of Saudi money pumped into Sri Lanka has overtaken other Islamic organizations by threats, intimidation and coercion.


Clashes between Sufis and Wahhabi Muslims in Kattankudi and Oddamavadi are regular occurrence. More than 200 homes of Sufi followers were burnt down by Wahhabi Jihadists in Kattankudi during similar clashes occurred in October 2004. One of the Sufi leaders Abdul Payilvan died in Colombo was buried at in Kattankudi the next day. Wahhabi Muslims observed a hartal and demanded the removal of the body from the burial grounds. Wahhabi Muslims claim Kattankudy soil is sacred and bodies belonging to those who preach views contradictory to Wahhabism should not be buried there. Wahhabis demanded that the body of Abdul Payilvan, who is from Maruthamunai in the Ampara district, should be exhumed and buried elsewhere.

Wahhabis had dug up the buried body of another Sufi Muslim from Mosque burial grounds and dumped the body on a local road as an act of protest. Kattankudi Police recovered the body, re-buried it in the original burial ground and guarded burial ground for few days.

                                                                                                                         In Kattankudi, the hatred between Wahhabis and Sufis has widened in the last few years and has grown in intensity, left many injured, and caused damage to several houses and vehicles. Though residing in Sri Lanka illegally, P Jainul Abedin – a powerful Wahhabi preacher from Tamil Nadu – is now leading the Wahhabi Jihadism in Kattankudi. A more recent 2009 clash in the south-western Muslim coastal town of Beruwala reflects similar religious tensions between a popular Sufi sheikh and a nearby Wahhabi congregation.

                                                                                                                         Saudi agents have successfully penetrated Sri Lankan Muslims social fabric and have managed to defeat the Sufism in their game. Due to the training afforded by the House of Saud now the Wahhabis have prevailed over the Sufis. The Muslims in Sri Lanka have been subdued due to the Wahhabi influence.

The House of Saud pretending to be the leaders of the Islam promote their Wahhabi ideology world-wide. The result has been the birth of al-Qaida, Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba and other Wahhabi terrorist groups which are killing Sunni and Shia Muslims alike in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.  All the ‘Islamist’ terror attacks in South Asia including in Mumbai, Afghanistan and Pakistan had the hallmarks of Wahhabism. Wahhabi Jihadists are blinded by faith to believe that they have the mandate of Allah to rid the world of ‘infidels’ and ‘heretics’. Until this Wahhabism is thoroughly discredited, combating Wahhabi terrorism is impossible. Since the Western countries subterfuge to destabilise Sri Lanka, by surreptitiously supporting the LTTE failed, now the Western countries will promote Wahhabi Jihadism to cause strife and trouble to destabilize Sri Lanka. Wahhabi followers – al-Qaida, Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba and other Wahhabi terrorist groups – have caused untold misery in several countries including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Sri Lanka appears to be their next target. Wahhabis have already built several illegal Mosques in Sri Lanka using Saudi Arabia’s petro dollar.

Indoctrination of Younger Generation in Madrasas

Zachary Abuza, in his book titled  Militant Islam in Southeast Asia (Crusible of Terror), highlights the role of Madrasas or exclusively Islamic schools established by Muslim extremists in indoctrinating the younger generation. The author comments that “In their pursuit of the creation of Islamic states, many Southeast Asian jihadis established Islamic schools to indoctrinate, propagate, and recruit. The leaders of many militant groups in Southeast Asia, returned from training in Mid Eastern countries and established madrasas as the base of their operations and recruitment.” These radical Islamic madrasas, with unrestricted material support from foreign Muslim countries, especially Saudi Arabia,  have begun to recruit and brainwash many Muslim children and youth in Islamic Jihadist movement and Islamic fundamentalism. 

Trend of Intolerance and Extreme Forms of Violence

Newspapers have reported a significant influx of Wahhabi preachers and activists from Saudi Arabia and South India during the past three decades in particular. The Saudi Embassy in Sri Lanka, has admitted that certain wealthy Saudi persons are helping various Muslim religious groups in Sri Lanka to put up mosques. The Wahhabi jihad trends have revealed their ambition to control South Asian Islam communities even by means of using violent methods. The traditionalists such as the Sufis of Sri Lanka, appear to be resisting this Saudi initiated Wahhabi- jihad aggression, hostility and violence.                                                                                                                  

It is evident that the traditional practices of Islam of the island’s Sufi Muslim community, are under threat by the Wahhabi group. Sufis are under attack not by adherents of other religions but by their own Muslims brothers. Worship of saints practiced by the Sufi Muslims of Sri Lanka is frowned upon by the Wahhabi group. Owing to increasing threats, many Sufi Muslims appear to be distancing themselves from their traditional practices such as mosque feasts and the worship of saints. Wahhabi groups are violently opposed to these  traditional practices. They are in actual fact promoting the theology endorsed by senior scholars in Saudi Arabia. They claim that  the religious practices of Sufi Muslims are impure, tinged with superstition and mystical rituals and they are determined to make Śrī Lanka’s Muslim community conform to more orthodox strictures and they are will use violence if necessary to achieve their ends.                                                                                                      

The Sufis in the meanwhile has begun a campaign against the Wahhabis appealing to Sri Lanka authorities for an impartial inquiry into Wahhabi activities in the country, to disarm the Wahhabis and to enable the reconstruction of its headquarters in Kattankudy which was destroyed by the Wahhabis and the Sufis affected and displaced to be compensated by the Wahhabis so that they can rebuild their ruined homes and businesses.



Thareekathul Mufliheen Organization of Sufi Muslims

Wahhabi

In late 1980s, the Sufi Muslims formed an organization known as All Ceylon Thareekathul Mufliheen organization defining itself as a peace loving and non-violent Religious Society, where  members are expected to be patient and tolerant even in times of grave injustice and calamity brought about by the Wahhabis. This organization was founded by Sheihul Mufliheen M.S.M. Abdullah, known as Rah,” in the southeastern Sri Lanka village of Maruthamunai.  It was registered as a cultural society with the civil authorities in 1989. The headquarters of Thareekathul Mufliheen is now located in the small eastern coast village of Kattankudy.

This organization maintained that each human being is free to choose a path of faith and that there should not be any compulsion to embrace the views of the organization. This was published in a book in Tamil, in 1980, by the founder of this organization titled  Imanin Unmaiyai Nee Arivaya, or Do You Know the Truth of Iman? – iman referring to Islamic belief. This led to serious problems. A book was translated into English as The Court of Reason, and was published in 2010. The country’s official Council of Islamic Scholars, the All Ceylon Jamiathul Ulama, purportedly without reading the book or holding a hearing to examine it, published a fatwa or religious opinion on September 10, 1989, declaring Abdullah (Rah) and his followers as murtadd or apostates, who renounced Islam, in the judgment of the clerics.

 Abdullah (Rah) the founder of Thareekathul Mufliheen organzation filed a defamation suit against the All Ceylon Jamiathul Ulama in 1990 in Colombo which led the All Ceylon Jamiathul Ulama (ACJU) revoked the fatwa in 1996, and settle the complaint. Besides the fatva, the AUJU also took action to deny the Thareekathul Mufliheen to register marriages and the burial of the dead in conformity with Islamic practice.  However, through legal action these rights were restored.

Thareekathul Mufliheen organzation of the Sufis opened a Meditation” Centre at Kattankudy in 1996.  Wahhabi extremists struck the building setting fire to it. Abdullah (Rah) and the members of the order were targets of shooting and grenade attacks, and other physical aggression, as well as threats. In 2004, many Wahhabis organized under the title Jihad” again set the Meditation” Centre ablaze, destroying its library, along with homes and businesses owned by Sufis. Financial loss to the injured parties was considerable, and one Sufi was shot and killed while another was wounded by gunfire.

In 2005, a protest was filed by the organization, with the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission (HRC) in 2005. The HRC found in favor of the Sufis, stating that their constitutional right to adhere to the belief of their will and choice had been violated. The Meditation Centre and headquarters were rebuilt in 2006. Sheihul Mufliheen M.S.M. Abdullah (Rah)  the founder of the Thareekathul Mufliheen organzation died in December  2006. Wahhabi preachers and the armed Jihad” incited the local clerics and politicians (Jamiathul Ulama Kattankudy, the Muslim Federation of Mosques, and the Urban Council of Kattankudy) to oppose his burial according to Islamic rites, in the Meditation Centre, as he was a supposed apostate.” According to the Wahhabis and their accomplices, apostates” could not be buried in Kattankudy.

The Jihadis, armed with lethal weapons, rioted after the death of Abdullah (Rah), causing widespread social disruption in Kattankudy resulting in a general work stoppage, shutting down of schools, government and private offices, banks and businesses. Some banks and shops were looted and burned in the process. The official clerics of All Ceylon Jamiathul Ulama, Jamiathul Ulama Kattankudy, the Muslim Federation of Mosques, other Islamic organizations, and the Kattankudy Urban Council initiated a judicial argument on December 11, 2006. They denounced Abdullah (Rah) as defying Muslim norms and traditions and charged that Thareekathul Mufliheen organization had failed to seek permission from the authorities for the burial. The petition by the official clerics and Wahhabis was dismissed in 2007. The Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission declared in 2007 that it could not interfere in the disputes between various sects of a religion” and recommended the conflict be referred to the Council of Ulemas – All Ceylon Jamiathul Ulama, or to the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

In December 2006, in a separate controversy, the Urban Council in Kattankudy had ordered the dismantling of the minaret at the Meditation” Centre, as an unauthorized structure.  Although the Police tried to prevent the commencement of the demolition, Wahhabi extremists interfered with the police resulting in shootings and the death of three rioters. A police post and police vehicle were assaulted.  However, subsequently members of the Urban Council joined a Wahhabi mob and invaded the Meditation” Centre and knocked down the minaret, removing the body of Abdullah (Rah), either burning or reburying it in a location yet unknown. The houses of 117 Sufis were leveled by fire. Many were threatened and fled the district.

                                                                                                                              Since then, however, abuses against the Sufis of Kattankudy have continued, with the Wahhabi Thawheed faction in the forefront of violence. Official ulema and the village authorities attempted unsuccessfully to prevent celebration of a Sufi festival in 2008. That year, a Sri Lanka Supreme Court order, providing that 200 members of Thareekathul Mufliheen be allowed to return to their homes in Kattankudy and practice their beliefs in freedom, was obstructed by armed Jihad members. In response to the campaign against it, Thareekathul Mufliheen has appealed to the Sri Lanka authorities for an impartial inquiry into Wahhabi activities in the country; to disarm the Wahhabis; to provide for reconstruction of the headquarters of Thareekathul Mufliheen in Kattankudy; to enforce the revocation of the fatwa issued by the All Ceylon Jamiathul Ulama against Abdullah (Rah) and his disciples, as ordered by the Colombo District Court, and to compensate the displaced Sufis, facilitating restoration of their lost heritage, ruined homes, and businesses. The Sufis of Kattankudy seek peaceful resettlement with honor.”

There is clear evidence of increasing tension and extreme forms of violence between traditional and more fundamentalist Islamic groups in Muslim communities across Sri Lanka. During the latter period of the war with Tamil LTTE terrorists, Muslim Home Guards were recruited by the Sri Lankan government to fight the terrorists. In the East some of these Home Guards deserted with their weapons and joined the Wahhabis rebels to fulfill its demand for Jihad” against traditional Sufi Muslims.

The Beruwala Violence

The most cruel and crude nature of violence   was well evident in the 2009 attack and devastation of the Beruwala Rahuman Masjid Mosque during its annual Buhari feast, which has been a practice in this mosque for over 130 years. A fundamentalist group of Muslim extremists armed with knives, swords and axes stormed the mosque, yelling that all those participating in the feast were infidels who had deviated from the path of Islam. The attackers set fire to the mosque and caused millions of rupees of damage. Two men were brutally hacked to death in the violence. They damaged cars, motor cycles and bicycles, and a special Police team had to be deployed in control the situation. A curfew was imposed in the area and some of the perpetrators were arrested but some had escaped.

In 2009 the Wahhabis vandalized and destroyed a 150-year old shrine located in Ukuwela near Matale. This was associated with violent clashes between Muslim groups.  According to Muslim community leaders and groups this violence contradicts the fundamental teachings of Islam.

Saudi Arabian funding for fundamentalist groups

Sri Lankan Muslims, especially young males found easy employment in Saudi Arabia during the past few decades.  Some were awarded scholarships by Saudi universities. Those who completed their studies returned to Sri Lanka and started to propagate the ideology of Wahhabism. In pursuit of their mission to expand their sphere of influence among Sufi Muslims and others, these Wahhabis resorted to violence and intimidation culminating in death and destruction.

Most Muslim problems in the country at present appear to stem from foreign, particularly Saudi Arabian funding for fundamentalist groups. Also, the young Muslims who have been exposed to Saudi Islamic religious norms and who are being indoctrinated in madrasas and universities in Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and reading Wahhabi texts which are opposed to  traditional practices such as those of Sufi Muslims. What is wrong with this trend is the approach adopted by these extremist groups to propagate and promote their ideology, thinking and practices among the traditional Sufi Muslims of Sri Lanka.

Their approach is unacceptable because it is causing disharmony and violence within the Muslim community. They should be aware of the fact that they are living in a non-Muslim country where Sinhala Buddhists form the mainstream dominant community. The approach to change by the extremist Muslim groups are not compatible with the  social values of the country. 

Harmonious Community Relationships threatened

The traditional Sufi Islam practiced by Muslims in Sri Lanka for centuries, and related lifestyle of Muslims facilitated harmonious relationships with other religions and communities in the country. Maintaining such relationships was necessary for most Muslims who were businessmen dealing with a market consisting mostly of non-Muslims. Owing to their living among Buddhists most Muslims were inevitably influenced by, and learnt to respect the social values of Sinhala Buddhists marked by tolerance and non-violence in particular.  

 It is unlikely that the more fundamentalist Muslim groups and related extremist attitudes and practices that appear to be emerging will help Sri Lankan Muslims to coexist successfully with the island’s other religions, as before. In fact the Wahhabis  do not seem to be able to coexist peacefully with their own Muslim brothers. 

As a nation with a historic cultural tradition that extends to over 2200 years, where freedom, compassion, tolerance and accommodation of people of all faiths and ethnicities have been the founding principles, it is necessary that we as a nation take necessary steps to protect and preserve these noble and wholesome cultural traditions. We cannot allow them to be undermined under any circumstances. It is necessary that all communities living in this country develop respect towards the social values and norms of other communities inhabiting this land and not pursue policies and activities that would jeopardize the quality of life and stability of our nation.

 Dr. Daya Hewapathirane

We Deserve It

April 23rd, 2019

Wimal Senanayake 

Whatever truth that may come into light with the ongoing investigations, one thing for sure is this government is utterly disjointed powerless and headless. Heart is crying for the loss of lives and limbs and as the opposition has rightly pointed out, it is due to the presence of this inept and incompetent bunch at the helm.

The blame game has started towards the officials as a good escape route to disown their own failures as a cohesive government. A big compensation package to the victims though may look very timely but is just another way to hoodwink the public anger.

What is more sad is to come to realize it is the fault of us who brought this Yahapalanaya government into power. What a tragedy being misguided by information, fake or not on personal wealth,Lamborghinis and frauds. Now considering the damage the country will incur by various sorts of damages, compensations but more importantly by way of the loss of revenue from the tourist industry alone they would become insignificant. The good name and the proud record the country gained from successfully terminating the war is over bringing shame & disrepute in abundance.

Further by delaying the release of the right information to the media of the identity of the perpetrators, it was implied world over the preparators as the country’s majority Buddhists. Government bungling was all over the place. It has to be horses for courses, what is right for the West is not right for us with such internal conflicts at hand. The government should have been clever to know there are elements to bring Buddhists into disrepute.

Only one thing will win the confidence & heart of the nation now whether you like it or not.                   I honestly  request all the country men, irrespective of your colour race or religion, please do your utmost to bring Gota to the President Office at your earliest. Otherwise this country is doomed.

And let me also plead Ahimsa, despite whatever injustice happened to you from the Rajapaksha regime in the past, please think compassionately at the millions of our lives at danger and withdraw your cases or other hurdles you have set about preventing him coming to the office. This is not the time for personal grudges but to be patriotic to your mother country. Hundreds of Christian lives of your faith who died due to this massacre will not go down the drain in vain.

Who is this powerful politician?

April 23rd, 2019

S.Akurugoda

As per the headline news item appeared in The Island  dated 23rd April, Petroleum Resource Development Minister Kabir Hashim has revealed that following some incidents in the Mawanella area, Intelligence had unearthed cache of explosives at Lacktowatta in Wanathawilluwa, Puttalam. During the raid two key suspects were captured. However, due to the intervention of a powerful politician, they had been released and one of them had been involved in Sunday’s attacks, the Minister said.

The powerful politician who could interfere with an investigation carried by police should definitely be one of the politicians attached to the current Ranil-Sirisena administration. The release of the captured suspects has caused a serious disaster and hence the citizens of the country have a right to know who this powerful politician is and what his interests are with those criminals?

As The Island editorial  ‘ Kabir’s bombshell‘ quite rightly suggested, a high-level probe should be conducted into the very serious allegation made by a  Minister of the same ruling clan and name the politician who intervened to secure the release of the two high-profile suspects from police custody.  Action must be taken to arrest him immediately to prevent interference with the current investigation and further loss of lives of innocent people.

2019 අප්‍රේල් මස 23 වෙනි බඳාදා, විපක්‍ෂ නායක මහින්ද රාජපක්‍ෂ මහතා පාස්කු ඉරිදා ත්‍රස්තවාදී ප්‍රහාරය ගැන පාර්ලිමේන්තුවේදී කළ විශේෂ ප්‍රකාශය.

April 23rd, 2019

මාධ්‍ය නිවේදනය

ගරු කතානායකතුමනි,

මේ ගරු සභාව අද විශේෂ රැස්වීමක් පවත්වන්නේ පසුගිය  ඉරිදා සිදුවුණු බෝම්බ ප්‍රහාරයන්වලින් පස්සෙ, රටේ අනාගතය ගැන සාකච්ඡා කරන්න. මේ වන විට 300 කට අධික පිරිසක් ඒ ප්‍රහාරයන් වලින් මිය ගිහින් තවත් 500 ක් පමණ තුවාල ලබලා තියෙනවා. මම මේ අවස්ථාවේදී නැවත වතාවක්  ඒ මිය ගිය පිරිස වෙනුවෙන් ඔවුන්ගේ ඥාතීන්ට මාගේ බලවත්  ශෝකය ප්‍රකාශ කර සිටින අතර, තුවාල වූ අයට ඉක්මන් සුවය ප්‍රාර්ථනා කර සිටිනවා.

අවුරුදු 30ක් පුරා පැවති දරුණු යුද්ධය  2009 මැයි 19 වන දා අවසන් කෙරුවහම  අපි කවුරුත් හිතුවේ මෙවැනි සිද්ධීන් නැවතත් දකින්න ලැබෙන්නේ නැති වේවි කියලයි.  ඒ යුද්ධය අවසන් වීමේ 10 වන සංවත්සරය අපි සමරන්න හිටියෙ ලබන මාසේ. නමුත් ඒ අවුරුදු 30 ක යුද්ධයේදී වත් සිවිල් වැසියන් ඉලක්ක කරගෙන ත්‍රස්තවාදීන් කරපු කිසිදු සැලසුම් සහගත තනි ප්‍රහාරයකදී මේ තරම් දරුණු ව්‍යසනයක් සිද්ධ වුණේ නෑ. කොටි සංවිධානයත් එකවර ස්ථාන කිහිපයකදී බෝම්බ පුපුරවලා තියෙනවා නමුත් ඒවායින් මේ තරම් විනාශයක් කරන්න ඔවුන්ටවත් බැරි වුණා. විචාරකයෝ පෙන්නලා දෙන ආකාරයට මේක තමයි සිවිල් වැසියන් ඉලක්ක කරගෙන දකුණු ආසියාවේ සිදුවුණු දරුණුම ත්‍රස්තවාදී ප්‍රහාරය. 2008 මුම්බායි ප්‍රහාරයේදීවත් මේ තරම් මරණ ගණනක් සිදු වුණේ නෑ.

මේ තරම් දරුණු ආකාරයට ත්‍රස්තවාදය නැවතත් මේ රටේ හිස එසෙවුයේ කොහොමද කියලා මේ ගරු සභාව සලකල බලන්න ඕන. 2005 නොවැම්බරයේදී මම මුල්වරට ජනාධිපති හැටියට පත් වෙනකොට මේ රටේ නාමිකව සටන් විරාම ගිවිසුමක් තිබුණා.  නමුත් කොටි සංවිධානය දිනපතාම ආරක්‍ෂක අංශ ඉලක්ක කරගෙන ප්‍රහාර එල්ල කරලා තැන් තැන් වල සෙබළුන් දෙන්න තුන්දෙනා මරනවා. ඔය කාලේ කැබතිගොල්ලෑවේ බස්රථයකට තියපු බෝම්බයක් නිසා සිවිල් වැසියන් විශාල ගණනක් මිය ගියා. මම ගිය ඉරිදා කොළඹ ශාන්ත අන්තෝනි දේවස්ථානයට ගියහම මට මතක් වුණේ කැබතිගොල්ලෑවේ සිද්ධිය. කැබතිගොල්ලෑවේ සිද්ධිය නිසා ඒ ප්‍රදේශයේ සිවිල් වැසියන් ගෙන් දැඩි විරෝධයක් අපේ ආණ්ඩුවට එල්ල වුණා.  

ජනතාවගේ ජීවිත වල සුරක්‍ෂිත බව වත් සහතික කරන්න  බැරි ආණ්ඩුවකින් ජනතාවට වැඩක් නෑ. 2006 ජූලි මාසයේ දී අපි යුද්ධය නැවත ආරම්භ කළේ ඇයි? ඒ කොටි සංවිධානය මාවිල්ආරු සොරොවුව වහලා ඒ පැත්තෙ ගම්මාන විශාල ගණනකට ලැබෙන වතුර ටික කපල දාපු නිසා. මිනිස්සුන්ගේ ජීවත් වීමේ අයිතිය තහවුරු කරල  සාමාන්‍ය ජන ජීවිතය වත් පවත්වාගෙන යෑමට  සුදුසු වතාවරණයක් ඇති කරන එක ආණ්ඩුවක යුතුකමක්. ඒකයි අපි මාවිල් ආරු සිද්ධියෙන් යුද්ධය පටන් අරගෙන මේ රටේ ත්‍රස්තවාදය ඉවර වෙනකන්ම ආපස්සට හැරී නොබැලුවේ.

2015 ජනවාරියේදී මම නව ජනාධිපතිවරයාට බාර දුන්නේ සම්පූර්ණයෙන්ම සුරක්‍ෂිත රටක්. රටේ ජාතික ආරක්‍ෂාවට මොනම ආකාරයකවත් තර්ජනයක් ඇති නොවෙන විදියට අපි බුද්ධි අංශ ශක්තිමත් කරලයි තිබුණෙ. අපේ අසල්වාසී රටවල වගේම වෙනත් ජාත්‍යන්තර බුද්ධි අංශත් එක්ක ඒගොල්ලෝ කිටුට්වෙන්, සහයෝගයෙන් වැඩකළා. ජාතික ආරක්‍ෂාවට තර්ජනයක් තියෙනවයි කිවුවාම අපි ඒ සම්බන්ධයෙන් ක්‍රියාත්මක වුණා. අපේ ආණ්ඩුව යටතේ මේ වගේ දෙයක් සිදු වෙන්න කොහොමත්ම ඉඩක් තිබුණේ නෑ.

පාස්කු ඉරිදා සිද්ධ වුණ ඛේදවාචකයට සම්පූර්ණයෙන්ම වග කියන්න ඕන මේ ආණ්ඩුව. මේ වගේ සිද්ධියක් සිදුවෙයි කියලා පොලීසියෙන් කලින් දැණුම් දීලා තිබුණා. නමුත් ඒ දැණුම් දීමෙන් පස්සෙ ආණ්ඩුවේ අය කළේ මොනවාද? අඩුම ගානේ ඒ ආගමික සිද්ධස්ථාන වල ප්‍රධානීන්ටවත් දැණුම් දුන්නද? කතෝලික පල්ලියේ හා වෙනත් ක්‍රිස්තියානි පල්ලිවල ප්‍රධානීන්ටත් මේ ගැන දැණුම් දීමක් කෙරුවාද? ඒ ස්ථාන වලට විශේෂ ආරක්‍ෂාවක් සැලසුවාද? බලනකොට මේ එකක්වත් කරලා නෑ. ආණ්ඩුවේ අය කළේ තමුන් ඒ වගේ තර්ජනයට ලක් වෙන  ස්ථාන වල නොසිටින්න වගබලා ගන්න එක විතරයි. පාස්කු ඉරිදා වගේ වැදගත් අවස්ථාවක දේව මෙහෙයන් වලට සමාන්‍යයෙන් ආණ්ඩු ප්‍රධානීන්ගේ සහභාගීත්වයක් තියෙනවා. මේ පාර පමණක් එමෙහ කිසිම නියෝජිතයෙක් පල්ලිවල හිටිය බවට පේන්න නැහැ.

ඉරිදා බෝම්බ ප්‍රහාර වලින් පස්සෙ මම ඒ ස්ථාන වලට ගියහම, එක ඇමතිවරයෙක් කිවුවා   විපක්‍ෂය මේ සිද්ධියෙන් දේශපාලන වාසි ලබා ගන්න හදනවයි කියලා. මම ශාන්ත අන්තෝනි දේවස්ථානයට නෙවෙයි, එදා කැබිතිගොල්ලෑවටත් ඔය විදියටම ගියා.  මම මේ කතාකරන්නේ කටින් බතල හිටවපු කෙනෙක් හැටියට නෙවෙයි. ඉවර කරන්න බැහැයි කියපු ත්‍රස්තවාදයක් ඉවර කරපු ආණ්ඩුවකට නායකත්වය දුන් පුද්ගලයෙක් හැටියටයි. මේ ආණ්ඩුව 2015 ජනවාරි මාසයේ බලයට පත්වුණු දවසේ ඉදලා කළේ ඒ යුද්ධය අවසන් කරපු විරෝධාර ආරක්‍ෂක අංශ සාමාජිකයන් හා   බුද්ධි අංශ නිලධාරීන් දඩයම් කරන එකයි. මේ අය පහුගිය අවුරුදු හතරේ අපේ රණවිරුවෝ කී දෙනෙක් හිරේ දැම්මද? හිටපු යුද හමුදාපතිවරු, හිටපු නාවික හමුදාපතිවරු, ගුවන් හමුදාපතිවරු කී සැරයක් C.I.D. එකට ගෙන්නලා ප්‍රශ්න කරලා තියෙනවද?

යුද්ධය කාලේ හිටපු ආරක්‍ෂක ලේකම්වරයා මගේ සහෝදරයෙක් වෙන නිසා ඔහුට දෙන්න පුලුවන් වද සියල්ලම දුන්නා. ඔහුව හිරේ විලංගුවේ දාන්න බැරිවුණේ උසාවියේ මැදිහත් වීම නිසා පමණයි. මම මේ ආණ්ඩුවට කොච්චර කියලා තියෙනවද මේ තියෙන්නෙ රාජපක්‍ෂ වරුන්ගේ  ත්‍රිවිධ හමුදාවක් නෙවෙයි, මේ තියෙන්නේ ශ්‍රී ලංකා ජනරජයේ ත්‍රිවිධ හමුදාව. ශ්‍රී ලංකා ජනරජයේ බුද්ධි අංශ. මොන පක්‍ෂයේ ආණ්ඩුවක් තිබුණත් මේ රටේ ආරක්‍ෂාව තහවුරු කරන්න ඕන මේ පිරිසමයි. ඒක මේ ගොල්ලෝ තේරුම් ගත්තේ නෑ.   

මේ ආණ්ඩුව දැන් දැනගන්න ඕන විදේශීය රටවල් කියන විදියට මේ රට පාලනය කරන්න බෑ කියලා. අපේ රටේ ප්‍රශ්න විසඳගන්න ඕන අපිමයි. විදෙස් රට වලින් එන උපදෙස් අනුව අපේ ත්‍රස්තවාදය වැලැක්වීමේ පනතත් අහෝසි කරන්න මේ ආණ්ඩුව ලෑස්ති වුණා. ඒ පනත අහෝසි කරලා තිබුණනම් අද මොනවද වෙන්නෙ? ලංකාවේ ආණ්ඩුවෙන් තමන්ගේම ආරක්‍ෂක හමුදා සහ බුද්ධි අංශ දඩයම් කරමින් සිටිය නිසා මේ රට ත්‍රස්තවාදීන්ට පහසු ඉලක්කයක් වුණා. ලෝකයේ වෙන මොනම රටක්වත් තමන්ගේම ආරක්‍ෂක හමුදාවලට මේ විදියට හිරිහැර කරලා බෙලහීන කරලා නෑ. මේ වගේ දේවල් ත්‍රස්තවාදීන් නිරීක්‍ෂණය කරලා ඒ අනුව සැලසුම් හදනවා.  

ඉරිදා සිද්ධියෙන් ඇතිවුණේ, නිලධාරීන් එක්කෙනෙක් දෙන්නෙක්ගේ අතපසුවීමකින් නොවෙයි. මට දැන් පේනවා කවුරු හෝ නිලධාරියෙක් බිල්ලට දීලා ආණ්ඩුව අත හෝදගන්න හදනවා. මේ සිද්ධීන් ඇතිවුණේ මේ ආණ්ඩුව 2015 ජනවාරියේ ඉඳලම ගෙන ගිය වැඩපිළිවෙල නිසයි. ඒ නිසා, මේ සිද්ධීන් නිසා ඉල්ලලා අස්වෙනවනම් අස්වෙන්න ඕන ආණ්ඩුවයි. ලංකාවේ බුද්ධි අංශවලට දැඩි දඩයමක් එල්ල වී තිබෙන අවස්ථාවක වුණත් ආරක්‍ෂක අංශ විසින් ඉරිදා වෙන්නට යන ප්‍රහාරය ගැන කළින් තොරතුරු දැනගෙන අවශ්‍ය අනතුරු ඇඟවීම් ඇතැම් තැන් වලට යවලා තිබ්බා. ඒක අපි අගය කරන්න ඕන.  නමුත් එතනින් එහාට මොනවත් වෙලා නෑ. මගේ ආරක්‍ෂක නිලධාරීන්ටත් ඒ අනතුරු හැඟවීම එවලා තිබුණට ඒගොල්ලෝ මාව දැණුවත් කළේ  නෑ ඒ වගේ තර්ජනයක් තිබෙන බව.  

ඒ වගේ දෙයක් ගැන මම කළින් දැනගත්තනම් අනිවාර්යෙන්ම මම කාදිනල් තුමාට ඒ බව දැනුම් දෙනවා. මගේ ගමනුත් මම නවත්වනවා. රටේ ජාතික ආරක්‍ෂාව ගැන කටයුතු කරන ආකාරය ගැන නිලධාරීන්ට උපදෙස් දෙන්න ඕන ආණ්ඩුවෙන්. ඒකට තමයි රටවැසියෝ ආණ්ඩු පත්කරගන්නේ. මේ ආණ්ඩුව‍ මුල ඉඳලම ජාතික ආරක්‍ෂාව ගැන නිලධාරීන්ට යවපු සංඥාව තමයි ඒක නොවැදගත් දෙයක් බව. ඒකයි මේ සේරටම හේතුව.  මේවා එක පාරට සිද්ධවෙච්ච දේවල් නෙවෙයි. මේ මෑතකදී මාවනැල්ලේදී බුදු පිළිම විනාශ කිරීමේ සිද්ධියත්, ඒ ප්‍රදේශයේ  ආණ්ඩුවේ මුස්ලිම් ඇමතිරයෙකුගේ කිට්ටුවන්තයෙකු ඝාතනය කිරීමට තැත් කිරීමත්, පුත්තලමේ පුපුරණ ද්‍රව්‍ය කිලෝග්‍රෑම් 100 ක් පමණ සොයාගැනීමත්, එකට එකක් සම්බන්ධ බව පේනවා.  ඉතින් ඉරිදා ප්‍රහාරය කිසිසේත්ම අනපේක්‍ෂිත ලෙස ඇති වුණාය කියන්න බැහැ. ප්‍රහාරයක් ඇති වෙන්න පුලුවන් කියලා කලින් දැනගෙන ආණ්ඩුව කළේ තමුන්ගේ ආරක්‍ෂාව සලසා ගන්න එක විතරයි.

මේ ත්‍රස්තවාදී ප්‍රහාරය කලින් තිබුණු අවුරුදු 30ක යුද සමයේ සිදුවුණු ප්‍රහාරවලට වඩා සුවිශේෂ මුහුණුවරක් ගන්නවා. එදා හිටපු ත්‍රස්තවාදීන් ලංකාව තුළ විදේශිකයන්ව ඉලක්ක කලේ නෑ. ඒකට හේතුව ඔවුන් ඒ විදේශිකයන්ගේ රටවල්වල ඉදගෙන තමයි ලංකාවේ යුද්ධය කරගෙන යන්න මුදල් හොයා ගත්තෙ. නමුත් දැන් මේ ඇතිවෙලා තියෙන ත්‍රස්තවාදය ලංකාවේ සිවිල් වැසියන් පමණක් නොව විදේශිකයන්වත් කෙලින්ම ඉලක්ක කරන ත්‍රස්තවාදයක්. මේකෙන් සංචාරක ව්‍යාපාරයට විතරක් නෙවෙයි විදෙස් අයෝජනයටත් මරු පහරක් වෙනවා. මේ ත්‍රස්තවාදය ඉතාමත්ම තීරණාත්මක ලෙස පරාජය කරන්න ඕන. 

මම ආණ්ඩුවෙන් ඉල්ලා සිටින්නේ රණවිරුවන්ට විරුද්ධව කරන දඩයම දැන්වත් නවත්වන්න. ඉත්තෑපානේ ධම්මාලංකාර මහා නායක හාමුදුරුවන්ගෙත්, මැල්කම් කාදිනල් රංජිත් හිමිපාණන්ගෙත් ප්‍රධානත්වයෙන් රැස්වුණු සර්ව ආගමික සමුළුවනුත් බුද්ධි අංශ දුර්වල කරන එක නතර කරන්නයි කියලා ආණ්ඩුවෙන් ඉල්ලලා තිබුණා. පහුගිය කාලේ අත්අඩංගුවට ගත්ත ආරක්‍ෂක අංශ නිලධාරීන්ට විරුද්ධව බොහෝ විට හරි හමන් සාක්‍ෂියක් තිබිලා නෙවෙයි ඒගොල්ලන්ව  අත්අඩංගුවට අරගෙන තියෙන්නෙ. යහපාලන ආණ්ඩුව සන්තෝස කරන්න           C.I.D. එක ඇතැම් පුද්ගලයන්ට  බලපෑම් කරලා ප්‍රකාශක් ලබා ගන්නවා කාට හෝ විරුද්ධව. ඒ ප්‍රකාශ පාවිච්චි කරලා තමයි රණවිරුවෝ ඇතුළට දාන්නේ. මේ විදියට බලපෑම් කරලා ප්‍රකාශ ලබාගත් සමහර සාක‍්ෂි කරුවන් මහේෂ්ත්‍රාත්වරුන් ඉදිරිපිට විශේෂ ප්‍රකාශ කරලා තියෙනවා       C.I.D. නිලධාරීන් ඔවුන්ගෙන් මේ ප්‍රකාශ ලබා ගත්ත ආකාරය ගැන.  

මේ කැත වැඩේ දැන්වත් නවත්වන්න.  විපක්‍ෂයක් හැටියට අපි ජාතික ආරක්‍ෂාව තහවුරු කරන්න අදාල රජයේ ආයතන වලට සම්පූර්ණ සහයෝගය දෙනවා. මම  මේ අවස්ථාවේදී මහජනතාවගෙනුත් ඉල්ලා සිටිනවා නීතිය අතට ගන්නේ නැතුව, කාටවත් ඇඟිලි දිගු කරන්නැතිව, මේ ප්‍රශ්නය විසදන්න ආරක්‍ෂක අංශ වලට උපරිම සහයෝගය දෙන්න කියලා.  ත්‍රස්තවාදීන්ට ආගමක් දහමක් නැති බව අපි මතක තියා ගන්න ඕනේ. මම මේ අවස්ථාවේදී ජනතාව දැනගතයුතු කාරණා ගණනාවක් ගැන ආණ්ඩුවට ප්‍රශ්න කිහිපයක් යොමු කරන්න කැමතියි. 

  1. ජාතික ඔත්තු සේවයට හා ආරක්‍ෂ කවුන්සිලයට මේ ප්‍රහාරවලට වගකිය යුතු යැයි කියන සංවිධානය ගැන මුලින්ම තොරතුරු ලැබුණේ කවදාද? ඒ ලැබුණු තොරතුරු සම්බන්ධයෙන් ගනු ලැබූ පියවර කවරෙක්ද?
  2. ඔය කියන සංවිධානය ත්‍රස්තවාදයට යොමු වෙලා තිබෙන බවක් ආණ්ඩුවට තොරතුරු ලැබිලා තිබුණද?
  3. වනාතවිල්ලුවේ පුපුරණ ද්‍රව්‍ය කිලෝග්‍රෑම් 100ක් සොයාගැනීම ගැන විමර්ශනය කලේ කවුද?
  4. මේ සම්බන්ධයෙන් හිරබාරයට ගත් සැකකරුවන් කවුද?
  5. එය ආරක්‍ෂක කවුන්සිලයට වාර්ථා කරනු ලැබුවාද? එසේ කරනු ලැබුවේ කවදාද, කවුරුන් විසින්ද?
  6. ඒ ගැන ගත් පියවර මොනවාද? එම සැකකරුවන්ගෙන් කී දෙනෙක් උසාවියට ඉදිරිපත් කරනු ලැබුවාද? කී දෙනෙක් නිදහස් කළාද?
  7. එසේ නිදහස් කරනු ලැබූ සැකකරුන් කිසිවෙකුගේ ඉල්ලීමක් මත නිදහස් කරනු ලැබුවේද? එම ඉල්ලීම කළ පුද්ගලයා කවුද?
  8. අප්‍රේල් මාසය ඇතුළත ජාතික ආරක්‍ෂාවට ඇතිවීමට යන අවදානමක් ගැන බුද්ධි අංශ වාර්ථා තිබුණාද? ඒ බව ආරක්‍ෂක කවුන්සිලයට වාර්ථා වුණාද? ඒ වාර්ථා කිරීම කලේ කවුද, කවදාද? එම ආරක්‍ෂක කවුන්සිල රැස්වීමට පැමිණ සිටියේ කවුද?
  9. මේ ප්‍රහාරයෙන් විදේශීය හස්ථයක් තිබෙන බව තහවුරු වෙලා තියෙනවාද? එසේනම් ඒ විදෙස් පාර්ශවය කවුද?

ස්තුතියි.

The statement made by Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa in Parliament on 23 April 2019 regarding the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks (Translation)

April 23rd, 2019

MEDIA RELEASE – Mahinda Rajapaksa

Hon Speaker,

We are gathered here today, to discuss the future of our country following the bomb attacks that took place on Easter Sunday. More than 300 people were killed and more than 500 people were injured in those attacks. I wish to take this opportunity to once again convey my heartfelt condolences to the families of all those who have lost their lives and to wish those injured a speedy recovery.

After we ended the 30 year war on 19 May 2009, we all thought we had seen the last of such attacks. We were to mark the 10th anniversary of the ending of terrorism next month. Even during that 30 year war, no single attack carried out by the terrorists targeting civilians ever resulted in as much carnage as the Easter Sunday attacks. The LTTE also carried out co-ordinated simultaneous attacks on multiple targets but even they were not able to wreak the same amount of destruction. The Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka is said to be the biggest single terrorist attack targeting civilians ever to take place in South Asia. So many people did not lose their lives even in the Mumbai attacks of 2008.

This House has to look into the circumstances that enabled terrorism to once again raise its head in this country with such virulence. In November 2005, when I became President for the first time, there was a nominal ceasefire in operation. But the LTTE was carrying out attacks on a daily basis and killing two or three armed forces personnel in each attack. During that period a bomb attack on a bus resulted in a large number of civilian deaths.  When I went to St Anthony’s Church last Sunday following the attacks, I was reminded of the Kebithogollewa incident. The people of that area expressed a great deal resentment at our government over the Kebithogollewa incident.

The people have no use for a government that cannot assure them of the safety of their lives. In July 2006, we recommenced the war because the LTTE closed the Mavilaru anicut and blocked the water supply to a large number of villages in that area. It is the duty of the government to at the very minimum, to uphold the right of the people to live and to create an environment where they will be able to go about their day to day lives. That is why we never looked back after recommencing the war following the Mavilaru incident.

In January 2015, I handed over a completely secure and peaceful country to the new President. We had strengthened the intelligence services so that there would be absolutely no threat to the national security of the country. Our intelligence services worked closely with other intelligence services of neighbouring countries and other international intelligence services to ensure the security of the country. Whenever we got wind of a threat to national security, we acted on it. The Easter Sunday attacks would never have taken place under our government.

The present government is squarely responsible for the terrorist attacks that took place last Sunday. The police had issued early warnings of an impending attack.  However what action did the government take with regard to those warnings? They never informed the Church leaders about those warnings and neither did they provide extra security to the possible targets. All that the leaders of the present government did was to ensure that they themselves were nowhere near a possible target. On important occasion such as Easter, representatives of the government usually attend Mass, but this time there were no such representatives in the Churches.

When I went to the scenes of the attacks on Sunday, one government minister said that the opposition is trying to make political capital of the situation. I must remind them that I also visited Kebithigollewa in the same way in 2006. I am not speaking here as someone spewing forth empty words but as the individual who gave leadership to the government that defeated the terrorists that no one thought could ever be defeated.   From the moment this government came into power in January 2015, they have been persecuting the members of the armed forces and the intelligence services that ended that war.  How many of our armed forces personnel have they jailed over the past four years? How many times have they hauled former army commanders and commanders of the navy and airforce to the CID to be questioned?

Our war time defence secretary was relentlessly persecuted because he was my brother. They were not able to imprison him due to the intervention of the courts.

I have told this government on many occasions that this is not the armed forces of the Rajapaksas but the armed forces and intelligence services of the Republic of Sri Lanka. Regardless of which political party is in power, it is they who will have to ensure the security of the nation. This government never understood the point. Due to the political leadership that we gave them, our armed froces were able to win the war that was deemed unwinnable.

The armed forces personnel who carried out their duties on behalf of the nation were harassed and hunted down by this government. The government should at least now realise that you cannot run this country according to the dictates coming from foreign countries. We have to solve our own problems. The government was preparing to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act on the instructions of their foreign masters. If that Act had been repealed, what kind of a position would we be in today? Because the government was engaged in relenetlessly persecuting its own armed forces, we became an easy target for terrorists. No other country in the world has persecuted and weakened their own armed forces and intelligence services in this manner. Terrorists observe these things and plan accordingly.

The Sunday attacks did not take place due to the negligence of one or two officials.  We can now see that the government is preparing to sacrifice some official and wash their hands of the matter. This incident occurred because of the conduct of this government from the time they came into power in January 2015. If anyone is to resign over these incidents, it should be the government. Despite the persecution that the intelligence services had been subject to, they did obtain prior intelligence relating to this attack and conveyed the information to certain quarters. But nothing happened thereafter.  That warning had been sent to my security officers as well, but they did not keep me informed about the threat.

If I had known that there was an imminent threat of this nature, I would have immediately informed His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith and also curtailed my own movements. Instructing officials on the manner in which they should conduct themselves in relation to matters involving national security, is the task of the government. That is what people elect governments for. The signal sent by this government to officials at all levels is that national security is not important.That is the reason for all this mayhem.  These incidents did not occur without warning. The recent destruction of Buddha statues in Mawanella, the attempt on the life of a close supporter of a Muslim Minister from that area, the discovery of over 100 kilos of explosives from Puttlam, are all connected. So this attack did not just come from the blues. Having received information that an attack can take place, all that the government did was to ensure that they themselves were safe. 

This terrorist attck is very different to similar attacks that took place during the 30 year war. The terrorists of that time did not target foreigners because they had people living in those countries and funding the terrorist campaign in Sri Lanka. But this new terrorism targets locals as well as foreigners. That strikes a death blow not only to the tourist industry but to foreign investment as well. This terrorism has to be conclusively defeated.  I request the government to halt the persecution of the armed forces at least now. The Council of Religions headed by the Ven. Ittepane Dammalankara Mahanayake Thera and His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith has also called upon the government to desist from weakening the intelligence services further.    

The arrests of armed forces and intelligence services personnel that took place after this government came into power was very often not based on solid evidence. In order to please the yahapalana government the CID obtains statements from certain people using various stratagems and then uses these statements to arrest members of the armed forces and intelligence services. Some of these so called witnesses have made special statements to Magistrates explaining how the CID obtained statements from them implicating various people. Stop this filthy practice at least now.

As the opposition, we will extend our fullest cooperation to the law enforcements authorities and the armed forces to ensure national security. I request the people not to take the law into their own hands and to extend their fullest cooperation to the law enforcement authorities and the armed forces to solve this problem. We must remember that terrorists have no religion. The public needs more information about some matters and I would like to address the following questions to the government.

  1. When did the SIS and the Security Concil first get to know of the organisation that is said to be behind these attacks?
  2. According to the information available to the government, since when has this organization taken to terrorism?
  3. What action was taken in respect of these reports?
  4. Who investigated the Wanathaviluawa incident where over 100 kilos of explosives were found?
  5. Who were the suspects arrested in this regard? Was this brought to the notice of the Security Council? If so when and by whom? What action was taken in this regard?
  6. How many persons were arrested in this regard? Who were they? How many of them sere produced in courts?  How many were released?
  7. Were any of these suspects released at the request of any person? If so who was the person who made such a request?
  8. Was there an intelligence report of a threat to national security in the month of April? Was this brought to the notice of the Security Council? If so, when and by whom? Who attended the security council on that day?
  9. Has the involvement of a foreign party in these attacks been established? If so what is the foreign party involved?

Thank you.

පාස්කු ඉරිදා සිදුවූ ත්‍රස්ත ප්‍රහාරය හෙලාදැකීම

April 23rd, 2019

මාධ්‍ය ප්‍රකාශය Federation of University Teachers’ Associations

2019 පාස්කු ඉරිදාව අප රට මුහුණ දුන් තවත් ව්‍යවසනකාරී දිනයක් ලෙස බොහෝ කාලයක් යනතුරු අප මතකයේ පවතිනු ඇත. යුද්ධය නිමාවී දස වසරකට ආසන්න කාලයක් ගිය තැන අප පසු වුයේ බෝම්බ පිපිරීම් සහ මහා පරිමාන ව්‍යවසනයන් තවදුරටත් අතීතයට අයත් වූ සිදුවීම් ලෙස සිතන ශුභවාදී මානසිකත්වයකිනි. ගැටළු තිබු බව සැබෑවකි. බොහෝ  දේ මිට වඩා හොදින් කල හැකිවද තිබුණි. සංහිදියාව, සාධාරණත්වය හා සාමය වෙනුවෙන් බොහෝ කටයුතු ඉටුවිය යුතුව ද තිබුණි. එහෙත් අප විශ්වාස කළේ වඩාත්ම අදුරු යුගය ගෙවී ගොස් ඇති බවයි. එසේ වුවද පාස්කු ඉරුදින සිදුවීම් අපගේ මෙම සාපේක්ෂ ලෙස ශුභවාදී අදහස් අභියෝගයට ලක්කර ඇත.

විශ්වවිද්‍යල ආචාර්යවරුන් ලෙස අප අපගේ සහෝදර ජනතාවගෙන් ඉල්ලා සිටින්නේ පාස්කු ඉරිදා සිදුවීම් වලට අප කවුරුද යන්න නිර්වචනය කිරීමට ඉඩ නොදෙන ලෙසයි. අප නිසැකවම මීට වඩා යහපත් පිරිසක් වන අතර අප අනාගතයේදී මීට වඩා යහපත් විය යුතුය. පළමුකොට පාස්කු ඉරිදාවේ විපතට පත්වූවන්ට ද, ඔවුන්ගේ පවුල්වල සාමාජිකයින්ට ද, ඔවුන් අයත් ජන ප්‍රජාවට ද, එමෙන්ම අපගේ අසල්වැසියන්ට ද සහ මුළු මහත් පුරවැසියන්ට ද අපගේ සහෝදරතත්වයේ හස්තය දිගුකරමු. මේ ඛේදනීය අවස්ථාවේ එකිනෙකා  සැනසීමට ද එකිනෙකාට උදව් කිරීමට ද කළහැකි දේ කරමු.  ජාතික ලේ බැංකුව ඉදිරිපිට වූ දිගු පෝලිම් පනවා දුන් පරිදි හා මිට පෙර බොහෝ අවස්ථාවන් හිදී පෙන්වා දුන් පරිදි අර්බුධකාරී සහ ඛේදනීය අවස්ථාවල පෙරට ඒමේ විශිෂ්ඨ ගති ස්වභාවයත් අප සතුව ඇත. වෛරයේ, බෙදීමේ හා වාර්ගවාදයේ පුහුකතා වෙතට අප එකිනෙකා  වෙන්කිරීමට ඉඩ නොතබමු.

අපගේ නායකත්වයෙන් අප දැඩිලෙස  ඉල්ලා සිටින්නේ පටු දේශපාලනික බෙදීම් පසෙකලා සැබෑ රාජතාන්ත්‍රිකභාවයකින් යුතුව කටයුතු කරන ලෙසය. දේශපාලන නායකත්වයේ ඇනකොටාගැනීම් හා බල අරගල හමුවේ අප ඇති තරම පීඩා විද ඇත්තෙමු. ඇත්තෙන්ම මෙම ඇනකොටාගැනීම් හා බල අරගල අප රටෙහි ජනයා මුහුණදුන් විදවීම් වැඩි ප්‍රමාණයක මූලහේතුවයි. මෙම ඛේදජනක අවස්ථාවෙන් පටු අරමුණු මුදුන්පමුණුවා ගැනීමට වෑයම් නොකොට විපතට පත් ජනතාවට සහන සැලසීමට සහ ජනතාවට සත්‍ය හෙළි කිරීමට කටයුතු කරන මෙන් අපි බල කර සිටිමු. මෙම ඛේදජනක සිදුවීම අභිබවනය කොට ඉදිරියට යාම සඳහා බොහෝ දේ කල යුතුය. මේ මොහොතේ අප නායකයින් පෙනී සිටිය යුත්තේ ඒ වෙනුවෙන් සහ එයට පමණක්ම විය යුතුය. විශ්වවිද්‍යාල ප්‍රජාව වශයෙන් අප සියලු සිසුන්, ආචාර්යවරුන්, අනධ්‍යන කාර්ය මණ්ඩලයෙන් සහ පරිපාලකයින්ගෙන් ඉල්ලා සිටින්නේ මේ මොහොතේ එකට එක්ව හිංසනයට සහ අන්තවාදයට එරෙහිව විශ්වවිද්‍යාල තුල සහ ඉන් පිටත එකමුතුව නැගීසිටින ලෙසයි.

පාස්කු ඉරු දින ප්‍රහාරයෙන් දිවි අහිමි වූවන්ට අපගේ සාතිශය සංවේගය පලකරන අතර තුවාල ලැබුවන්ට ඉක්මන් සුවය ප්‍රාර්ථනා කරමු. එසේම මේ අසීරු අවස්ථාවෙහි අප වෙනුවන් කැපවී කටයුතු කරන වෛද්‍ය සහ ආරක්ෂක අංශ වෙත අපගේ සහයෝගාත්මක කෘතවේදීත්වය පළකර සිටිමු.

රොහාන් ලක්සිරි ලේකම්/FUTA  
මහාචාර්ය රොහාන් ප්‍රනාන්දු සභාපති/FUTA  

 

Condemning the Terrorist Attack on Easter Sunday

April 23rd, 2019

Media Statement Federation of University Teachers’ Associations

Easter Sunday of 2019 is destined to be yet another day of devastation that our country will have to remember in the years to come. As we approach 10 years living in a country that is not at war with itself, we were hopeful that we had put the days of mass destruction, bomb blasts and explosions, behind us for good. Yes, there were problems; yes, there was much we could do better; yes, there was lot more work needed for ensuring reconciliation, justice and peace, but we did believe that the worst was behind us. The tragic events of yesterday, have proved otherwise.

As university teachers, we appeal to our fellow citizens, not to let the incidents of yesterday define who we are. We can be better than this and we will be better than this. Let us reach out first and foremost to the victims of yesterday, their families and communities and to our neighbours and all our fellow citizens. Let us come together in our moment of grief and do what we can to comfort and support each other. As the long lines at the National Blood Bank showed yesterday, and on numerous occasions before, we are more than capable of coming together in times of crisis and tragedy. Let us not allow the rhetoric of hatred, division and communalism to keep us apart.

We appeal strongly to our leaders to rise above petty political divisions, and to demonstrate genuine statesmanship. We have suffered too long because of the squabbles and power struggles of our leaders. Indeed, power struggles and pettiness of the political leadership in this country is responsible for much of the suffering of our people. We urge you not to use the tragic events of yesterday for political advantages but rather to reveal the truth to the people and to ensure that victims and their families are supported. There is much work to be done to recover and move forward from this tragedy and that and nothing else, should be the priority for our leaders. As the university community, we appeal to all students, teachers, non-academic staff and administrators to come together and stand against violence and extremism in all its forms within and outside our universities.

We express our sincere condolences to those who lost their lives in the Easter Sunday attacks and extend our best wishes for the speedy recovery of all those who are injured. We also extend our support and appreciation to the medical and security personnel who are working on our behalf during these difficult times.

Rohan Laksiri                          Prof. Rohan Fernando

Secretary/FUTA                     President/FUTA

 “Did Japan contribute to Sri Lanka and India gaining independence from British colonial rule?”

April 23rd, 2019

By Senaka Weeraratna 

Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka (RASSL)

Public Lecture

 Did Japan contribute to Sri Lanka and India gaining independence from British colonial rule?” 

 by

Senaka Weeraratna 

 On

Monday 29th April 2019 at 5.00 p.m.

at the

Gamini Dissanayake Auditorium

No. 96, Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, Colombo 07

ALL ARE WELCOME

Abstract

The time has come to challenge the hype that Sri Lanka won independence from Britain in 1948 exclusively by our own local efforts through an exchange of correspondence and political negotiations without any supportive foreign factor. This British centric – friendly narrative is increasingly unsustainable in the light of new evidence.

Moreover, it is political correctness and tendency to please our former colonial rulers that has prevented an objective appraisal being undertaken taking into account the external factors that contributed substantially towards the gaining of freedom from colonial rule.

It is indisputable that Japan struck the greatest decisive blow ever by any non – white country or non – white people to European power in Asia with the attack on Pearl Harbour.  In about 90 days beginning on December 8, 1941, Japan overran the possessions of Britain, the US and the Netherlands in east and south-east Asia, taking the Philippines, Singapore, Malaya, Hong Kong, the Dutch East Indies; much of Siam and French Indochina and Burma with bewildering swiftness to stand poised at the borders of India by early 1942.

Within less than a decade of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on Dec. 7, 1941, India, Burma and Ceylon were granted independence. At the commencement of the Second World War on Sept. 03, 1939, there was not even an empty promise or hint on the part of Britain to give freedom to its colonies.   We were lucky. Freedom came to Ceylon on a platter. How?

What are the factors that pushed Britain to withdraw hastily from India and in turn discard its control over Burma and Ceylon having lost the Jewel in the British crown?

“රට අරාජික වෙලා. පාලනයක් නැහැ. මේ සිද්ධියේදි අපි සංවේදීව රජයට සහාය ලබා දෙන්න සූදානම්” -හිටපු ජනාධිපති මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ

April 23rd, 2019

මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මහතා අද උදෑසන ‌ශ්‍රී ලංකා ‌පොදුජන ‌පෙරමුණපක්ෂ කාර්යාලයේදී

ඇත්තටම රටේ ආරක්ෂාවක් නැහැ. රට අරාජික වෙලා. පාලනයක් නැහැ. එහෙ මෙහෙ බෝම්බ පුපුරනවා.මේ තත්ත්වය ඉතා ඉක්මනින් වෙනස් කරන්න වෙනවා යි හිටපු ජනාධිපති මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මහතා පැවසීය.
ඒ මහතා මෙසේ පැවුසවේ අද :23*උදේ ශ‍්‍රී ලංකා පොදුජන පෙරමුණ කාර්යාලයේදී මාධ්‍යවේදින් රටේ වත්මන් ආරක්ෂක තත්ත්වය සම්බන්ධයෙන් විමසන අවස්ථාවේදිය.
එහිදී වැඩිදුරටත් මාධ්‍යවේදින් හමුවේ අදහස් දැක්වු ඒ මහතා
මාධ්‍ය – එජාප මන්ත‍්‍රීවරු ජනාධිපතිිවරයාට චෝදනා කරනවා මේ සම්බන්ධයෙන්
මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මහතා – ඒක ඒ අයගේ වැඩක්නේ.
මාධ්‍ය – පොලිස්පතිතුමා ගැන ඔබගේ අදහස
මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මහතා – පොලිස්පතිතුමා වැඩ කරන්නේ රජය කියන විදියටනේ. මේකේ වගකිම රජය භාර ගන්න වෙනවා.
මාධ්‍ය – පොලිස්පතිතුමාටයි වරද පටවන්නේ
මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මහතා – පුද්ගලයෙකුට වරද පටවනවන එක නෙවෙයිි කළ යුතුව තිබෙන්නේ්. ඔහුට දෙන උපදෙස් අනුවනේ කටයුතු කරන්නේ. ඔහුව ආරක්ෂක මණ්ඩලයට මාස ගානක් කැදවලාත් නැහැලූනේ.මේ රජයයි මේකට වගකිව යුතු
මාධ්‍ය- ආරක්ෂක ලේකම්වරයාගේ ප‍්‍රකාශය ගැන මොකද කියන්නේ
මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මහතා – හරිම කණගාටුයි. මම කතාකරලා කිව්වා මේ වගේ ප‍්‍රකාශ කරන්න එපා කියලා.මේ සිද්ධියේදි අපි සංවේදීව රජයට සහාය ලබා දෙන්න සූදානම්. රජය අඩුපාඩු පෙන්වාදිම අපේ වගකීමක්.
මාධ්‍ය – බුද්ධි අංශය ගැන මොකද හිතන්නේ.
මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මහතා – බුද්ධි අංශයේ ක‍්‍රියාත්මක වීම අඩපන කළා. විශේසයෙන් යුද හමුදාවෙයි පලපුරුදු බුද්ධි අංශයක් ක‍්‍රියාත්මක වුනේ. 600ක් විතර හිටියා. නමුත් ඒ අය අද වෙනතුරු පාවිච්චි කළාද. සියලූ බුද්ධි අංශ එකතු වෙලයි එදා තින්දු ගත්තේ. එදා හැම අගහරුවාදාම හිටපු ආරක්ෂක ලේකම් ගෝඨාභය රාජපක්ෂ ඒ අයව කැදෙව්වා. තොරතුරු හුවමාරු කර ගත්තා. අද එවැනි තත්ත්වයක් නැහැ. බුද්ධි අංශය විනාශ කලා. භාගයක් එළියේ. ගෝඨාගේ මිනිස්සු, මහින්ද ගේ මිනිස්සු කියලා ඒ අයව මාරු කළා. දැන් මොකක්ද වෙලා තියෙන්නේ. මේ ගැන අහන්න හොදම කෙනා සරත් පොන්සේකා මහත්තයා. එතුමාගේ යටතෙයි හමුදාව තිබුනේ. හමුදාවේ බුද්ධි අංශය ගැන එතුමාගෙන් ඇහුවොත් කියයි.
මාධ්‍ය – මේ සිද්ධිය නිසා සංචාරක කර්මාන්තය කඩා වැටෙනවා නේද
මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මහතා – අනිවාර්යයෙන්ම. හොටල් ඉලක්ක කිරීමෙන්ම පේනවා ගැහුවේ රටේ ආර්ථිකයට කියලා. කවුද කලේ කියලා තාම කියන්නේ නැහැ. අද වෙනතුරු හමුදාව පාවිච්චා කළාද. බෝම්බයක් පුපුරන කොට හමුදාව ගෙන්වා ගන්නවාට වඩා බුද්ධිමත්ව මෙහි අභ්‍යන්තරයට ගිහින් මේ ගැන හොයන්න.

Sri Lanka Tragedy – Whilst Top Political “Cats” the President & the Prime Minister fight within, the Innocent gets slaughtered.

April 23rd, 2019

Prof. Hudson McLean

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/22/asia/sri-lanka-investigation-easter-attacks/index.html

After over 10 years of Peace & Harmony, in the Island Paradise, sudden blasts killing innocent  Easter Sunday worshippers,  shocked the World.

The well planned, organised, coordinated attack on three Churches and several hotels in different locations, add to the fact, that, the attacks were professionally managed & executed.

It is dangerous to jump into hasty conclusions on the perpetrators, before investigations delve into details.

Furthermore, people should refrain from taking the Law into their own hands, but leave it to the Law Enforcement professionals to deal with it and offer maximum support.

Quite frankly speaking, the retaliation against the Mosque attack was expected, even after the reaction of the New Zealand Prime Minister showed immense empathy and love for those who suffered from the attack.

However, Sri Lankan Buddhists or Hindu or Catholics had nothing to do with the New Zealand Mosque attack, and it is not in the nature of the Sri Lankans to cause such unnecessary pain, death and destruction.

This was a massacre, an un-necessary tragedy on the innocent humans, specially on a Sacred Easter Sunday.

St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo is a Miraculous Shrine visited & revered by All Faiths, Buddhists, Muslim, Hindu, who visit to Pray, Weep, Beg and Contemplate for a Miracle.

I have no doubt that the entire Island of Sri Lanka will now Unite to Rebuild the Miraculous Church of St. Anthony, as a Shrine of All Faiths.

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මොහොමඩ් සහරාන් හෂීම්

April 23rd, 2019

වෛද්‍ය රුවන්  එම් ජයතුංග

මොහොමඩ්  සහරාන් හෂීම් 
නුඹගේ දෙවියන් නොඅදහන 
 මිත්‍යාදෘෂ්ටිකයන් පිරිසක්  
මරාගෙන මැරී යාමට නුඹ සිතුවාද ?

ස්වර්ගයට ගොස්  
කන්‍යාවන් දහසය දෙනෙකුගේ  
පහස ලබමින්  
කිරි සහ මීපැණි  බීමට 
නුඹ සිතා සිටියේද ?    

මධ්‍යකාලීන යුගයේ  
ආගමික අන්තවාදීන් විසින්  
ඔටු සම් වල ලියූ ප්‍රලාප 
ශුද්ධ වූ දේව වාක්‍ය  කියා නුඹ සිතුවාද ?  

මිනිස් බෝම්බයට බිළිවූ  
අහිංසක මිනිසුන් ගේ  ලෙයින් තෙත් වී ගිය  
රත් පැහැවූ පොළව නුඹ දුටුවේද ?  

ඔවුන් ගේ ඥාතීන්  
වියෝග දුකින්  
නඟනා විළාප  
නුඹට නොඇසුනේද ?

“මොහම්ඩ් රජිතා” යන නමට මා කැමතියි-රජිතා බොස්ටන් වලදී කියයි

April 23rd, 2019

චන්ද්‍රසිරි විජයවික්‍රම

COUNTERING TERRORISM

April 23rd, 2019

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane 

The world renowned Israeli Professor Yuval Noah Harari, a historian, philosopher and author of the international bestsellers translated into 50+ languages and sold worldwide  with his book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” (2014) looking deep into our past, his second book  Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow” (2016) considering far-future scenarios, and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century (2018)” zooming-in on the biggest questions the world is faced with at the present moment, commenting on counter terrorism says –

 If we want to fight terrorism effectively we must realise that nothing the terrorists do can defeat us. We are the only ones who can defeat ourselves, if we overreact in a misguided way to terrorist provocations.”  Terrorists function by capturing our imagination, turning our imagination against us, and causing us to overreact”.  In a way, a terrorist is like a fly that tries to destroy a china shop. The fly is so small and weak. It cannot move even a single teacup. So how does a fly destroy a china shop? The fly finds a bull, gets into the ear of the bull and starts buzzing. The bull becomes so enraged that it loses its temper and destroys the china shop. This is what happened in the middle east over the last 15 years”.  

Terrorism today has far greater political effect because people live in a far safer world. This may sound paradoxical, but it isn’t. For terrorism is a psychological weapon used by very weak parties. Terrorists lack the power to conquer countries and cities, so they stage a terrifying spectacle of violence that captures our imagination and turns it against us. By killing hundreds of people, terrorists cause hundreds of millions to fear for their lives, which often leads to overreaction, such as the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. Al-Qaeda could never destroy Iraq by itself. It got into the ear of the United States and the United States went wild and destroyed the middle eastern china shop for Al-Qaeda. This is how terrorism functions. And if you want to fight terrorism you should start with your own imagination.”

The most efficient answer to terrorism will be good intelligence and clandestine action or in other words, covert undercover action, against the networks of money that feed terrorism.

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane                                                                    

Prophetic Advice of Bodu Bala Sena Leader on Islamic Terrorism Ignored

April 23rd, 2019

Dilrook Kannangara

What happened on April 21, 2019 was no accident. It was going to happen based on what happens around the world and in Sri Lanka. Explosives were unearthed, Buddhist shrines were vandalized, hate material were found and even intelligence reports indicated of an impending Islamic terrorist attack. The parliament was told that at least 35 Muslims from Sri Lanka had travelled to Syria to join the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group. Peaceful Syrian Shia government reported recently that at least 36 to 50 ISIS terrorists from Sri Lanka were in Syria. Unfortunately, not all of them died in war. These should have opened the eyes of the incompetent government to the impending doom.

This happened on the exact day of the massacre of Karbala by Wahhabis led by Abdul-Aziz Bin Muhammad in 1802.

Islamic terrorism in Sri Lanka was foretold by the BBS leader Venerable Galabodaaththe Gnanasara Thero. However, instead of taking heed, the government arrested him and condemned to prison. Most Sri Lankans including yours truly were skeptical. Sadly, it costed the lives of over 290 persons, mostly Christians; initiated the destruction of Sri Lanka’s economy due to the collapse of the tourism industry at a desperate time when the nation needs foreign currency to repay loans and attracted worldwide attention. At least 44 foreigners were killed. Even if Sri Lanka fails to take action, their host nations will take action against Islamic terrorists in Sri Lanka. Some terrorist suspects were Indian and Pakistani. However, they have found willing accomplices in Sri Lanka.

Islamic terrorism in Sri Lanka born a few years ago silently attained adulthood with a loud bang on April 21, 2019.

The Easter Sunday Islamic terrorist attack is the worse civilian killing on a day in Sri Lanka’s history. It is also one of the worst terrorist attacks outside Muslim countries.

However, the series of attacks seem testing the waters. Islamic terrorists picked the smallest creed of the country (just 7% of the population) only to test the waters. Subsequent finding of 87 detonators from a Colombo bus stand indicates the full horror of their motives. Until and unless Islamic terrorists in the island are exterminated mercilessly, no one is safe. It must be done resolutely and quickly.

An Indian intelligence agency had warned Sri Lanka police of an impending Islamic terrorist attack on Easter Sunday. The police head publicized it on April 11. However, no action was taken possibly to save the twisted reconciliation model Sri Lanka follows that has weakened the island nation’s security. If the BBS leader was not silenced, he could have taken up the matter on April 11 itself forcing authorities to act.

Sri Lankan government plays word games with the dastardly Islamic terrorist act by not calling it as such. However, world media have reported it already. People must know the nature of this creature. That is to their own safety and for public-military co-operation which is essential to defeat terrorism. The government is stuck for words and action. The least this government must do now is to hold presidential and parliamentary elections soon so that a responsible government can take over and save the lives of innocent people from Satanic Cults.

Sri Lankans in New Zealand express solidarity

April 23rd, 2019

New Zealand Society for Peace, Unity and Human Rights in Sri Lanka (SPUR – NZ)

New Zealand Society for Peace, Unity and Human Rights in Sri Lanka (SPUR – NZ) vehemently condemns the reprehensible and shameful terrorist attack on innocent people attending to their religious activities on Easter Sunday at several locations including holy places of worship in Sri Lanka.

At this moment of national grief, on behalf of all New Zealanders, especially the Community of NZ Citizens of Sri Lankan descent, we wish to offer our heartfelt condolences and extend the arms of solidarity, love and affection to all affected families and relatives.

We strongly believe that the strongest defense against terrorism is a cohesive and inclusive society and strongly appeal to all Sri Lankans to unite together casting away religious, racial and all other differences and confront the threat of evil terrorism as one united nation.

Issued by the Management Committee of SPUR-NZ  on 22 April 2019

Our Sorrow and Condolences to the Victims and Families of the Sri Lanka’s Easter Carnage

April 23rd, 2019

Society for Peace, Unity and Human Rights in Sri Lanka (SPUR) NSW Inc Australia

Our Society expresses its profound and heartfelt sorrow on the senseless killing of innocents in Sri Lanka. Our thoughts are with the families and persons affected by the deaths, grievous injury and destruction of property by terrorists who have caused fear and terror in the people of Sri Lanka and to the visitors to the island.

We give our condolences to the Christians who had been targetted on their Holiest Day of Easter Sunday whilst at prayer with sacred thoughts and goodwill at heart. This is a heinous crime our Society condemns unreservedly.

Our Society has been in the forefront of anti-terrorism in the 30 years of terrorism, conflict and the carnage in Sri Lanka which ended in 2009. Such an ending was possible due to the selfless life sacrifices made by members of our valiant defence forces. We will continue to assist in Sri Lankans to overcome the scourge of terrorism foisted on them once again this Easter Sunday.

Our Society also condemns multiple policy weaknesses of the present government in Sri Lanka that has contributed to the carnage. The government has deliberately let the guard down from 2015 in Sri Lanka even when surrounded by a world of enhanced extremist ideology, expansionist ethnic and religious greed, indoctrination through re-constructed histories, fake news, malicious propaganda, uncontrolled undisciplined social media and by open terrorism.

The government of Sri Lanka has again started bending backwards to please terrorist fronts who manipulate and operate through national and international agencies both government and non-government. Our security forces had been belittled, then witch-hunted time and again, and its moral broken and almost equated to terrorists themselves. Our intelligence agencies treated step-motherly, politicised, disbanded or their funding cut.

In this time of great sorrow let us pray and wish for the speedy recovery of all injured, the recovery from physical, mental and emotional damage caused to themselves and to those near and dear. Our respect and thoughts lie with the three members of the security forces and their families for the selfless sacrifice made in apprehending the suspects to this crime. It is once again time for those who deliberately forgot the security forces to reflect their undeniable worth and valour. Our thoughts are also with all Sri Lankans and others affected by these barbaric acts.

Let us also urge the persons in power or had been in power in Sri Lanka, not to find escape routes and hide behind flimsy excuses being made to the citizens, but to reflect upon their own deliberate actions in the past few years that contributed to this debacle, and take responsibility like leaders.

They will need to work for the good of the people, and to immediately stop working for their own selves and for their own political survival only.

Nimal Liyanage                                                                                                 Nihal Jayasinghe

President                                                                                                            Secretary

Catholic church and terrorists

April 23rd, 2019

Dr.P.A.Samaraweera

With the terror attack on Easter Sunday, the death toll had risen to 290. Nearly 500 being injured. It had been reported that 24 suspects are in custody and details about them are not known. The suspicion is on a Muslim terrorist organisation. However, on the day of the attack, Human Right Activists pointed the finger on Buddhists and quoted chapter and verse about attacks on Churches allegedly by Buddhists. They tried in vain to blame the Buddhists for the Easter attack.

As everyone knows, we had similar experiences prior to 2009 by LTTE terrorists. Bombs exploded in buses, trains, bus stations, at Sri Maha Bodiya Anuradhapura, Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, Arantalawa and so on. But the LTTE never attacked a single Catholic Church because their sympathies were with the LTTE. When the LTTE  was having a field day attacking Buddhists and the country, the Church was silent and never condemned the LTTE. It is an open secret that the Catholic Church had their sympathies with the LTTE. Some perspective observers have publicly accused the church of being the invisible hand supporting the LTTE’s violent campaign to destroy the unitary state, establish another sovereign state called ‘Eelam’ and in turn reduce the power of the majority Sinhalese and that of the Buddhists. Before the General Election in 2000, it was reported that the Catholic Bishop of Jaffna had requested all Tamil political parties to cease functioning so that the LTTE could act as the sole representative of the Tamil people.

We know of instances where the LTTE paid Christian Clerics from western countries to visit Sri Lanka for short visits to study the ground situation  and then go back and preach in seminars about Sinhalese Buddhists attacking ‘Tamils’ and that the ethnic crisis is a conflict between Buddhists and Tamils and not between the State and terrorists! These Clerics wrote adverse reports heavily tilted in favour of the LTTE. Funds collected by the Clerics from these charities, seminars and functions went to the terrorists.

This Easter, for the first time, the Catholic Church had experienced getting attacked by terrorists and given a taste of terrorism. Buddhists experienced this for 30 years. However, today Sri Lanka condemns the cowardly attack on innocent civilians. 

Was the Attack on Innocent Sri Lankan Catholics in Colombo Revenge-Retaliation on Mosque Attack in New Zealand?

April 23rd, 2019

Prof. Hudson McLean

After over 10 years of Peace & Harmony, in the Island Paradise, sudden blasts killing innocent  Easter Sunday worshippers,  shocked the World.

The well planned, organised, coordinated attack on three Churches and several hotels in different locations, add to the fact, that, the attacks were professionally managed & executed.

It is dangerous to jump into hasty conclusions on the perpetrators, before investigations delve into details.

Furthermore, people should refrain from taking the Law into their own hands, but leave it to the Law Enforcement professionals to deal with it and offer maximum support.

Quite frankly speaking, the retaliation against the Mosque attack was expected, even after the reaction of the New Zealand Prime Minister showed immense empathy and love for those who suffered from the attack.

However, Sri Lankan Buddhists or Hindu or Catholics had nothing to do with the New Zealand Mosque attack, and it is not in the nature of the Sri Lankans to cause such unnecessary pain, death and destruction.

This was a massacre, an un-necessary tragedy on the innocent humans, specially on a Sacred Easter Sunday.

St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo is a Miraculous Shrine visited & revered by All Faiths, Buddhists, Muslim, Hindu, who visit to Pray, Weep, Beg and Contemplate for a Miracle.

I have no doubt that the entire Island of Sri Lanka will now Unite to Rebuild the Miraculous Church of St. Anthony, as a Shrine of All Faiths.

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Extremism must be wiped out from our Country

April 23rd, 2019

Ilyas Haniffa, President    Asiff Hussein, Vice President- Outreach Centre for Islamic Studies    

Sri Lanka’s Muslims woke up to a rude shock on Easter Sunday, 21st April and reacted with disbelief to the news that churches and hotels had been bombed while our Christian brothers and sisters were celebrating Easter.

As Muslims we are expected to show utmost compassion and tolerance to people of other faiths. Christians especially occupy a very dear place in Muslim hearts, being the followers of one of the most revered prophets of Islam, Jesus (Peace Be Upon Him). In the Qur’an Christians are called the nearest to Muslims and praised for their piety and devotion, while we know from the life story of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) how he was assisted in his mission by Christians and how far he went to win their trust including giving a covenant guaranteeing their religious rights for all time.

As such, it is shocking that a group of misguided extremists purporting to represent our noble and tolerant faith have chosen to commit this sacrilege in a place of worship and a holy day held dear by Christians all over the world, taking over two hundred innocent lives. What is also deplorable is the manner the terrorists struck in suicide attacks, especially since we all know that suicide, like the taking of innocent lives, is completely prohibited in Islam.

We reach out to our fellow countrymen and countrywomen and our dear Christian brothers and sisters and join them in this time of grief and pray that no more such vile acts in the name of any religion sullies the holy ground we stand on and this beautiful country we live in.

At the same time, we call on the government to clamp down on all forms of extremism and terrorism and take severe action to annihilate these hate cults at the earliest. We also call on the government to investigate as to who were behind these barbaric attacks since there are many vested interests intent on harming the image of Islam and giving Muslims a bad name. Totally annihilating extremism in all its devious form, whether in the name of religion or nationalism, is the only way we can live in peace and harmony with one another.

Easter Sunday Attack!

April 23rd, 2019

MAHINDA KARUNARATNE 

It is a Muslim Jihad attack on other communities and a threat, which the damn govt. is impotent to accept, yet they are talking damn reconciliation.

 What was notable yesterday 21st April is that Muslims were new it very well, they kept their shops and businesses closed but with no any indication of such.

 Immediately after attacks took place, Muslim youths in and around Majestic City, Colombo 04 were rejoicing, taking selfies and in very jovial mode.

 Need not to say more.

 We told this five year ago, that we are under Islamic attack and conquer, but we were labeled as racists by Foolish, Silly Impotent Sinhela people and Politicos alike, threatened to be arrested and proceed to legality, so we decided wait till the consequences instead.

 Do you understand now what we said. 21st April was just a test and the beginning only, a tip of a iceberg, the monster is ahead!

 Enemy should be annihilated with further delay.

Attack on fourth Sri Lanka hotel had been planned: officials

April 23rd, 2019

The Sri Lanka suicide bombers had planned an attack on a fourth luxury hotel, but for some reason it never occurred, officials said Tuesday.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe revealed the plot on the unnamed luxury hotel without saying why it failed, according to the New York Times.

This man had also checked into the hotel the previous day,” an official source told Agence France-Presse of the terrorist.

The source claimed that hotel staff became suspicious after news broke of the other hotel attacks and the would-be bomber fled the hotel. He was soon tracked to a small inn on the outskirts of the capital Colombo.

He blew himself up when confronted by police, with two bystanders also killed, according to AFP.

That blast at the Tropical Inn opposite Dehiwala Zoo was the seventh on Easter Sunday, following near-simultaneous attacks on three churches and three luxury hotels. An eighth explosion later killed three police officers as they raided a safe house used by members of the cell.

Officials say at least 40 suspects have been arrested over the terror attacks that killed at least 321 and injured 500.

The dead includes 39 foreign nationals, including four Americans.

The big risk after Sri Lanka attacks

April 23rd, 2019

By Frida Ghitis Courtesy  CNN

(CNN)The first time I traveled to Sri Lanka, in 2010, a ghastly civil war had just ended. Military officers still manned checkpoints along major roads.

Frida Ghitis

Frida GhitisWhether we were passengers in a rickety tuk-tuk in Colombo, the bustling, leafy capital, or riding in an air-conditioned car across the countryside, armed men in olive-green uniforms would routinely order us to stop. They would check for explosives or for any sign that the violence that had plagued the country over nearly three decades might again threaten the peace won at such an appalling cost.Those scenes seemed relegated to the past — until this week when terrorists killed hundreds of people, attacking churches and major hotels on Easter Sunday. At last count, more than 320 people are confirmed dead and hundreds more injured.A decade ago, it made sense to me that travel brochures routinely referred to the country as a “teardrop shaped island.” Tears and Sri Lanka seemed to belong in the same sentence. I thought that had changed.Up to 100,000 people died in a horrific civil war that ended in 2009. All wars are awful, but there was something particularly macabre about Sri Lanka’s — with its wave of suicide bombings by the fanatical Tamil Tigers; with its gruesome final battle — a civilian massacre by the government; with the still-visible scars in Jaffna, the capital of the Northern Province, and the rest of the battered war zones, where the radical members of the Tamil minority launched their brutal bid for independence, drawing a crushing response from the state.

I lived through Sri Lankan terrorism. Here's my advice

I lived through Sri Lankan terrorism. Here’s my adviceI returned over the years, witnessing a country emerge from tragedy. On my most recent trip, 16 months ago, I stayed at Colombo’s lively Cinnamon Grand Hotel, one of the targets of the Easter Sunday attacks. I had breakfast every day — fish curry and chilled coconut juice — in the same restaurant where a suicide bomber detonated his explosives. I watched the lavish weddings in the cavernous rear lobby, soaking up performances from traditional Sinhalese musicians and trying to understand the symbolism of the rituals.I rejoiced as a witness to Sri Lankans enjoying the fruits of peace: a normal life.For the rest of the world, peace meant that the wonders of the small island in the crosscurrents of history were open and inviting. Tourists started arriving by the millions. But all was not well on the island known before independence as Ceylon, and before that as Serendib, the inspiration for the word “serendipity.”After the war, Sri Lanka moved haltingly along the path of transitional justice, drawing international support but also criticism. Separately, domestic political battles reached dangerous levels. Last year, a constitutional clash between rival politicians left the country with competing prime ministers amid warnings that the country risked plunging back into a bloodbath. The police canceled vacations just in case.The country’s giant neighbors, China and India, have vied for influence. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, close to China and accused of massive corruption, signed a gargantuan deal with Beijing for construction of a new port. Rajapaksa has denied the accusations. The cost was so high that Beijing ended up taking possession of the strategic facility, infuriating Sri Lankans.

Mystery surrounds the source of the Sri Lanka attacks

Mystery surrounds the source of the Sri Lanka attacksChina’s presence is inescapable. I once visited what would become another target of Sunday’s terrorists, the Shangri-La Hotel, a massive, luxurious structure facing the seashore, where Chinese workers are building yet another mammoth controversial project, this one building up in the sea. (China generally sends its own laborers to work on its foreign infrastructure projects.)The economy has been performing well since peace returned. Gross domestic product, the poverty rate and life expectancy have all been moving in the right direction. And yet not long ago I noted that “the march toward a stable, peaceful and prosperous future is threatened” by the government’s hesitancy in dealing with the past and its reluctance to tackle emerging tensions.Those new tensions include friction between Buddhists and Muslims, which burst to the surfaceduring one of my visits.According to the 2012 census, some 75% of Sri Lankans are ethnic Sinhalese, most of them Buddhists. Ethnic Tamils, the largest minority, make up little more than 11%. Most of the them practice Hinduism. Muslims make up just under 10% of the population, and Christians, most of them Catholic, are 7.6 % of the population.Clearly, it’s a complicated country, shaped by the sweep of empires and merchants who brought their religions with them. For the most part, the different groups have and continue to live in peace, but the exceptions have proven catastrophic enough to warrant alarm.Authorities are blaming an Islamist group, National Tawheed Jamath, for the carnage, saying it probably had help from abroad. Multiple warnings of an impending attack suggest that line of thinking is reasonable, and now ISIS has claimed responsibility.

Concerns terror cell in Sri Lanka large and well-connected

Concerns terror cell in Sri Lanka large and well-connected 05:11One of the greatest risks now is that in its fully justified effort to uproot the organization that carried out Sunday’s attacks, the authorities may further spread the seeds of extremism, giving terrorists precisely what they want. Fanatics intent on sparking unrest, on boosting recruitment and weakening the state like nothing more than to see the state make life worse for their potential supporters.Decisive action is required, but let’s hope cool thinking prevails. Sri Lanka’s peace is fragile.Authorities were wise to block much of social media after the attacks. Fueled by rumors in Facebook posts, mobs of nationalist Buddhist extremists (you read that correctly) have clashed against Muslim groups. The government, dominated by Sinhalese Buddhists, has been slow to act. After one such attack, in 2017, the Sri Lankan human rights lawyer Gehan Gunatilleke told me that the government’s inadequate response is “legitimizing ultra-conservative” Muslim groups, noting that some of the Muslim groups are trying to outdo each on their radicalism to please their Middle Eastern backers.Follow CNN Opinion

Join us on Twitter and FacebookIt’s the perfect brew for extremism to thrive.Over the years I’ve met heroic Sri Lankans who fought to bring peace to their country. I’ve met Sinhalese and Tamils working for reconciliation. And I’ve heard worried Sri Lankans concerned about politicians squandering the country’s future. The checkpoints have been lifted. Peace has made inroads, but the shadow of the long war has not completely faded. Sri Lankans, heartbroken after the bombings, understand better than anyone how much is at stake.This commentary has been updated from an earlier version to add that China often sends its own laborers to work on Chinese infrastructure projects in other countries.

Mujibur Rahman should take responsibility for the attacks – Parliamentarian Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe

April 23rd, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

Parliamentarian Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe stated that the government including United National Party (UNP) MP Mujibur Rahman should bear the responsibility for the series of explosions which occurred around the country on Easter Sunday (21).

MP Rajapakshe mentioned this at the special parliamentary meeting held today (23).

According to him, on November 18th, 2016, he stated that 32 persons from 4 families in the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) organization had received ISIS training and is preparing for a terror attack in the country.

But government Ministers held a press conference and called me a liar.
Mujibur Rahman cursed me. Those ministers and Mujibur Rahman should take the responsibility of these attacks”, said Rajapakshe.

The parliament convened at this afternoon (23) to discuss the security situation of the country following the Easter Day attacks which left 321 dead including 38 foreigners. Over 500 persons have been injured in the attacks.

ISIS release picture of Sri Lanka bombings ‘mastermind’ and seven attackers

April 23rd, 2019

Courtesy Mirror (UK)

An image released by the Amaq news agency shows alleged mastermind Zahran Hashim with seven men claimed to have carried out the bombings

ISIS has released a picture which it claims shows seven suicide bombers alongside the mastermind who co-ordinated the Easter Sunday atrocity in Sri Lanka.

The image was released by the Amaq news agency – Daesh’s official mouthpiece – and is said to show extremist cleric Zahran Hashim, who has been identified as the man who planned the attacks.

It later released a video which is claimed to show the killers pledging their allegiance to the terror group.

Seven fantatics have their faces covered, but the terror group earlier named the bombers as Abu Ubayda, Abu al-Mukhtar, Abu Khalil, Abu al-Bara’a, Abu Muhammad and Abu Abdullah.

The men in the picture are all seen standing in front of an ISIS flag.

The blasts killed 321 people, including eight Britons.

In an earlier statement, the extremist organisation said: “The perpetrators of the attack that targeted nationals of the countries of the coalitions and Christians in Sri Lanka before yesterday are fighters from the Islamic State.”

The terror group claims “the executors of the attack that targeted citizens of coalition states & Christians in Sri Lanka two days ago were with ISIS”.

There were six explosions on the morning of Easter Sunday, three at churches and three at luxury hotels.

A planned fourth bombing, near the airport, failed.

The death cult has repeatedly called for assaults on churches, particularly since the New Zealand mosque attacks.

It did not provide any evidence to support its claim, which is being investigated by Sri Lankan authorities.

Citing the US-led military campaign against ISIS in the Middle East, the claim stated: “The attackers who targeted citizens of the coalition state members and Christians in Sri Lanka the day before yesterday were fighters of the Islamic State.”

Some of the bombers had travelled abroad and returned home to Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told reporters, adding that he believes there may be “some links” between the attacks and ISIS.

He said it was “possible” that the bombings were revenge for the New Zealand terror shootings, and that Sri Lankans who returned after joining ISIS in Syria are being monitored.

Both ISIS and al-Qaeda had called on revenge attacks after the Christchurch mosque attacks.

Sri Lanka’s prime minister says more attacks are possible, as the government blames two domestic Islamist extremist groups suspected of receiving help from foreign militants.

The early findings of the investigation have found that the attacks were committed in revenge for the mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, a month ago, a junior minister told parliament.

The FBI is assisting Sri Lankan authorities with their investigation of the bomb attacks over the Easter weekend on three churches and four hotels, a spokeswoman for the US law enforcement agency said on Tuesday.

The Washington Post earlier had reported that the FBI had offered expertise to test evidence and that analysts were scouring databases for information regarding the attacks.

Sri Lanka’s prime minister warned there were more explosives and militants “out there” after the Easter suicide bombings.

Ranil Wickremesinghe made the comment at a news conference, and said some officials are likely to lose their jobs over intelligence lapses surrounding the attack.

Mr Wickremesinghe acknowledged there was a prior warning, and said India’s embassy was eyed as a possible target.

He told reporters that the government’s security agencies were monitoring Sri Lankans who had joined Islamic State and returned home.

“We will be following up on IS claims, we believe there may be links,” he said.

Indian intelligence officers contacted their Sri Lankan counterparts two hours before the first attack to warn of a specific threat on churches, one Sri Lankan defence source and an Indian government source told Reuters.

Another Sri Lankan defence source said a warning came “hours before” the first strike

One of the Sri Lankan sources said a warning was also sent by the Indians on Saturday night.

The Indian government source said similar messages had been given to Sri Lankan intelligence agents on April 4 and April 20.

Sri Lanka’s presidency and the Indian foreign ministry both did not respond to requests for comment.

Source: Mirror.co.uk

Terrorists do not belong to any faith – PM

April 23rd, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says that investigators have made good progress in identifying the suspects involved in the Easter Day attacks.

Speaking in a media briefing for the foreign correspondents today (23), the Prime minister also said it is possible” the Easter bombings were retaliation for the Christchurch attacks, but did not provide any evidence.

He says that there were foreign links behind the attack and that it could not have been done just locally. There has been training given and coordination which we have not seen earlier”, he said. He added that some of the bombers had traveled abroad and then returned home.

The government’s security agencies were monitoring Sri Lankans who had joined IS and returned home, he added.

He stated that many of the suicide bombers have been identified already.

Sri Lanka has had offers of help from several countries and that several countries have sent down teams to assist in the investigations; however, the police will decide with whom and how they are going to work, stated the Prime Minister.

Stating that they are trying to identify all the nationals affected by the bombings, Wickremesinghe said that some countries will also have to undertake their own investigation because their nationals have been affected by the blast.

We, if it was known, certainly could have prevented many of the attacks in the churches and have more security in the hotels,” Wickremesinghe said.

The Prime Minister refused to disclose the number of suspects arrested over the attacks; however, when asked if a Syrian national has been taken into custody, he stated that only Sri Lankans have been arrested so far.

Wickremesinghe stated that terrorists do not belong to any faith and that Sri Lanka will continue their policy of ensuring unity and religious harmony within the country while tracking down global terrorism.

When asked about the continued threat, he said:

There are a few people on the run, somehow on the run, so we’ve got to detain them. We have an unknown number of suspects on the run.”

Speaking on the relationship between the President and the Prime Minister having affected public security, Wickremesinghe stated that they have put behind their differences of opinion to face this issue. He said that the top priority of them was to apprehend the offenders.

When questioned on the social media ban Premier stated that it will be discussed tomorrow and that this was done to ensure communal harmony in the first days of the attack. He said, We went through these exercises earlier in Digana. We didn’t want to take another chance.”

Wickremesinghe said that the security apparatus is of the view that there are foreign links behind this attack and that they had suspicions of an ISIS involvement as well.

Prime Minister refused to name the local group which had carried out these attacks. But he stated that they are concerned by it despite it being a smaller group in size.

A vast majority of Muslims condemn this. They are as angry as the Sinhalese and the Tamils as to what has happened”, the Prime Minister added.

ISIS suspect gave advance warning of Sri Lanka bombings – report

April 23rd, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

(CNN) Early warnings from India’s intelligence services to Sri Lankan officials ahead of the Easter Sunday bombings were based on information gleaned from an ISIS suspect, CNN has learned.

Delhi passed on unusually specific intelligence in the weeks and days leading up to the attacks, Sri Lankan officials have said, and at least some of it was gleaned from material obtained during interrogations of an ISIS suspect arrested in India, an Indian official told CNN.

The revelation comes as ISIS claimed responsibility for the bombings, which killed 321 people and injured more than 500. In a statement published by the ISIS-affiliated news agency Amaq, the group said the attackers were fighters of the Islamic State.”

The involvement of a foreign organization would explain how a previously marginal domestic extremist group blamed for the attacks, National Tawheed Jamath (NTJ), could have pulled off one of the worst terrorist atrocities since 9/11.

The number of casualties could have been even higher. Authorities said Tuesday that a fourth hotel was among the original targets, but the attack at that location failed. Officials previously said they found an unexploded pipe bomb near Colombo’s international airport.

As investigators scrambled to track down the bombers’ associates, there was growing anger in Sri Lanka at the failure to heed the warnings of India’s intelligence service.

Dehli’s information came from the interrogation of an ISIS suspect, the Indian source told CNN. After being interrogated, the suspect gave investigators the name of a man he trained in Sri Lanka, who is associated with the local extremist group, the NTJ, the source said.

While we were investigating ISIS cases, during the interrogation of an accused, he disclosed the name of a man, Zahran Hashim, who is one of the suicide bombers and is associated with NTJ,” said the intelligence source in India. The suspect said that he played a role in his (Hashim’s) radicalization.”

The Indian intelligence source did not specify when the arrest was made. Indian intelligence agencies shared their information with their counterparts in Sri Lanka,” the source said.

Hashim’s name appears on a memo dated April 11 and signed by Sri Lanka’s Deputy Inspector General of Police. The memo, a copy of which has been seen by CNN, named Hashim as the leader of the NTJ.

A certain foreign intelligence service has reported that the leader of the National Tawheed Jamath — NTJ, Mohamed Cassim Mohamed Zahran, also known as Zahran Hashim and his followers — have been planning for suicide attacks within Sri Lanka,” the memo reads. It was circulated widely to a range of security services and some government ministries.

On Tuesday, a video released by ISIS showed eight men purported to be the Sri Lankan attackers pledging allegiance to the terror group. All of the men have their hands placed together and are masked, except one. That man, identified as Zahran Hashim, is leading them,” according to the caption provided by the Amaq news agency.

Source: CNN

-Agencies

President says heads of security forces to change within 24 hrs

April 23rd, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

President Maithripala Sirisena says that he hopes to affect changes among the heads of the country’s security forces within the next 24 hours.

He stated this during his address to the nation, in the wake of Sunday’s devastating bombings targeting multiple churches and hotels in Sri Lanka.

President Sirisena pointed out that various discussions, dialogues, debates, and criticisms on these attacks are currently ongoing in the country and that he considers this a fundamental characteristic of a free and democratic society.

President stated that it is his responsibility to clarify the true situation of this national tragedy and that it is also his duty and responsibility to reveal everything without hiding anything.

According to him, the security forces were reported of this terrorist campaign since 2017. They had also observed that these persons received training and guidance by joining international terrorist organizations.

Our security forces constantly followed them and monitored them. However, the security forces did not possess enough evidence and clear information to take legal action against them. The activities of these persons were closely monitored at National Security Council meetings in the past years”, stated the President.

He also stated that these persons carried out these attacks under the guidance, support, and leadership of an international terrorist organization.

President Sirisena appreciated the discipline and patience displayed by the Christian community during this painful and tragic event. He saluted all Catholic and Christian community of Sri Lanka, led by Archbishop Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, for their calm and peaceful behavior during this turbulent time.

We now have to enter into a process of establishing a free and peaceful tomorrow in the country,” said the President.

President Sirisena stated that he expects to completely restructure the security forces within the upcoming week. He says that he hopes to affect changes among the heads of the country’s security forces within the next 24 hours.

During the 1980s, the Sinhala and Muslim communities in the country perceived every Tamil person as a terrorist. Later on, the public became aware that every Tamil person is not an LTTE terrorist. This helped to establish harmony and reconciliation among the communities without suspicion, fear or distrust.

Therefore, I request all Sinhala and Tamil communities not to perceive the Muslim community in Sri Lanka with suspicion, fear or distrust. We should remember that not every Muslim person is a terrorist. Only a very few persons have joined these terrorist groups,” said the President.

It is important to establish harmony and reconciliation between the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities in the country. We need to with trust in everybody”, said President Sirisena.

The state of emergency was implemented with the aim of curbing the terrorist activities and the police and the tri-forces have been granted power to act on this by gazetting regulations on preventing terrorism, stated the President.

According to him, had this not been gazetted, the police would have lacked the necessary power they need to act on these events and the tri-forces could not have come into action.

I personally take the responsibility that these regulations will not be used to hinder or challenge a democratic and free way of living,” added the President.

President stated that more information has been uncovered about the suspects, criminals and respondents in connection with the attacks.

He added that considering this situation, the capacity to act on preventing the occurrence of such calamities is certainly there.

One of our friendly country and seven to eight other powerful countries had assured to provide maximum support to the government of Sri Lanka to eradicate terrorist movements,” President Sirisena said.

The public raises questions as to why the security divisions in the country failed to act on the information given by the state intelligence service of a diplomatic country regarding the attacks.

The President commented that the responsible high-profile authorities of security divisions have not informed him on the attacks. He says he could have taken the necessary actions to prevent the attacks had he been informed on the attacks.

Stern actions will be taken on the security officials for not taking the necessary actions ahead of the attacks.
 
The tri-forces and the police, as well as their intelligence services, will undergo complete reconstruction.

Muslim MP proposes ban on burqas in Sri Lanka

April 23rd, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

Islamic State and Jamaat al-Tawhid al-Watania claim responsibility for Lankan blasts

April 23rd, 2019

By P.K.Balachandran Courtesy newsin.asia

Colombo, April 23: The Islamic State and the Jamaat al-Tawhid al-Watania group have both claimed responsibility for the terrorist attacks carried out in Sri Lanka on Sunday.

Reuters quoted the Islamic State’s AMAQ news agency to say that the organization has claimed responsibility for the multiple suicide bombings which took the lives of more than 300 people including 38 foreign nationals.

Earlier, Rita Katz, Director of the respected terror monitoring SITE Intelligence Group, said that Islamic State (IS) supporters have been applauding the attacks on social media, and celebrating the casualties”.

Katz said that the IS media channels are ‘posting rampantly’ about the blasts and praying ‘may Allah accept’ the suicide bombers.

She claimed that the online praise indicated that the group may be preparing to take responsibility for the attacks.

The Russian news agency TASS quoted the Al-Arabiya TV channel to say that Jamaat al-Tawhid al-Watania, a little known group, has claimed responsibility. The channel had given no details about the organization.

Sri Lanka police spokesman, Ruwan Gunasekera, said that 40 persons have been detained for questioning, 26 of them are with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and three are under the custody of the Terrorism Investigation Department (TID).

Homegrown Group

However, in Sri Lanka itself, the government and even the leaders of the Muslims, are saying that the suspects are a new Sri Lankan outfit called ‘National Tawheed Jamaat” headed by Moulavi Mohammad Zahran of Kathankudy, Sri Lanka’s only 100% Muslim town which is located in the Eastern province

According to Hilmy Ahamad a leader of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka (MCSL), the National Tawheed Jamaat headed by Moulavi Zahran had broken away from the older Sri Lanka Tawheed Jamaat after the December 26, 2018 incidents in Mawanella in Kandy district in which Muslim radicals had desecrated scores of Buddha’s Statues.

Ahamad said that Zahran fled to various towns in Sri Lanka and at one stage crossed over to India. Some said he was living in Chennai and others said he was in Bengaluru. He has been absconding since then.

Moulavi Zahran was a teacher in a Kathankudy Madrassah. He was a powerful speaker and therefore sought after. Said Hilmy Ahamad: Parents were happy that their children were learning the Quran. But they did not know that Zahran was teaching radicalism.”

Zahran disconnected himself from the Sri Lanka Tawheed Jamaat and also all other Jamaats, including the Tamil Nadu Tawheed Jammat, and became a lone wolf in hiding. His name suddenly emerged after the Easter Sunday blasts in Colombo. The Lankan government had publicly named him as the mastermind of the carnage. One report said that he was the suicide bomber who blew himself up in Shangri-La hotel in Colombo.

In order to distance themselves from Zahran and the National Tawheed Jamaat, the Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu Tawheed Jamaats issued statements saying that they had nothing to do with Zahran and his organization.

Intelligence Was There

According to Lankan government minister Harin Fernando, Indian intelligence service had got wind of Zahran’s plans to stage suicide attacks on posh hotels, churches and other targets, including the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka.

This was shared with the Lankan authorities on April 4 and 11. A Deputy Inspector General of Police had sent up a memo to the top brass in the Lankan Establishment about the intelligence input and sought follow up measures.

The Muslim Council Sri Lanka headed by N.M.Ameen and Hilmy Ahamad had also warned about the hate speech and radicalism of Zaharan after the desecration of Buddha statues in Mawanella in December 2018. Ahamad had informed the authorities about radical elements in his community three years earlier, supported by documents.

We had warned about Zahran as part of our complaint about hate speech by Buddhist and Islamic leaders and produced evidence including videos of Zahran’s speech. But no action was taken perhaps because there was insufficient evidence,” Hilmy Ahamad said.

Huge Cache of Arms Found

Dr. Ranga Jayasuriya, a security expert in a Colombo-based think tank, writing in Daily Mirror on April 23, recalled that after the desecration of Buddha’s statues in Mawanella on December 26, 2018, interrogation of seven suspects had led to an 80 acre-coconut farm in Wanathawillu in Puttalam district not far from Colombo,where a large cache of explosives was found.

The cache included 100kg of C4 explosives, 75 kg ammonium nitrate and potassium chloride and 6 cans of 20 liter nitrate acid, which investigators believed were meant to make explosive devices. Four individuals were arrested. However, the key suspects, who were not in the plantation at the time, have remained at large.”

An un-named Muslim leader had offered to arrange the surrender of an extremist preacher who was in hiding in return for an assurance, Dr.Jayasuriya wrote.

It now transpires that the extremist preacher was Moulavi Zaharan.

Minister Kabir Hashim has now told a media conference that one or two persons who were arrested at Wanathawillu were released due to political pressure. One of the released suspects is now being identified as an Easter Sunday suicide bomber, Dr.Jayasuriya notes. says.

The Daily Mirror article reveals that in mid-March 2019, Mohamed Razak Taslim (37), the Coordinating secretary of Highways and Investment Promotions Minister Kabir Hashim was shot at a point blank range at his residence in Dhanagama Mawatha, Kandy, by two assailants. Taslim had helped the CID investigations to nab the Mawanella attackers.

As in the previous cases, in this case too, there was no follow up action.

Analyzing the reasons for inaction, Dr.Jayasuriya says that for many in political circles and among Muslim community leaders, the prospect of an armed and violent Islamic extremism has been a bitter pill to swallow. Their immediate concerns have led to the threats being downplayed or ignored. But this has been at the expense of lives of many hundreds of Sri Lankans, he points out.

However, the involvement of Moulvi Zahran’s brother Rilwan came to light. Mohammed Milhan has been found to be active on social media, instigating followers against other faiths.

First Muslim Suicide Bombers in Lanka

The Easter Sunday blasts are noteworthy for another point of view. In Sri Lanka, suicide bombings are known to be an exclusive preserve of the Tamil Tigers. But the Easter Sunday bombings show that even Lankan Islamic extremists are capable of indulging in this deadly act.

The Government Analyst has reportedly confirmed that seven suicide bombers had taken part in the attacks on Easter Sunday. Two were deployed in Shangri-La hotel and one each in other locations. And all the suicide bombers are reportedly Sri Lankans.

Foreign Involvement

As Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said, serial blasts on this wide and destructive scale could not have been arranged by a newly founded small group and that a foreign involvement and expertise are a distinct possibility.

The government is saying that investigations would be conducted into this aspect. But a renowned Sri Lankan security expert, Dr.Rohan Gunaratna, Professor of Security Studies at the Rajaratnam Center for International Studies at Nanyang University in Singapore, has said that the attacks have the signature of the Islamic State (IS). The IS had conducted it with the help of its Sri Lankan branch”. The National Tawheed Jamaat could well be a branch of the Islamic State.

According to Dr.Gunaratna the choice of targets is a give-away. The targets were top-end hotels frequented by White foreigners and Christian churches . These indicate that the attackers had animosity towards the West and its religion Christianity.

Remember, it was a West-led coalition which ousted the IS from Iraq and Syria, and Christianity is seen as the West’s ideological under pinning,” Dr.Gunaratna said.

However, while not ruling out IS’ involvement, locals add other theories such as a Buddhist cum nationalist plot to overthrow the present pro-West regime of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe by showing it as being too weak and ineffective to protect the country. The other theory is that Mossad or the agency of another anti-Muslim country could have carried out the strikes to stir up Buddhist antagonism towards Muslims.

Lankan Muslims Abhor Terror

Members of other communities in Sri Lanka complain that the enlightened sections of the Muslim community are not doing anything to stem encroaching fundamentalism and radicalism in their community, and are in a perpetual mode of denial, But Muslim leaders say that they are doing their bit and deny that the Muslims at large are supporters of violence.

Radical groups like the National Tawheed Jamaat are very very distant from the vast majority of Muslims in Sri Lanka,” says Hilmy Ahamad.

N.M.Ameen, President of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, said in a statement that the Easter Sunday attacks were meant to create divides between religious and ethnic groups.

This is a deliberate attempt to create panic and disrupt life,” Ameen said while appealing to Muslims to provide any assistance that the government might require in conducting the on-going probe to find the perpetrators of the heinous crime” and bring them to justice.

Sri Lanka police spokesman, Ruwan Gunasekera, said that 40 persons have been detained for questioning, 26 of them are with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and three are under the custody of the Terrorism Investigation Department (TID

A family comprising two brothers and a wife involved in three suicide bombings in Colombo

April 23rd, 2019

Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

Colombo, April 23 (Reuters): A whole Sri Lankan Muslim family, comprising two brothers and the wife of one of them, was involved in the serial suicide bombings which ripped through Colombo on Sunday, police said.

The brothers, whose names have not been revealed, carried out two of the three hotel suicide blasts.


The featured image at the top shows a suicide bomber walking to the Church in Negombo along with other worshipers

An attack on a fourth hotel failed. But this helped lead the police to the Islamist group National Tawheed Jamaat which is now blamed for the assault, police said.

The brothers were in their late twenties and operated their own family cell”, an investigating officer said.

They were key members of the Islamist National Towheed Jama’ath (NTJ) group which the government has blamed for the attacks.

One of the brothers checked into the Cinnamon Grand hotel and the other at the Shangri-La on Saturday. The next morning, at virtually the same time, they went to the hotels’ Easter Sunday breakfast buffets and blew up explosives-laden backpacks, the officer said.

One of the brothers had given false identity details when he checked into the hotel. The other had given the a address which led police commandos to their family home in a commercial area of Colombo.

When the Special Task Force went there to investigate, one brother’s wife set off explosives killing herself and her two children,” the officer said.

It was a single terror cell operated by one family,” the investigator said.

They had the cash and the motivation. They influenced their extended family too.”

Three police commandos were killed in the blast, Several extended family members are among the 40 in detention.

The brothers had been involved in their father’s lucrative spice export business, and yet they decided to blow themselves up for their version of Islam, investigators said.

A focus of the inquiry will be to find out whether there was a foreign influence in their radicalisation and how the children of such a wealthy family had become involved, an official source said.

What we have gathered so far is that they had indicated to their close family what they were going to do. And it looks like they were inspired by foreign terrorist groups, but to what extent they had direct links is still unclear.”

What we have seen from the CCTV footage is that all the suicide bombers were carrying very heavy backpacks. These appear to be crude devices made locally,” the source said.

Another would-be suicide bomber walked into a fourth luxury hotel in Colombo on Sunday. But he did not set off a blast. It was not known if his explosives failed or he had a change of heart.

But after the Shangri-La blast, staff at the unnamed hotel became suspicious and the man was tracked to a lodge near the capital. He blew himself up there when confronted by police, the source said. Two bystanders were also killed.

Mawanella Muslims Complained

The whereabouts of the NTJ leader, Moulvi Mohammad Zahran Hashmi, is also unknown.

He was linked to the vandalizing of Buddha statues on December 26 ,2018 at the central Lankan town of Mawanella.

The local Muslim community had been complaining to authorities about Hashmi since 2017.

Residents of the village in the east of the country where he lived had demanded police action against him over his radical comments and acts, community leaders told AFP.

He was a threat to moderate Muslims in the east and we had made several complaints,” one Muslim leader told AFP.

The police chief’s warnings about the NTJ were not passed to top ministers. A separate investigation is underway into why more was not done to stop the brothers and the other attackers.

India warns SL about more terror attacks

April 23rd, 2019

Courtesy The Daily Mirror

The officials said Indian security agencies had alerted Sri Lanka that another National Thowheeth Jamaath (NTJ) team led by Jal al-Quital alias Rilwan Marzag could carry out more attacks, Hindustan Times reported today.

Noufar Moulvi, brother-in-law of Hashim, recently returned to Sri Lanka from Qatar and had taken charge of the group, they added.

The NTJ, the little known group blamed for the bombing of churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Sunday, appears to have been inspired by Islamic State (IS) though direct links between the two are yet to be established, people familiar with developments said on Monday.

An intelligence officer, who requested anonymity, said the attacks couldn’t have been possible without months of planning and international players travelling to Sri Lanka to take part in the execution at different stages.

The NTJ was formed in Kattankudy, a Muslim-dominated town in eastern Sri Lanka, in 2014. Its founder Zahran Hashim alias Abu Ubaida is believed to have been the suicide bomber who targeted Shangri-La Hotel with military grade explosives.

A video released by Al Ghuraba Media featured the seven suicide bombers allegedly involved in the attacks.

Except for Abu Ubaida, the others had their faces covered and the video had messages in Arabic and Tamil. A caption in the video read O Crusaders, this bloody day (21-04) is our reward to you”, it said.

CCTV footage of Katuwapitiya suicide bombing

April 23rd, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

CCTV footage of the suicide bomber, who is responsible for the Katuwapitiya Church explosion, entering the Church and setting off the bomb, has been released to the media.

Accordingly, the arrival of the suicide bomber is marked on the first CCTV camera at around 8.56 am and at around 8.59 am, he enters the church premises. 

The CCTV camera inside the Church has recorded the suicide bomber entering the church after touching a small child in front of the church. He enters the church through a door on the left side of the church before setting off the bomb amongst the devotees who were praying inside the church.

CCTV footage outside the church also records people near the area running towards the church at around 9.01.

Islamic state claims responsibility for Sri Lanka bombings – report

April 23rd, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

Islamic state has claimed responsibility for coordinated bombings in Sri Lanka which killed 321 people and injured about 500 others, the group’s AMAQ news agency said on Tuesday.

The group did not give evidence for its claim, a Reuters news report said.

The statement on the Amaq news agency, which the group uses to put out statements, claimed that the attack was the work of fighters of the Islamic State”.

Until now, no group had claimed responsibility for the explosions, many of them suicide bombings.

Sri Lankan government has blamed the blasts on local Islamist group National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ).

In the meantime, Sri Lanka’s state minister of defense said the Easter attack on churches, hotels and other sites was carried out in retaliation” for the shooting massacre at two New Zealand mosques last month.

Ruwan Wijewardene, told Parliament the government possessed information that the series of bombings in and outside of Colombo that killed more than 300 people was carried out by an Islamic fundamentalist group” in response to the Christchurch attacks. 

He did not provide evidence or explain the source of the information.

The six near-simultaneous attacks on three churches and three luxury hotels and three related blasts later Sunday was Sri Lanka’s deadliest violence in a decade. 

Wijewardene said the death toll from the attack now stood at 321 people, with 500 wounded.
 
At least 45 children were among the more than 320 people killed in the suicide bomb attacks in Sri Lanka, the United Nations said Tuesday.

The total now is 45 children who died,” UNICEF spokesman Christophe Boulierac told reporters in Geneva, stressing that others are wounded and are now fighting for their lives,” meaning the toll among minors from the Sunday attacks could rise.

-Agencies

Local “National Tawheed Jamaat” behind Sri Lanka terror attack, govt probe to establish global links

April 23rd, 2019

Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

By P.K.Balachandran

Colombo, April 23 (The Citizen): The Sri Lankan government said here on Monday, that the a local religious group, National Thowheed Jamaath, was behind the suicide attacks in Colombo and two other towns on Sunday in which 290 people, including 38 foreign nationals, were killed and more than 500 were injured.

Since such a small local group could not have organized such wide-scale and deadly attacks, an international group was likely to have been involved”, cabinet spokesman Dr.Rajitha Senaratne said.

Addressing the media, Senaratne said that the international support” angle is being investigated. Gvernment is trying to ascertain how the suicide bombers were prepared.

Suicide bombers had attacked the Shangri-La hotel, Kingsbury Hotel and the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, all within a short distance from each other on the arterial Galle Road in Colombo. Suicide bombers also struck the Kochikade church near the Colombo harbor, a church in Negombo, north of Colombo, and the Zion church in Batticaloa in the Eastern province. Subsequently, explosions took place opposite a reception hall near the Dehiwala Zoo outside Colombo, and in a house in Mahawila Gardens, Dematagoda, in the heart of Colombo.

After a meeting at the National Security Council on Sunday, the government deployed forces to protect all places of worship, tourist hotels, hospitals, embassies, catholic leaders and other important buildings.

The Secretary to the President, Udaya R. Senevirathna, said that a National Operations Center had been established to guide the investigations. About 1,000 soldiers as well as a large number of policemen have been deployed.

The police have arrested 24 persons, all locals .But their religious affiliations have not been revealed. The police said on Sunday that they suspected the involvement of a foreign organization but would be able to give concrete information on this only by mid-week.

There is a Sri Lanka Tawheed Jamaat, which propagates Wahabism. It is against Sufi practices which are common among Sri Lankan Muslims. It is closely linked to the Tawheed Jamaat in Tamil Nadu. Recently it launched a Sinhalese translation of the Holy Quran with much fanfare.

However it is not yet clear if the Sri Lanka Tawheed Jamaat is the same as the National Thawheed Jamaath.

The police say that on April 11, there was intelligence that the National Thawheed Jamath’s leader Mohamad Safran was planning a suicide attack. Government spokesman Dr.Senaratne said there were inputs from international intelligence agencies earlier warning of such suicide attacks.

A spokesman of the Indian High Commission that they had obtained some information about the impending attacks and had shared whatever intelligence they had with the Sri Lankan government.

The Sri Lankan government has since provided the Indian High Commission greater security.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told the media that a small local group could not have carried such a long series of bombings simultaneously without expert support from overseas. He promised to inform the public, after consulting the police, whether any organized group was behind Sunday’s attacks.

The Prime Minister, however, made it a point to stress that the while the police are investigating the case, civil society and the political class should attend to the need to preserve peace and communal harmony and not be carried away by rumors.

The government has already blocked Facebook. And Whatsapp has been disabled partially.

President Maihripala Sirisena has appointed a three-man commission under a serving Supreme Court judge, Vijth Malalgoda, to investigate the blasts and report to him within two weeks.

Meanwhile the police have located a safe house allegedly used by the terror outfit. They have seized a van and its driver involved in transferring the C4 explosive used.

Former President and Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa said that the attacks were the result of weakening the security under the current administration.

We defeated brutal terrorists and ensured the safety of the people. But those who played a significant role in this, including intelligence officers and security forces personnel, have been harassed and demoralized. I blame the government for taking us back to the dark ages of fear,” Rajapaksa said.

The government announced on Monday that it is gazetting some of the clauses of the Prevention of Terrorism Act to tighten the law and order system.

The situation could have been worse if the 87 low explosive detonators found in the crowded Pettah market had been activated. Police have ordered a curfew between 8 pm on Monday and 4 am on Wednesday. All train services to the hill plantations country have been have been suspended.

Government on Monday also announced a grant of LKR 100,000 for the funeral of those killed in the blast and LKR 1 million to the next of kin,

Blasts carried out by ISIS with local connection – Dr. Rohan Gunaratna

April 23rd, 2019

Colombo, April 23: Dr. Rohan Gunaratna, Professor of Security Studies at the S. Rajaratnam Centre for International Studies in Singapore, says that the serial bombings in Colombo and two other towns in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, appear to be the handiwork of the Islamic State (IS) in collaboration with its Sri Lankan branch.”

Dr. Gunaratna, who is the foremost Sri Lankan expert on terrorism and political violence and author of Inside Al-Qaeda: Global Network of Terror (2003) told this correspondent over the phone from Singapore on Monday: After the IS was ousted from Iraq and Syria, it branched out to other countries, and has been working in collaboration with local radical Islamic groups in several countries. It has a very significant worldwide network and has a presence in India, the Maldives and Sri Lanka.”

According to Dr. Gunaratna, the IS targets Western interests and Christian churches. Giving reasons for this, he said It is a Western coalition which had ousted the IS from its bases in Iraq and Syria. IS sees Christianity as the ideological underpinning of the Western world.” The IS has been aiding the process of radicalizing the Muslims in various parts of the world including Sri Lanka through various local affiliates, he said.

Dr. Gunaratna pointed out that it is not necessary to radicalize everybody to carry out the activities of the IS. A small number of radicalized persons is enough to carry out the IS’s designs,” he said. The targets hit by the bombings indicate that the issues are unrelated to local, Sri Lankan communal issues. In Sri Lanka, there is no conflict between Christians and Muslims and Christians and Buddhists for churches to be attacked in this way and that on a day like Easter Sunday.

While there had been communal clashes before, with Buddhist groups attacking Muslims, these were small and localized and never in the Mumbai serial blasts way as the problems in the island had not been so acute. If the blasts were an offshoot of the Buddhist-Muslim conflict, Buddhists temples and institutions would have been attacked but they were not.

However, there is a world-wide conflict between the Christian-West and radical Islam. The conflict manifests itself in attacks on Churches. The recent New Zealand attack against worshipers in a mosque is part of the larger world-wide religious conflict.

The targeting of posh hotels is also significant in as much as hotels like Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury are the Westerners’ favorites in Colombo. These hotels are also well known world-wide enabling the attackers to get maximum publicity for their deeds and for spreading fear among Westerners across the globe.

Not LTTE

Police and government sources are not pointing an accusing finger at a resurgent Tamil Tiger (LTTE) group as the Tamil Tigers and the Tamils as a whole, now want to take the help of the Western democracies and UN institutions to secure human rights and post-war justice. They would not incur the wrath of the West by indulging in acts like this at this stage of their struggle.

As mentioned earlier, Dr. Gunaratna suspects a local involvement. CNN has publicized a memo sent by the Deputy Inspector General of Police to the higher authorities warning them that a certain local Islamic group which he identified as Nations Thawahid Jaman” (seems to be a misspelling of the title) was planning a suicide attack.

The memo, seen by CNN, goes as follows:

April 11, 2019   

Director – Ministerial Security Division   
Director – Judicial Security Division   
Director – Retired President’s Security Division   
Acting Director – Diplomatic Security Division   
Acting Director – Retired President’s Security Division   

Reference to the letter of the defence ministry with regard to the above and the statement of IGP dated April 9, 2019 ref : STAFF05/IGP/PS/OUT/2860/19;  We would like to draw your special attention to the a page no 2 to 4 of the statement of the State Intelligence service stating that information has been received regarding an alleged plan of suicidal attack by the leader of ‘Nation’s Thawahid Jaman ‘ Mohammad Saharan. According to information of that statement, would like you to give special attention and inform your staff to provide special security measures to the areas covered by your division.   

Priyalal Dissanayake 

Deputy Inspector General of Police

However, the government has not blamed any group for the attacks saying that investigations have only begun. However a plan to stage a suicide attack, the first by a Sri Lanka group, appears to have been there as per the DIG’s memo. This group could be an affiliate of the IS.

Remedial Measures

While the government’s agencies will go into the blasts thoroughly and a Presidential Commission of Inquiry is to be appointed to go into the matter and submit a report in two weeks, Dr. Gunaratna suggests that the government immediately take measures to tighten security which had become lax after the end of the war against the Tamil Tigers in 2009.

Prevention should be the aim of the State. For this, there should be stricter anti-terror laws in place. And to enable effective implementation there should be political stability. Under conditions of political instability anti-systemic and radical movements thrive,” the expert argued.

To stop the spread of radicalism, the social media and the internet should also be subject to surveillance and control. Internet service providers should be given precise guidelines and those providers who do not follow the guidelines should be taken to task,” Dr. Gunaratna said.

There is also a dire need for an inter-faith dialogue, he added. This is necessary to prevent communal animosities and radicalization of the various communities,” he added.

Political Consequences

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan leaders have uniformly appealed for the maintenance of communal harmony. Since Presidential and parliamentary elections are due in the next few months, mainstream political parties across the board are keen on cultivating the Muslims who are 8% of the population and who could influence the result as they did in 2015 when they voted en masse against Mahinda Rajapaksa and dethroned him.

It is therefore highly unlikely that any mainstream party, least of all the government, will encourage a communal conflagration. However, radical anti-Islamic outfits like the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) could make anti-Muslim and anti-Islam statements, but the people are unlikely to lend an ear to them.

Normalcy in Colombo

Sure enough, Colombo is quiet, though those who can remain at home are at home to be on the safe side. Transport has been restored and offices are functioning, though schools are closed. Experience of earlier blasts in Colombo and other places suggests that it will be business as usual in no time.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa says under his watch, Lankan intelligence service was world class

April 23rd, 2019

Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

SColombo, April 23 (newsin.asia): Former Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has said that he was shocked to witness the marring of the respectable history” of Sri Lankan intelligence service in the case of the serial bombings in Colombo and elsewhere on April 21 – Easter Sunday.Under his watch, the Sri Lankan intelligence service had ensured the safety of all Sri Lankans. It was strengthened to a level where it was among the world’s leading intelligence services, Gotabaya said in a statement.”It was the first and foremost responsibility of any civilized society to denounce terror attacks on Easter Sunday, which is a highly sensitive day. We should treat these cowardly and barbaric attacks with disgust. I express my condolences to all those who lost their lives in this tragedy and propose that it should be the common wish of the entire nation to wish for a speedy recovery of those who are injured,” he said.

The terror attacks suspended the heartbeat of Sri Lankans who were breathing freely after the 30-year war. Terrorism comes in different forms but in the same ruthless manner,” he said.

We are at a time where we should transform this hurt into unyielding courage. Being united in the face of obstacles is the easiest way to defeat forces against the country, which I have realised from experience. We should unite under the national flag for the country,” he said.

Police in Colombo placed on high alert over suspicious vehicles

April 23rd, 2019

Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

Colombo, April 23 (Ada Derana) – All police stations in Colombo have reportedly been advised to stay on high alert with regard to a suspicious lorry and a small van entering the city.

On the receipt of this intelligence, the DIG in charge of Colombo District has notified all senior police officers in the Colombo District and all police stations to stay on high alert.

Information on suspicious vehicles and other suspicious incidents can be relayed to the Air Force emergency call unit through the hotline 116, stated Sri Lanka Air Force Group Captain Gihan Seneviratne.

Security forces have received intelligence regarding a suspicious lorry and a small van entering Colombo.

Police Spokesman’s Office stated that all police stations in Colombo have been instructed to tighten security in the city.

Additionally, vehicle owners are advised to display their contact numbers and names clearly in front of their respective vehicles when parking at public places.

India had warned Lanka of terror strikes. Interpol to send investigating team

April 22nd, 2019

Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

Colombo, April 22 (newsin.asia): India had warned Sri Lanka about imminent strikes suicide bombers twice this month – the first warning having been given on April 4 and the second on April 11, informed Sri Lankan sources said. Foreign agencies reported that Interpol will be sending a team to Sri Lanka to help Sri Lankan investigators to get to the bottom of the crime.

An Indian source said that the Indian High Commission had shared information they had with the Sri Lankan government. He declined to give details.

Harin Fernando, a cabinet minister,circulatedan internal security memo dated earlier this month that warned the group was getting ready for suicide attacks on popular Catholic churches and the Indian High Commission.

” It also said the group’s members were inciting hatred” among online followers.”

Unconfirmed reports identified the suicide bomber and mastermind behind the attack on the Shangri La hotel as Islamic extremist Moulvi Zahran Hashim. An imam, he was a prolific lecturer for National Tawheed Jamaath.

CNN reported that Hashim also wanted to attack the Indian High Commission in Colombo earlier this month, but the attack was thwarted. According to the CNN report, that attack was planned for April 4.

Security for the Indian High Commission has since been beefed up.

Why Intelligence Was Ignored

The standoff between President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had been one of the reasons for non-action on the intelligence input from India as well the local police.

Since the President was away on a pilgrimage in Thirupathi (India) on Sunday, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe wanted to convene a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC). According to the cabinet spokesman, Dr.Rajitha Senaratne, a meeting was fixed but the members of the NSC did not turn up for it.

The Prime Minister then went to the Defense Ministry to talk to the concerned officials. But he was made to wait there for 20 minutes. President Sirisena, who is opposed to Wickremesinghe, holds the Defense portfolio and NSC members go by his wishes.

Dr. Senaratne regretted that Wickremesinghe , who had been a member of the NSC since 1987, could not call a meeting of the NSC and that had to go looking for NSC members in the Defense ministry.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan Special Task Force (STF) has been defusing Improvised Explosive Devices through controlled explosions in several parts of Colombo city.

A parcel bomb left in a van parked near the Kochikade church which was attacked on Sunday, was defused on Monday. The controlled blast was misinterpreted as a terrorist attack by the media. A vehicle parked in the same area exploded when the STF tried to dispose of a bomb in it. There were no injuries.

87 pipe bombs were discovered near the Colombo airport on Sunday.

Given the number of explosives discovered it appears that the terror group involved had planned a major mayhem with casualties running into several hundreds.

Nine persons, who were arrested earlier for the bombing of Shangri-La hotel on Sunday, have been remanded till May 6.

Interpol To Join Investigations

Interpol is deploying a team of investigators, including experts in disaster victim identification, to Sri Lanka to help local authorities in the aftermath of deadly suicide bomb blasts that killed nearly 300 people, the international police organisation said Monday.

Sri Lanka said Monday it believed a local extremist group named National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) was behind the attacks and said it would look at whether the group had international support.

Interpol said it was deploying an Incident Response Team (IRT) at the request of the Sri Lanka authorities, including specialists with expertise in crime scene examination, explosives, counter-terror and victim identification.

If required, additional expertise in digital forensics, biometrics, as well as photo and video analysis will also be added to the team on the ground,” it added.

Interpol Secretary General Juergen Stock said the organisation will continue to provide whatever support is necessary.”

Information to help identify individuals linked to these attacks could come from anywhere in the world, which is where Interpol’s global network and databases can prove vital, especially for officers on the ground,” he said.

The death toll from Sunday’s attacks rose dramatically Monday to 290 — including dozens of foreigners — in the country’s worst attacks for over a decade.

More than 500 people were injured in the assault that saw suicide bombers hit three high-end hotels popular with foreign tourists, and three churches, unleashing carnage in Colombo and beyond.

Former CIA station chief on Sri Lanka deadly attacks: ‘This is by all accounts an intelligence failure’

April 22nd, 2019

By Talia Kaplan | Fox News

Former CIA station chief Daniel Hoffman called the deadly Easter Sunday explosions at multiple churches and hotels in Sri Lanka an intelligence failure.”

This is by all accounts an intelligence failure. Security services are responsible for penetrating local extremist groups, understanding their nexus to other overseas transnational groups and then collecting intelligence so they can pre-empt attacks and that didn’t happen in this case and as a result we have almost 300 dead and 500 wounded,” said Hoffman, a Fox News contributor, on America’s Newsroom” on Monday.

A pair holding dual U.S. and British nationalities was among the 11 foreigners killed after a series of explosions struck three churches and three luxury hotels in and just outside Sri Lanka’s capital Easter Sunday, leaving at least 290 people dead and more than 500 others injured, officials said.

EASTER SUNDAY EXPLOSIONS AT MULTIPLE CHURCHES AND HOTELS ROCK SRI LANKA, DEATH TOLL RISES PAST 200

The U.S. State Department confirmed in a statement that several U.S. citizens were among those killed” in the explosions, although no more information was immediately available.

One of the things I think we’ll be looking at is the number of Sri Lankans who traveled to the so-called Islamic caliphate, some of whom apparently have returned. Were they part of this group? Did they make contacts with Al Qaeda or with the Islamic state? Those are open questions,” said Hoffman.

He added, I just don’t believe this was a locally-conducted attack. There’s too many people. Already 24 arrested. It’s a massive undertaking with a support network I think that would demand international collaboration but we don’t have a lot of facts.”

The six nearly simultaneous blasts—followed hours later by two more explosions—marked the bloodshed as among the worst since the South Asian country’s 26-year civil war ended a decade ago, a spokesperson for the Sri Lanka police said.

POPE CELEBRATES EASTER SUNDAY AMID BLOODSHED IN SRI LANKA

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said all of the suicide bombers were Sri Lankan citizens from a domestic Muslim militant group named National Thowfeek Jamaath, but that authorities suspect foreign links.

Police said more than a dozen suspects have been arrested, though there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

This terrorist attack really bears all the hallmarks of an Al Qaeda attack, where you had three churches and three hotels frequented by foreigners all attacked over a short amount of time and over distance, that’s a traditional way that Al Qaeda likes to mount attacks. Multiple spectacular attacks to drive first responders to multiple areas and achieve maximum effect in the press afterwards,” said Hoffman. What’s surprising about this attack is that no one thus far has claimed responsibility.”

Kabir’s bombshell

April 22nd, 2019

Ukraine has elected a professional comedian, of all people, as its President. Guatemala is the first country to have had a vaudevillian as the Head of State, a columnist tells us in his article, on this page, today. Several other countries have done likewise if the freakish conduct of their leaders is anything to go by. Sri Lanka has been an exception, though. It does not elect jokers to govern it; instead, it handpicks idiots and places them at the levers of power. If there had been anyone with an iota of intelligence, within the ranks of the yahapalana government, he or she would have swiftly acted on a warning of impending terror attacks, issued by the state intelligence outfits, more than 10 days prior to the Easter Sunday carnage.

Police Spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekera did not look intelligent, at Sunday’s media briefing, when he refused to be drawn on the leaked intelligence document containing the aforesaid warning. There should have been a higher ranking officer, at the press conference, to field questions. The IGP himself should have been present there, given the gravity of the situation.

President Maithripala Sirisena, who is the Minister of Defence and the Commander-in-Chief, was out of the country on a private visit, at the time of the terror attacks. Cabinet Spokesman Dr. Rajitha Senaratne told the media, yesterday, that no Acting Defence Minister had been appointed during the President’s absence. Reading between the lines, one sees an attempt by the UNP to lay the blame for the government’s serious lapse solely at the President’s doorstep. The President and the UNP are notorious for playing political ping-pong on matters of national importance.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, addressing the media, on Sunday, promised a probe into the allegation that the intelligence warning, in question, had gone unheeded. He claimed that it had not been brought to the notice of the Cabinet. Curiously, Minister Harin Fernando told the media, on the same day, that his father, receiving treatment in hospital, had been aware of security threats and warned him to be careful. Is it that Minister Fernando’s father is better informed of security affairs than both the President and the Prime Minister? Will the police care to ask the minister and his father how they had been informed of the security threats?

Minister Kabir Hashim dropped a bombshell, at yesterday’s government media briefing, on the Easter Sunday mayhem and the security situation in the country. He revealed that he had, some moons ago, brought to President Maithripala Sirisena’s notice the existence of an extremist group and Sirisena had promised prompt action. Hashim’s secretary was shot by the extremist group in retaliation.

A subsequent police raid on a hideout, run by the group in Wanathavilluwe, Puttalam, had led to the arrest of two suspects, but they had been released due to the intervention of a powerful politician, Hashim said, revealing that one of them had carried out an attack on Sunday.

Hashim’s shocking revelation is a damning indictment on the yahapalana administration. It is incumbent upon the government to have a high-level probe conducted into the very serious allegation and name the politician who intervened to secure the release of the two high-profile suspects from police custody. Legal action must be taken against him, regardless of his position. He deserves to be thrown behind bars. Will the government get cracking?

It takes a lot of courage to stand up to extremism, and Minister Hashim deserves praise for taking on the murderous outfit at the risk of life and limb. He has set an example to the leaders of other communities, troubled by fanatics.

A Reflection on The Easter Sunday bombings FROM DEATH TO LIFE

April 22nd, 2019

By Bishop Duleep de Chickera Courtesy The Island

article_image

Our condolences

The tragedy of Good Friday returned on Easter Sunday when death suddenly struck scores of Christians celebrating the Festival of Life, yesterday.

Our condolences and continuing compassion must be extended to those whose loved ones were snatched away or injured, in places considered safe. Our sorrow and compassion should also specially encircle the families of all those visitors to our country who were killed and injured. We are deeply sorry at your loss in our land of hospitality.

Work for the people

The abrupt termination of Easter Day services on the advice of the police, was a strong reminder that our work is not yet finished. The solemn rising of the people to move out in their twos and threes, somewhat symbolized that this unfinished work now lies with the people of our country.

Bankrupt legislators

This is because our legislators are no longer able to steer our common destiny with responsibility. Most are simply unable to anticipate conflict and work for the common good; they have been immersed in self-interest for too long. Few can offer empathy to the victims of these crimes and even fewer have the ability to call the nation to engage in introspection, the need of the hour. The predictably emerging blame game, along with the typical public exploitation of human suffering, is ample evidence of this bankruptcy.

The potential of the people

The spontaneous response of medical and para-medical personnel, the police and armed forces and general public, in assisting the injured and the dying, is to be commended. This behaviour is a sacred sign of the immense potential our people have, to cross boundaries and heal wounds. It also indicates that we reach our highest human stature when we move beyond the invasion of political party agendas. We are to consequently prevent legislators from stealing our integrity to further their devious ends, in our work of nation building.

A day of national mourning and reflection

These heinous crimes must be condemned in the name of our common humanity. But, with the condemnation, we are to counter the intentions of the perpetrators who seek blood for blood. The declaration of a day of national mourning, and reflection, will help us rise to this task. If on this day people of diverse religious and secular persuasions will publicly gather to demonstrate solidarity with the grieved and ask what went wrong, our actions will be stronger than the intentions of the perpetrators.

If out of this crisis we will even now, read the signs of the times and come together to form continuing people’s movements to build social trust and assert dialogue as the best method of resolving our differences, we will then rise to a new life out of the ashes of the Easter Sunday bombings.

With peace and blessings to all

Kabir: Suspect released by police due to powerful politician’s intervention carried out Easter attack

April 22nd, 2019

By Ifham Nizam Courtesy The Island

One of the suicide bombers, who carried out the Easter Sunday attacks, had been released from police custody a few months back due to pressure from a powerful politician, Minister Kabir Hashim revealed, yesterday.

Fielding questions, Petroleum Resource Development Minister Kabir Hashim told The Island that following some incidents in the Mawanella area, Intelligence had unearthed cache of explosives at Lacktowatta in Wanathawilluwa, Puttalam. During the raid two key suspects were captured. However, due to the intervention of a powerful politician, they had been released and one of them had been involved in Sunday’s attacks, the Minister said.

In January, the CID obtained a three-month detention order from the Defence Secretary to interrogate those arrested with some 100 kilos of explosives and 100 detonators in Wanathawilluwa.

The suspects, including the owner of the land where some of the explosives were found buried, were arrested by the CID.

The CID also recovered 20 litres of nitrate acid, fuse wire, two firearms, a stock of ammunition, a computer, a camera and a stock of dry rations.

Minister Hashim said his secretary had been shot by the extremists in retaliation for the police raid on their hideout.

This haul of explosives was recovered following investigations carried out on the telephone numbers found in a mobile phone of a suspect arrested over the incident where Buddha statutes were vandalised at Mawanella in January.

Minister Rajitha Senaratne, yesterday, said that international intelligence agencies had warned the government, on April 04, of an impending attack in the country.

He told a media briefing at Temple Trees, that the Chief of National Intelligence had warned the Inspector General of Police (IGP) of the attacks before April 11. “We are waiting for the President to remove the IGP,” he added.

Hashim also said that the Prime Minister and the State Minister of Defence had not been invited to National Security Council (NDC) meetings since December last year.

Minister Senaratne claimed that the NSC had not complied with a request for a meeting with the Prime Minister on Sunday morning.

Commenting on Sunday’s attacks, Hashim said that a local organisation identified as the National Tawheed Jamath was suspected of plotting Sunday’s explosions. He added that all suicide bombers were believed to be Sri Lankans. “We are conducting investigations to find out whether there have been any foreign links.”

Fox’s Jesse Watters Says Dems Are ‘Pandering to Muslims’ by Using ‘Easter Worshippers’: ‘It’s a Made-Up Phrase’

April 22nd, 2019

Fox News host Jesse Watters went off on those referring to victims of the Sri Lanka bombings as Easter worshippers,” accusing them of making up a term in order to pander to Muslims.

Democrats, including former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clintonfaced a backlash from conservatives for using the term Easter worshippers” in their initial responses to the attacks.

Look at some of the leading Democrats, how they characterized it,” Watters said on The Five Monday. They didn’t use ‘Christians.’ They didn’t say ‘a lot of churches.’ They actually said ‘Easter worshipers were under attack.’ You don’t call Muslims ‘Ramadan worshipers.’ You don’t call Jews ‘Passover worshipers.’ It’s a made-up phrase.”

Watters continued: Why did they make up phrases like this? This is one of the reasons why people don’t trust liberals because they are not in touch with reality. They do this because they are pandering to Muslims. Because a lot of liberals feel they are so upset with how other people think about them and if they are thought up to be insensitive, that drives them crazy.”

It’s worth noting that Easter is an exclusively Christian holiday, so it’s unclear why using the term Easter worshippers” does much to obscure the faith of the victims. What’s more, the phrase is not made up – the same formulation has been used on the air at… Fox News

Massacre at Easter: The British brother and sister who fled the first Sri Lankan terror blast… only to be killed by a second explosion in the attack

April 22nd, 2019

By INDERDEEP BAINS and ARTHUR MARTIN IN COLOMBO FOR THE DAILY MAIL

  • Daniel Linsey, 19 and his sister Amelie, 15, escaped death in the dining room of the Shangri-La Hotel but died moments later when a second bomber struck
  • More than 300 people were killed in Easter Sunday’s eight coordinated attacks
  • Lawyer Ben Nicholson confirmed his wife and two children died in one blast
  • The island nation remains on lockdown and police have found more explosives  

A British teenage brother and sister escaped one of the Sri Lankan terror blasts only to be killed by a second, it was revealed last night.

Daniel Linsey, 19 and his younger sister Amelie, 15, were having breakfast with their father Matthew at the luxury Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo before their flight home.

The teenagers somehow survived when a suicide bomb was detonated among the diners, including many tourists. But they died moments later when a second bomber struck as they tried to escape the carnage.

They are among almost 300 people massacred – including six more Britons – after suicide bombers cut down tourists and Easter Sunday mass worshippers, including dozens of children.

Amelie Linsey, 15
Daniel Linsey, 19

Amelie Linsey, 15, left, and brother Daniel, 19, right, were in the dining room of the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo when a bomber struck but escaped, only to be killed moments later by a second terrorist’s blast

Last night, the island was under a state of emergency after the explosions. In other developments:

  • British father Ben Nicholson confirmed he had lost his whole family in the attacks. His wife Anita, 42 and their children Alex, 14, and Annabel, 11, were killed as they ate breakfast;
  • Asos billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen lost three of his four children in the attack while on holiday with his wife;
  • Senior Sri Lankan officials were repeatedly warned for three years that an attack would happen – but nothing was done because of political infighting;
  • Fears were growing that more explosives are on the streets after police found 87 detonators and a pipe bomb filled with 110lb of explosives – big enough to cause a 400-yard blast radius;
  • A video emerged of alleged ringleader Moulvi Zahran Hashim issuing threats against ‘infidels’ with a Union Jack in the background.

Devastated Mr Linsey, 61, an American city fund manager, returned to the family home in central London, yesterday to be with his British wife Angelina and his other two sons – aged 12 and 21 – who were not on the holiday. 

David Linsey, 21, told the Mail the family were on the last day of their Easter break: ‘They were due to fly home that day and had been having breakfast when the first bomb went off.

Amelie Linsey on a recent trip to Vietnam. She was killed, aged 15, in the Easter Sunday terror attack in Sri Lanka which claimed 300 lives including eight Britons

Amelie Linsey on a recent trip to Vietnam. She was killed, aged 15, in the Easter Sunday terror attack in Sri Lanka which claimed 300 lives including eight Britons

Londoner Matthew Linsey, pictured several years ago with his children Daniel and Amelie, both of whom were murdered on Easter Sunday

Londoner Matthew Linsey, pictured several years ago with his children Daniel and Amelie, both of whom were murdered on Easter Sunday

‘My dad said they were all caught up in a second explosion as they tried to escape. Both my brother and sister were instantly unconscious and were taken to hospital but they never woke up. My dad is shocked and has not said much apart from that. He is trying to be strong for my little brother who is 12 and my mum.’

Mr Linsey was said to have had suffered shrapnel wounds to his face and was yesterday being comforted by relatives at the family home. Oxford student David described how his father initially hoped Amelie had survived the impact of the blast as she had no major visible injuries.

‘At first they didn’t think Amelie was injured badly as there were no obvious wounds. Someone else took her to hospital but she must have had internal injuries.

‘I think they both died instantly as they never woke up. We cannot believe this has happened. I can’t describe just how devastating it is. You don’t think it will happen to you. We miss them so much already,’ he said. The devastated brother said the family has decided not to watch the news and were not ready to hear emerging questions about security blunders which could have prevented the deadly attacks.

He said the three had been on a trip of life time touring Asia over the Easter period and had travelled to Vietnam before arriving in Sri Lanka just days before the tragedy. He said: ‘They were really excited about it. It was supposed to be a nice Easter break and for them to spend time with my dad.

Ben Nicholson lost his wife Anita, 42 and their children Alex, 14, and Annabel, 11, who were killed as they ate breakfast

Ben Nicholson lost his wife Anita, 42 and their children Alex, 14, and Annabel, 11, who were killed as they ate breakfast

‘Daniel had always wanted to go to Sri Lanka and they had been to see the elephants.’

He said his brother, who was due to complete his A-levels, ‘loved travelling’ and planned to go to university to study tourism.

While Amelie, who was a pupil at the independent Godolphin and Latymer School, was said to have ‘loved looking after the family’ despite her young age. He said: ‘My sister was so loving, she was the centre of the family and kept us all together and my brother was one of the kindest people you could imagine.’

The siblings are among 291 people killed in the atrocities which have injured more than 500.

Many visitors have already left Sri Lanka, a popular holiday destination for Britons and other Western tourists. Shops and restaurants pulled down their shutters and cars stayed off usually busy roads as the government imposed a strict curfew.

Social media sites were shut down to avoid locals spreading panic with unfounded rumours.

A blood-spattered statue of Jesus Christ is pictured while crime scene officials inspect the site of a bomb blast, as the sun shines through the blown-out roof, inside St Sebastian's Church in Negombo

A blood-spattered statue of Jesus Christ is pictured while crime scene officials inspect the site of a bomb blast, as the sun shines through the blown-out roof, inside St Sebastian’s Church in Negombo

Sri Lankan military stand guard near the explosion site at a church in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan military stand guard near the explosion site at a church in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka

Hospital staff push a trolley with a casualty after an explosion at a church in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka

Hospital staff push a trolley with a casualty after an explosion at a church in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka

State minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene said investigators have identified the culprits behind the 'terrorist' attacks (pictuerd: Shangri La hotel, Colombo)

State minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene said investigators have identified the culprits behind the ‘terrorist’ attacks (pictuerd: Shangri La hotel, Colombo)

The police and the military were also granted draconian powers by Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena to detain and interrogate suspects without court orders. Chaos unfolded on the morning of Easter Sunday when coordinated blasts ripped through churches and luxury hotels carried out by seven suicide bombers from a militant group called National Thowheed Jamaath.

Two of the bombers blew themselves up at the Shangri-La Hotel on Colombo’s seafront. Others targeted three churches and two hotels. Footage of a bomber wearing a backpack wandering around a church moments before detonation emerged yesterday.

A fourth hotel and a house in a suburb of Colombo were also hit, but it was not immediately clear how those attacks were carried out.

A large bomb defused late on Sunday on an access road to the international airport, and another blew up in a van before it could experts could carry out a controlled explosion. Three police officers were killed by two suicide bombers who detonated their vests when their house was raided. One bomber was a woman who was married to one of the Shangri-La Hotel attackers.

Officials said nine suspects were remanded in custody yesterday – seven Muslims, one of Sinhalese background and one Tamil. Two women died in an explosion at a safe house linked to the unnamed suicide bomber who died at the Shangri-La Hotel. They are believed to be his wife and sister.

Julian Emmanuel, 48, an NHS doctor from Surrey, was in the Cinammon Grand hotel with his family and was in bed when a blast ripped through its restaurant. He said: ‘We saw someone who had an almost severed arm – there were shocked children covered in dust. It was all very traumatising. We will never forget this.’

An Australian survivor of the attack, identified only as Sam, described the scene as ‘absolute carnage’. He said he and a travel partner were having breakfast at the Shangri-La when two blasts went off. He said he had seen two men wearing backpacks seconds before the blasts.

Security forces inspect the St. Anthony's Shrine after an explosion hit St Anthony's Church in Kochchikade in Colombo

Security forces inspect the St. Anthony’s Shrine after an explosion hit St Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade in Colombo

A map showing where the eight blasts went off , six of them in very quick succession on Easter Sunday morning

A map showing where the eight blasts went off , six of them in very quick succession on Easter Sunday morning  

‘There were people screaming and dead bodies all around,’ he said. ‘Kids crying, kids on the ground, I don’t know if they were dead or not, just crazy.’ Doctors said the Islamic State-inspired terrorists filled the bombs with ball bearings and other pieces of metal to cause maximum damage.

Some victims suffered such horrific injuries that identifying their bodies could take some time.

Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said an international network was involved, but did not elaborate. Defence minister Ruwan Wijewardene said those responsible for the atrocities were religious extremists, but no group has yet claimed responsibility. The bombings represent the deadliest violence in Sri Lanka since a devastating civil war ended a decade ago on the island.

The Queen joined world leaders in offering her condolences in the wake of the terror attack, and paid tribute to the medical and emergency services helping out.

Scotland Yard said it is ‘continually monitoring’ the threats Britain faces, including to places of worship. The FBI and Interpol are assisting the investigation.

Local group with international links behind Easter Day attacks – government spokesman, Rajitha Senaratne

April 22nd, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

The Sri Lankan government has admitted it failed to act on multiple warnings before a coordinated series of attacks ripped through churches and hotels on Easter Sunday, and said it feared an international terror group might have been behind the atrocities.

A government spokesman, Rajitha Senaratne, revealed that warnings were received in the days before the attacks, which killed 290 people and injured at least 500 more, including from foreign intelligence services.

He said one of the warnings they received referred to Nations Thawahid Jaman (NTJ), a little-known local Islamist group which has previously defaced Buddhist statues. But Senaratne, who is also health minister, said he did not believe a local group could have acted alone. There must be a wider international network behind it,” he said.

A US official directly familiar with the US initial intelligence assessment said the group responsible for the attacks was likely to have been inspired by ISIS. No group has yet claimed responsibility.

The security situation remained fluid on Monday. Police found 87 detonators in a private terminal of the main bus station in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, and a controlled explosion was carried out on a van near St. Anthony’s church, one of three churches targeted in the attack. On Sunday evening, an improvised explosive device (IED) was defused near the capital’s Bandaranaike International Airport.

With the situation in flux, a dusk-til-dawn curfew was imposed for the second night in a row. Sri Lankan authorities declared a state of emergency from midnight Monday and said Tuesday would be a national day of mourning.

Intelligence failures would be investigated, Senaratne said. We saw the warnings and we saw the details given,” he told reporters at a press conference. We are very very sorry, as a government we have to say — we have to apologize to the families and the institutions about this incident.”
Police have arrested 24 people in connection with the suicide attacks, the worst violence the South Asian island has seen since its bloody civil war ended 10 years ago. A total of six suicide bombers were involved, Sri Lanka military spokesman Sumith Atapattu told CNN.

Most of the dead and injured were Sri Lankan. At least 39 tourists were killed and 28 injured, the country’s tourism minister said.

Of the foreign nationals who died, four were US citizens, eight were British, two of whom held dual US-UK nationality; as well as three Indians, two Australians, two Chinese cousins, one person from the Netherlands, two Turkish citizens and one Portuguese national. The blasts appear to have targeted tourism hotspots, as well as churches, in an effort to gain maximum global attention.

The attacks occurred in a period of political instability in Sri Lanka. In October, the Sri Lankan President attempted to depose the Prime Minister and replace him with a favored successor. That move backfired and the Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, was reinstated in December.

The President, Maithripala Sirisena, was out of the country at the time of Sunday’s attacks.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said warnings about a potential attack had not been shared with him or other government ministers. Sajith Premadasa, minister of housing construction and cultural affairs, said security officers were guilty of negligence and incompetence.”

It is unclear whether the details contained in the warning matched the atrocity that eventually took place on Sunday.

Little is known about the NTJ, the Islamist extremist organization that has been linked to the atrocities. There were doubts that it would have had the capacity to carry out such a sophisticated and coordinated attack alone. Transnational Islamists are known to operate in places like Pakistan, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

Source: CNN
-Agencies

Police did not share intelligence report on attacks – Army Chief

April 22nd, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

The intelligence services in the country are not integrated, says Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake.

He stated this addressing the media at the Catholic Archbishop’s House this morning (22).

The Army Chief called on His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith to discuss the Easter Day attacks that took place yesterday (21) and the situation prevailing in the country.

He stated that proper communication links should be established among all intelligence services in the country.

The police were informed of the intelligence report on the possible attacks, however, such information was not shared with the Army, Lieutenant General Senanayake stated.

The organization that is responsible for the attacks has been identified as of now and they are internationally backed, he further commented.

The Army Chief said that a request was made to confer the authority on the Army to take necessary actions to prevent such criminal acts.

Breakup of foreign nationals killed in Colombo blasts

April 22nd, 2019

Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

Colombo, April 22 (newsin.asia): As of Monday April 22, 2019 7.00 pm, the number of foreign nationals who have been identified as killed is 31.

The fatalities are: one from Bangladesh; two from China, eight from India, one from France, one from Japan, one from The Netherlands, one from Portugal, two from Saudi Arabia, one from Spain, two from Turkey, six from the UK, two holding US and UK nationalities, and two holding Australian and Sri Lankan nationalities.

Additionally, 14 foreign nationals are unaccounted for at present, and could be among the unidentified victims at the Colombo Judicial Medical Officer’s mortuary.

Seventeen foreign nationals injured in the attacks are receiving treatment at the Colombo National Hospital and a private hospital in Colombo while others have been treated and discharged.

The Foreign Ministry continues to be in close contact with the relevant hospital authorities to identify the remaining victims. The Ministry will continue to monitor the welfare of the foreign nationals receiving treatment.

An emergency hotline to assist families of the affected foreign nationals is operational at +94 112323015

Sri Lanka imposes emergency, says international network involved in attacks

April 22nd, 2019

By Sanjeev Miglani Courtesy news.trust.org

There was no claim of responsibility for the attack but suspicion was focusing on Islamist militants in the Buddhist-majority country

COLOMBO, April 22 (Reuters) – Sri Lanka said on Monday it was invoking emergency powers in the aftermath of devastating bomb attacks on hotels and churches, blamed on militants with foreign links, in which 290 people were killed and nearly 500 wounded.

The emergency law, which gives police and the military extensive powers to detain and interrogate suspects without court orders, will go into effect at midnight on Monday, the president’s office said.

Colombo, the seaside capital of the Indian Ocean island, was jittery on Monday. Police said 87 bomb detonators were found at the city’s main bus station, while an explosive went off near a church where scores were killed on Sunday when bomb squad officials were trying to defuse it.

A night curfew will go into effect at 8 p.m., the government announced.

There was no claim of responsibility for the attack but suspicion was focusing on Islamist militants in the Buddhist-majority country.

Investigators said seven suicide bombers took part in the attacks while a government spokesman said an international network was involved.

Police had received a tip-off of a possible attack on churches by a little-known domestic Islamist group some 10 days ago, according to a document seen by Reuters.

The intelligence report, dated April 11 and seen by Reuters, said a foreign intelligence agency had warned authorities of possible attacks on churches by the leader of the group, the National Thawheed Jama’ut. It was not immediately clear what action, if any, was taken on the tip-off.

Police said 24 people had been arrested, all of whom were Sri Lankan, but they gave no more details.

International anti-terrorism experts said even if a local group had carried out the attacks, it was likely that al Qaeda or Islamic State were involved, given the level of sophistication.

Two of the suicide bombers blew themselves up at the luxury Shangri-La Hotel on Colombo’s seafront, said Ariyananda Welianga, a senior official at the government’s forensic division. The others targeted three churches and two other hotels.

A fourth hotel and a house in a suburb of the capital Colombo were also hit, but it was not immediately clear how those attacks were carried out.

“Still the investigations are going on,” Welianga said.

Most of the attacks came during Easter services and when hotel guests were sitting down for breakfast buffets.

“Guests who had come for breakfast were lying on the floor, blood all over,” an employee at Kingsbury Hotel told Reuters.

Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said an international network was involved, but did not elaborate.

“We do not believe these attacks were carried out by a group of people who were confined to this country,” Senaratne said. “There was an international network without which these attacks could not have succeeded.”

The president, Maithripala Sirisena, said in a statement the government would seek foreign assistance to track the overseas links.

Sri Lanka was at war for decades with ethnic minority Tamil separatists, most of them Hindu, but violence had largely ended since the government victory in the civil war, 10 years ago.

Sri Lanka’s 22 million people include minority Christians, Muslims and Hindus.

FOREIGN VICTIMS

Most of the dead and wounded were Sri Lankans although government officials said 32 foreigners were killed, including British, U.S., Australian, Turkish, Indian, Chinese, Danish, Dutch and Portuguese nationals.

Denmark’s richest man Anders Holch Povlsen and his wife lost three of their four children in the attacks, a spokesman for his fashion firm said.

A British mother and son at breakfast at the Shangri-La, British media reported, while five Indian political workers were killed at the same hotel, relatives told Indian media.

The hotel said several guests and three employees were killed.

The U.S. State Department said in a travel advisory “terrorist groups” were plotting possible attacks in Sri Lanka and targets could include tourist spots, transport hubs, shopping malls, hotels, places of worship and airports.

There were fears the attacks could spark communal violence, with police reporting late on Sunday there had been a petrol bomb attack on a mosque in the northwest and arson attacks on two shops owned by Muslims in the west.

BOMB FOUND NEAR AIRPORT

Traffic was uncharacteristically thin in normally bustling Colombo after an island-wide curfew was lifted earlier Monday.

Soldiers with automatic weapons stood guard outside major hotels and the World Trade Centre in the business district, a Reuters witness said.

An Australian survivor, identified only as Sam, told Australia’s 3AW radio the hotel was a scene of “absolute carnage”.

He said he and a travel partner were having breakfast at the Shangri-La when two blasts went off. He said he had seen two men wearing backpacks seconds before the blasts.

“There were people screaming and dead bodies all around,” he said. “Kids crying, kids on the ground, I don’t know if they were dead or not, just crazy.”

There were similar scenes of carnage at two churches in or near Colombo, and a third church in the northeast town of Batticaloa, where worshippers had gathered. Pictures showed bodies on the ground and blood-spattered pews and statues.

Dozens were killed in a blast at the Gothic-style St Sebastian church in Katuwapitiya, north of Colombo. Police said they suspected it was a suicide attack.

Questions over why the intelligence report warning was not acted upon could feed into a feud between Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the president.

Sirisena fired the premier last year and installed opposition strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa in his stead. Weeks later, he was forced to re-instate Wickremesinghe because of pressure from the Supreme Court but their relationship is still fraught as a presidential election nears.

(Reporting by Sanjeev Miglani Additional reporting by Ranga Sirilal Writing by Paul Tait and Raju Gopalakrishnan; Editing by Michael Perry, Robert Birsel)

Sri Lanka bombings: Islamist group blamed but focus also on failure of security forces

April 22nd, 2019

Jason Burke Courtesy The Guardian (UK)

National Thowheeth Jama’ath named as perpetrators as focus shifts to warning received at least 10 days before

Mon 22 Apr 2019 12.54 BSTLast modified on Mon 22 Apr 2019 13.22 BST

Sri Lankan security forces secure the area around St Anthony’s Shrine, one of the churches targeted in multiple suicide bombings on Easter Sunday.
 Sri Lankan security forces secure the area around St Anthony’s Shrine, one of the churches targeted in multiple suicide bombings on Easter Sunday. Photograph: Getty Images

Sri Lankan officials have blamed a small local group called National Thowheeth Jama’ath for the bomb attacks on Sunday. It is unclear whether this assertion is based on new information discovered by investigators since the atrocity or a notice circulated by Sri Lankan police 10 days before the blasts, which said the group was planning suicide attacks against churches.

There is a similarly named Islamist organisation active on the island nation – the Sri Lanka Thowheeth Jama’ath. It is unclear if this group is the one referred to by the warning, which was based on information passed to Sri Lankan authorities by a foreign intelligence service, believed to be either India’s or the US’s.

The SLTJ is small, based in the east of Sri Lanka, and has been involved in extremist rhetoric as well as being linked to acts of vandalism against Buddhist statues. Its name describes a movement for the unity of God, a favourite label adopted by Islamist militants and a key concept in conservative strands of Islam.

Analysts point out multiple suicide bombings of six or possibly more targets require a significant logistical operation and months of planning. Such attackers may detonate their devices alone, but need careful management by handlers to keep them committed in the days and weeks before. Large quantities of military-grade explosives would also have been necessary, as well as safe houses and bomb-making workshops.

The targets – churches and luxury hotels in high-profile locations – are familiar from many previous attacks by Islamist extremists in south Asia and beyond. Though western attention has been diverted by violence closer to home, the region has had a high level of religiously motivated terrorism for decades. There has also been a surge in Hindu and Buddhist extremism in recent years.

Islamist militant attacks have largely been the work of local groups rather than major international organisations such as Islamic State and al-Qaida, despite the continuing efforts of both to expand in the arc between Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Each group has built links with local factions and individuals, working through what are effectively subcontractors”.

Sometimes the links have been more direct, however. At its peak, Isis successfully attracted a very significant number of recruits from the Maldives, the islands close to Sri Lanka, with which there are strong transport and commercial links.

From descriptions by witnesses, it appears likely the attackers were young local men. This would fit a longstanding rule that almost all terrorist attacks anywhere in the world primarily involve people living near or even brought up close to their targets.

Much of the focus is also now on the failure of the Sri Lankan security agencies. A key factor here is the degree to which different branches and factions within the police, intelligence and military are aligned with various politicians and political parties.

The telecommunications minister, Harin Fernando, gave an unwitting example of how politicised the vision of decision-makers can be. Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday, Fernando, who on Sunday night tweeted images of the memo from the Sri Lankan intelligence services dated 11 April, which laid out details of a possible planned attack, said the government also had not ruled out an attempted coup.

There are so many ways we could look at this, but right now our biggest priority would be to find what really led these eight or 10 or 12 men to carry out this attack,” he said. But we are not ruling out a coup as well.”

Shangri-La suicide bomber identified

April 22nd, 2019

Shehan Chamika Silva Courtesy The Daily Mirror

The police today informed Colombo Chef Magistrate’s Court that the suicide bomber of the Shangri-La hotel had been identified as Insan Seelavan and owned a factory in Avissawella- Wellampitiya road.

Nine employees of the said factory were arrested by the Wellampitiya Police and were remanded till May 6 after being produced in the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court.

The Police also informed the court that the suicide bomber was suspected to have links with other suicide killers died in the Dematagoda blast. (

Death toll increases to 290

April 22nd, 2019

Courtesy The Daily Mirror

The death toll for the Easter Sunday terror attacks has risen to 290 by Monday morning with 500 have been injured, Police Spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said.

He said 24 suspects are currently in the CID custody.

87 low explosive detonators found in Pettah

April 22nd, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

The police have recovered explosive detonators abandoned at the private bus stand in Bastian Mawatha, in Pettah, stated the Police Media Spokesperson.

Accordingly, 87 low explosive detonators have been found this way.

Sri Lanka to declare conditional state of emergency following terror attacks

April 22nd, 2019

Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

Colombo, April 22 (newsin.asia) – Sri Lanka’s National Security Council has announced that a conditional state of emergency will be declared from tonight, midnight, following the deadly attacks which ripped through Sri Lanka on Sunday.

The Sri Lanka government said they will also re-impose an islandwide night-time police curfew starting from 8.00pm Monday till 4.00am Tuesday.

A curfew was imposed on Sunday afternoon following the bombings in Sri Lanka which has so far killed 290 people. The curfew was lifted at dawn on Monday.

Meanwhile Health Minister, Rajitha Senaratnne said that the local Thawheed Jamaat was behind the deadly blasts and investigations were ongoing to see if they had any foreign links.

Another minor explosion reported in Colombo

April 22nd, 2019

Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

Colombo, April 22 (newsin.asia) – Another minor explosion was reported from Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo a short while ago when the bomb disposal squad tried to detonate a bomb which was found inside an abandoned vehicle.

The vehicle had been parked close to the church in Kochikade where a massive bomb exploded on Sunday causing many casualties.So far no injuries have been reported.

Meanwhile, the police also discovered 87 low explosives detonators at Colombo’s main bus stations in Pettah during special search operations. Police said that the explosives had been left abandoned.

Lankan President appoints three-man panel to look into blasts

April 22nd, 2019

Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

Colombo, April 22 (newsin.asia): The Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Monday appointed a three-man committee to go into Easter Sunday’s multiple blasts in Colombo, Negombo, and Batticaloa, and report back to him in two weeks’ time.

The members of the committee include Sri Lankan Supreme Court justice Vijith Malalgoda, form Inspector General of police N.k.Illangakoon.

The blasts in eight places took the lives of 290 persons, including, 36 foreign nationals, and left 500 injured.

The junior Minister of Defense Ruwan Wikewardene said that 24 persons have been arrested so far for questioning.

The police have a curfew from 8 pm on Monday to 4 am on Tuesday.

වනාතවිල්ලුව ප්‍රදේශයෙන් සොයා ගත් කිලෝ 100 ක පුපුරණ ද්‍රව්‍ය සහ ඩෙටනේටර් ආදී ආයුධ පරිහරණය කල මාවනැල්ලේ බුදු පිලිම කැඩූ මුස්ලිම් අන්තවාදී කල්ලිය සම්බන්ධ පරීක්ෂණ වලට සිදුවුනේ කුමක්ද?

April 22nd, 2019

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2019 වසර මුලදී වනාතවිල්ලුව ප්‍රදේශයෙන් සොයා ගත් කිලෝ 100 ක පුපුරණ ද්‍රව්‍ය සහ ඩෙටනේටර් ආදී ආයුධ පරිහරණය කල මාවනැල්ලේ බුදු පිලිම කැඩූ මුස්ලිම් අන්තවාදී කල්ලිය සම්බන්ධ පරීක්ෂණ වලට සිදුවුනේ කුමක්දැයි මා ඇතුලු රටේ ජනතාව හරි හැටි නොදන්නවා විය හැක..සමහර විට රටේ ජනතාව එවැනි සිදුවීමක් ගැන නොදන්නවාද විය හැක.

අද සිදුවූ අවාසනාවන්ත සිදුවීම් මාලාවට එම සිද්ධි දාමයේ අනිවාර්ය සම්බන්ධයක් තිබිය හැක. “ජනතාව කුපිත වීම වැලැක්වීම” යන සුප්‍රසිද්ධ “රහස් වලලා දැමීමේ න්‍යායට” අනුව ක්‍රියාකිරීමෙන් තව දුරටත් මේ රටේ ආරක්ෂාව සහ නිරායුධ ජනතාව අනතුරක හෙලීම නොකල යුතුය.

ප්‍රභාකරන්ගේ වියරු ත්‍රස්තවාදය ආරම්භ වූ සමයේ එය නියපොත්තෙන් කැඩීම අතපසු කරමින් වසර තිස් ගණනක් රට අමුසොහොනක් කල ලේ ගලා ගිය අතීතයෙන් පාඩම් උගෙන, අද බිහිසුනු මුස්ලිම් අන්තවාදී කණ්ඩායම් රට ගිලගන්නට සැරසෙන මේ පලමු අවස්ථාවේදීම එම අන්තවාදී කණ්ඩායම් ලක්පොලොවෙන් අතුගා දැමීමට රටේ ජීවත් වෙන සිංහල,දෙමල,මුස්ලිම්,බෞද්ධ,හින්දු,
කතෝලික ජනතාව පාලනය කරන පාලකයන් වහාම ක්‍රියාත්මක විය යුතුය..

එදා ප්‍රභාකරන්ලාගේ ත්‍රස්තවාදී බීජය අවස්ථාවාදී දෙමල දේශපාලකයන් විසින් ආරක්ෂා කල ආකාරයටම අද බිහිවෙන ඉස්ලාම් ත්‍රස්තවාදී බීජය අවස්ථාවාදී මුස්ලිම් දේශපාලකයන් එලිපිටම ආරක්ෂා කිරීම වහාම නවතා රටේ සමස්ත ජනතාවගේත් මතු පරපුරේත් ජීවිත සුරක්ෂිත කල යුතුය..

– මාලින්ද ඩයස්

අග්‍රාමාත්‍ය රනිල් සහ අමාත්‍යවරුන් වන මංගල සමරවීර සහ රාජිත සේනාරත්න බුද්ධි අංශ සහ ආරක්ෂක අංශ දුර්වල කරමින්, සහජීවනයේ නාමයෙන් මෙම ත්‍රස්තවාදීන්ට නිදහසේ කටයුතු කිරීමට පරිසරය සැකසුවේය.

April 22nd, 2019

FB Ishan Jayasooriya

පාස්කු ප්‍රහාරයට සම්බන්ධ වූ මරාගෙන මැරෙන බෝම්බකරුවෙක් මින් පෙර මාවනැල්ල සිදුවීමේදි අත්අඩංගුවට ගෙන පසුව දේශපාලන බලපෑම් නිසා නිදහස් කළ පුද්ගලයෙකි.

ඔහු නිදහස් කිරීමට බලපෑම් කර ඇත්තේ ජනපති මෛත්‍රීගේ ශ්‍රී ලංකා නිදහස් පක්ෂ පාර්ලිමේන්තු මන්ත්‍රී එම්. එල්. ඒ. එම් හිස්බුල්ලා ය.

දෙමටගොඩ ප්‍රහාරය එල්ල කිරීමට පහසුකම් සැපයූ කෝටිපති ව්‍යාපාරික මොහොමඩ් ඊබ්‍රහීම් මැද කොළඹ ප්‍රබල එක්සත් ජාතික පක්ෂ ආධාරකරුවෙකි. 2015 මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ රජය පරාජය කිරීමට දැඩි ලෙස කැපවූ අයෙකි.

ඔහු ජනතා විමුක්ති පෙරමුණ සමග ඉතා සමීපව දේශපාලනය කළ අතර ජනතා විමුක්ති පෙරමුණේ ජාතික ලයිස්තුවේ ස්ථානයක් පවා ලබා දීමට මොහොමඩ් ඊබ්‍රහීම් ජනතා විමුක්ති පෙරමුණේ ප්‍රබල ආධාරකරුවෙක් විය. ජවිපෙට සෑම මැතිවරණ ව්‍යාපාරයකටම කෝටි ගණනක මුදල් ආධාර ඊබ්‍රහීම්ගෙන් හිමිව තිබේ. ඒ සදහා ජවිපෙ කෘතගුණ දක්වා ඇත්තේ ඊබ්‍රහීම්ලාගේ අන්තවාදය සගවා සිංහලයන්ට චෝදනා කරමිනි.

ඊබ්‍රහීම් හොදම ව්‍යාපාරිකයෙකු ලෙස වර්තමාන රජයෙන් සම්මාන පවා දිනා ගත්තෙකි. එක්සත් ජාතික පක්ෂ කොළඹ දිස්ත්‍රීක් පාර්ලිමේන්තු මන්ත්‍රී මුජිබර් රහුමාන්, සුජීව සේනසිංහ හා අමාත්‍ය රිෂාද් බදියුදීන් ඊබ්‍රහීම්ගේ සමීපතම මිතුරන් ය.

මේ වනවිටත් කොළඹ නගරය පුරාවටම පුපුරණ ද්‍රව්‍ය සොයා ගනිමින් තිබේ. මේ සියල්ල තවුහීද් ජමාද් සංවිධානය නිදහසේ කොළඹට ගෙනැවිත් ස්ථානගත කළ ඒවාය. කොළඹ ත්‍රස්ත ක්‍රියා සදහා දේශපාලන අනුග්‍රහය හිමි වූයේ මුජිබර් රහුමාන්ගෙනි.

තවුහීද් ජමාද් මූලස්ථානය පැවතියේ කාත්තන්කුඩු ප්‍රදේශයේය. ඒ සදහා ආරක්ෂාව සහ අනුග්‍රහය හිමි වූයේ ජනපති මෛත්‍රීගේ පක්ෂය හා අගමැති රනිල්ගේ පක්ෂය නියෝජනය කරනා බදියුදීන් සහ හිස්බුල්ලාගෙනි.

අයිසීස් ත්‍රස්ත සංවිධානයේ ශ්‍රී ලාංකික ශාඛාව වන තවුහීද් ජමාද් සංවිධානයට දේශපාලන ආරක්ෂාව ලබා දුන්නේ රිෂාඩ් බදියුදීන්, හිස්බුල්ලා, අබ්දුල් කාසීම් සහ මුජිබර් රහුමාන් යන පාර්ලිමේන්තු මන්ත්‍රීවරුන් ය.

අනෙක් පසට අග්‍රාමාත්‍ය රනිල් සහ අමාත්‍යවරුන් වන මංගල සමරවීර සහ රාජිත සේනාරත්න බුද්ධි අංශ සහ ආරක්ෂක අංශ දුර්වල කරමින්, සහජීවනයේ නාමයෙන් මෙම ත්‍රස්තවාදීන්ට නිදහසේ කටයුතු කිරීමට පරිසරය සැකසුවේය. ඔවුන් නිරතුරුව සිංහල ජනතාව දෙස සැකයෙන් බලමින් ඔවුන් පීඩනයට ලක් කළ අතර සැබෑ අන්තවාදයට ප්‍රබල ආරක්ෂාවක් ලබා දී එය සහජීවනය යැයි කීවේය.

මේ වනවිට අත්අඩංගුවේ පසුවන ත්‍රස්තවාදීන් පවා දේශපාලන බලපෑම් හමුවේ නිදහස් වූවද පුදුම විය යුතු නැත. වත්මන් රජය එතරම් ත්‍රස්ත හිතවාදී ආණ්ඩුවකි.

Ishan Jayasooriya

Did ISIS help plot the carnage? With suicide vests, Christians targeted on a religious holiday and a brutal contempt for civilian lives, the Sri Lankan bombings bear all the hallmarks of the terror group

April 21st, 2019

Courtesy Mail online

  • 207 people died, including five Britons, and 450 were injured in Sri Lankan blasts
  • 13 suspects were arrested but no nation or group has claimed responsibility
  • The attack bears the hallmarks of IS: explicitly targeting civilians, designed to cause maximum terror and bloodshed, and perpetrated on a Christian holiday 

By LARISSA BROWN, DEFENCE AND SECURITY EDITOR FOR THE DAILY MAIL

After living through a bloody civil war that dragged on for three decades, the people of Sri Lanka are no strangers to terror.

But the carnage that unfolded yesterday saw the country’s enemies take on new depths of depravity.

It had all the hallmarks of the barbaric Islamic State group – executed meticulously and without mercy.

Within minutes of yesterday’s blasts, MI5 was trying to establish if there were any British links to those who could be behind the plot. There were no immediate claims of responsibility, nor any established motive for the attack, although 13 suspects had been arrested by last night.

Early evidence pointed to the National Thowheed Jamaath (NTJ), a relatively unknown radical Islamist group said to have formed in Kattankudy, a Muslim-dominated town in eastern Sri Lanka, in 2014. 

Alex and Anita Nicholson photographed in London in 2015. Both were killed in the bomb blast in the Shangri-La hotel

Alex and Anita Nicholson photographed in London in 2015. Both were killed in the bomb blast in the Shangri-La hotel  

Last photo: Shantha Mayadunne (second left) and her daughter Nisanga (right) were among the victims of the Sri Lanka bomb attacks on Sunday. The family posted this picture of their Easter breakfast at the Shangri-La hotel just before the blast there

Last photo: Shantha Mayadunne (second left) and her daughter Nisanga (right) were among the victims of the Sri Lanka bomb attacks on Sunday. The family posted this picture of their Easter breakfast at the Shangri-La hotel just before the blast there

A map showing where the eight blasts went off today, six of them in very quick succession on Easter Sunday morning

A map showing where the eight blasts went off today, six of them in very quick succession on Easter Sunday morning  

ISIS militants marching in Raqqa, Syria, in 2014. This year the fundamentalists were driven from the last land they occupied but security experts have warned of 'pop up' terror cells

ISIS militants marching in Raqqa, Syria, in 2014. This year the fundamentalists were driven from the last land they occupied but security experts have warned of ‘pop up’ terror cells

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It has no history of mass fatality attacks.

In fact, its only mention appears to be last year when it was linked to the vandalism of Buddhist statues.

Sources in the Muslim community in Sri Lanka claim the group has publicly supported Islamic State. They also say that Zahran Hashim, named in reports as one of the bombers, was its founder.

Although intelligence files on the group are small, there is no doubt the warning signs were there.

On April 11, Sri Lankan police circulated a document entitled ‘Information of an alleged plan attack’ which said they had been warned by an unnamed foreign intelligence agency that the NTJ was plotting suicide attacks on churches in Colombo.

It added that intelligence pointed to any of the following methods: suicide attack, weapon attack or truck attack.

The original warning is most likely to have come from Australia – one of the ‘five eyes’ with a close intelligence-sharing relationship with Britain – that has kept watch on the rise of extremism in the region.

Documents show that Sri Lanka’s police chief Pujuth Jayasundara then issued an intelligence alert to top officers, specifically warning that suicide bombers planned to hit ‘prominent churches’.

Sri Lanka's defence ministry has now ordered curfew with immediate effect 'until further notice', and the Sri Lankan government said it had shut down access to social media messaging services, sources say

 Sri Lanka’s defence ministry has now ordered curfew with immediate effect ‘until further notice’, and the Sri Lankan government said it had shut down access to social media messaging services, sources say

Hospital staff push a trolley with a casualty after an explosion at a church in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka

Hospital staff push a trolley with a casualty after an explosion at a church in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka

A crime scene official inspects the site of a bomb blast inside a church in Negombo, Sri Lanka, which lost half its roof tiles with the force of the blast

A crime scene official inspects the site of a bomb blast inside a church in Negombo, Sri Lanka, which lost half its roof tiles with the force of the blast

Documents even named six individuals as likely suicide bombers, including Hashim. Yesterday, the seemingly far-fetched plan became frighteningly real.

Why the police did not sound the alarm earlier will remain a mystery. Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe admitted that information about the attacks had been received in advance but denied having direct knowledge himself. ‘We must look into why adequate precautions were not taken. Neither I nor the ministers were kept informed,’ he said following intense anger in the community.

Whichever group was behind yesterday’s attack, it was most certainly inspired by the tactics used by IS. The suicide bombings explicitly targeted civilians, designed to create maximum terror for maximum effect – like the Manchester Arena bombings and the London Bridge attack.

They also chose iconic locations packed full of people, including many foreigners.

IS – which lost its final sliver of territory in Syria just weeks ago – also has a history of staging attacks against Christians on holy days, notably Christmas and Easter.

British military chiefs and ministers have long warned that the defeat of the terror group in the Middle East does not mean it has been vanquished.

They have referred to a ‘pop-up’ IS involving the group emerging elsewhere, often in states where they can exploit a vacuum. They have specifically warned of the rising threat from such diehard jihadis in south-east Asia.

IS fostered a brand which was so effective other terror groups wanted to be associated with it.

Some radicalised Muslims travelled from Sri Lanka to Syria to fight in that country’s civil war.

In 2016, the justice minister said 32 Sri Lankan Muslims from ‘well-educated and elite’ families had joined IS in Syria.

The recent loss of its last territory makes it even more likely that foreign fighters from countries such as Sri Lanka may now be returning home.

Terrorism expert Raffaello Pantucci says the demise of the group’s ‘caliphate’ could have persuaded extremists to stay in their countries and mount attacks there instead. ‘Think how big Islamic State’s footprint is,’ he said. ‘This means it has a reverse effect as well – their ideas are going out to a big pool of places.’

Sri Lankan military stand guard near the explosion site at a church in Batticaloa,with police tape keeping out bysanders

Sri Lankan military stand guard near the explosion site at a church in Batticaloa,with police tape keeping out bysanders

Security forces inspect the St. Anthony's Shrine after an explosion hit St Anthony's Church in Kochchikade in Colombo

Security forces inspect the St. Anthony’s Shrine after an explosion hit St Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade in Colombo

State minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene said investigators have identified the culprits behind the 'terrorist' attacks (pictuerd: Shangri La hotel, Colombo)

State minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene said investigators have identified the culprits behind the ‘terrorist’ attacks (pictuerd: Shangri La hotel, Colombo)

Yesterday’s bombings end a decade of relative peace in Sri Lanka following the end of its civil war in 2009. Terrorist bombings were common during the brutal 25-year struggle during which the Sri Lankan government fought Tamil separatism.

But despite the period of calm, much bitterness and grievance has remained in the country, riven by ethnic disputes.

Sri Lanka, which is mainly Buddhist, does not have a recent history of persecution of its Christian minority, which comprises 7 per cent of the population.

Yet its relations with others, including Hindus and Muslims, have not always been easy. Over the years there has been an increasing rise of discontent among Sri Lanka’s Muslim community, which make up 10 per cent of the population.

In November 1990, many were expelled from their homes in the north and have since been living as ‘displaced’ in the southern part of the country, under the patronage of the state.

Whatever the motives behind yesterday’s attack, there is little doubt that the brutal tactics used by Islamic State will continue to inspire others.

SRI LANKA TERRORISM HAS HALLMARKS OF PREVIOUS ATTACKS

April 21st, 2019

BY SETH J. FRANTZMAN Courtesy The Jerusalem Post

When it comes to mass murder and coordinated terror attacks, we have a long list of experiences to compare.

coordinated series of attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday conjures up memories of previous terrorist attacks. Striking at worshipers at prayer reminds us of the Christchurch Mosque shootings in New Zealand on March 15. It also appears linked to previous Easter attacks, including the 2017 Palm Sunday assault in Egypt in 2017 in which 45 people were murdered, and the terrorist attack in Lahore in 2016 that killed 75. In coordination and the number of sites chosen it is also similar to the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166.

It is a hallmark of our era that when it comes to mass murder and coordinated terrorist attacks we have a long list of past experiences to choose from. In the last decades the growing number of terrorist attacks by far-right Islamist extremists, white nationalists and others has become an almost daily event. Last week gunmen, allegedly terrorists from Iran, murdered 14 people in western Pakistan in an attack on Pakistani security forces. Earlier in April, a bombing attack – not widely reported outside Pakistan and thought to be carried out by the Islamic State – targeted Shi’ites in Quetta. And on Friday there was an attack made on government institutions in Kabul. On Sunday, after the attacks in Sri Lanka, terrorist incidents were also reported in Mali, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, showing the global reach of extremist organizations, many of them linked to ISIS.Read More Related Articles

Recommended byNot all attacks are the same. The ones in Pakistan and Afghanistan specifically struck at the military and government. The one in Quetta targeted minorities. But there are methods that are similar, and there are networks of groups which learn from each other, specifically ISIS and its affiliates. ISIS has built upon decades of experience gained from al-Qaeda, and other groups that have perfected their methods.
The full picture of the Sri Lankan attacks was still becoming clear on Sunday afternoon as Sri Lanka imposed a curfew and police launched raids searching for perpetrators. Pakistan’s spokesman for its Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement in the afternoon condemning the terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka.” Pakistan says it stands with Sri Lanka. Iran’s Javad Zarif also condemned the attacks as terror, noting that terrorism has no religion. Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe condemned the cowardly attacks.” Seven were reported detained.

Sri Lanka has a long history fighting terrorism. It was generally fighting against Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a separatist movement that was largely defeated in 2009. The Tamil fighters were rooted in the Tamil Hindu minority of the Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka. Christians make up only around 8% of the country, and Muslims an additional 12%. In 2016, Sri Lanka revealed that 32 Sri Lankans had joined ISIS and left the country. Many were said to be from educated families, something that surprised authorities. The local Muslim community condemned the government’s statements as tarnishing the image” of Sri Lankan Muslims. An Australian member of ISIS was similarly shown to have a respected uncle back home in Sri Lanka. Other reports indicated ISIS members in India had connections to Sri Lanka, and there were concerns after the defeat of ISIS about returnees from the terrorist group. This appears similar to the extremism in Bangladesh before the 2016 Dhaka attack that was carried out by educated ISIS members who targeted foreigners in a café.

While Easter attacks are carried out by Islamist extremist groups, including the ones in Pakistan and Egypt already mentioned, and an attack in Iraq in 2011, the complex and coordinated nature of the attack in Sri Lanka looks more like those in Mumbai in 2008. In that year, 12 coordinated bombings and shooting attacks were perpetrated across Mumbai, including at a café, the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, the Oberoi Trident Hotel, and at the local Chabad house. That attack was coordinated by Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan. Unlike the bombings in Sri Lanka, the attack was carried out by gunmen.

The attacks in Sri Lanka struck three churches: St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo and Batticaloa’s Zion Church, according to Pakistan’s The Dawn newspaper. Police initially estimated that only 20 were killed but soon revised that number to 137, with 45 murdered in Colombo, 25 in Batticaloa, and 67 in Negombo. By nightfall the death toll exceeded 200 and two smaller attacks had taken place, including a suicide bomber who reportedly killed three police. Three major hotels were struck in Colombo, all of them in a line along a major road that links several important central districts of the city. These included the Cinnamon Grand, Shangri-La and Kingsbury.

Sri Lankan Police Chief Pujuth Jayasundara had reportedly warned in April about a threat of attacks targeting churches and the Indian High Commission office, near the hotels that were targeted. In his security notice he had pointed to a local Islamic group. But it isn’t entirely clear if the police chief was convinced there was a threat, as security did not appear to be increased before Easter, the most high-profile holiday to follow.

After the attack in New Zealand, there has been heightened awareness of the threat of attacks on religious institutions and people at prayer. The outpouring of support in the wake of the Christchurch massacre is a lesson for Sri Lanka about the kind of support it will now need. If the death toll is as high as initial reports indicate, this attack will be one of the worst of its kind in recent memory. But these kinds of attacks have become more normal in recent years. Governments have not found a way to prevent them, even with the latest technology and intelligence sharing.

National Thowheeth Jama’ath’s hand in Sri Lankan blasts suspected

April 21st, 2019

NEENA GOPAL Courtesy The Deccan Chronicle

Six members of the NTJ were reportedly arrested when police homed in on one of their hideouts in the city.

A view of St. Sebastian’s Church damaged in blast in Negombo, north of Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Sunday. (Photo: AFP)

 A view of St. Sebastian’s Church damaged in blast in Negombo, north of Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Sunday. (Photo: AFP)

Bengaluru: Hours after the first six bombs tore through some of the Sri Lankan capital’s most revered Christian shrines, followed by two more, shattering a decade-long hiatus from a 30-year-long bloody campaign by the separatist Tamil Tigers, the island nation may be facing a fresh and far more virulent threat posed by a radical Muslim group in the form of the National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ).

Six members of the NTJ were reportedly arrested when police homed in on one of their hideouts in the city.

A warning by Indian intelligence that the NTJ, a virulently anti-Buddhist group that was linked to the vandalisation of Buddhist statues would target churches in Colombo as well as the Indian High Commission and possibly, an Indian owned hotel, the Taj Samudra, only minutes away from the Cinnamon Grand and the Shangri-La hotels — both of which were attacked — had been sent to the Sri Lankan authorities on April 7.

A letter, seen by Deccan Chronicle, from the Sri Lankan police chief, Pujuth Jayasundara, dated April 11, to his police officers, in which he sends out a nation-wide alert and clearly states that suicide bombers planned to blow up ‘prominent churches’ and the Indian High commission, remained unheeded. One of the two suicide missions targeted the Cinnamon Grand on Sunday.

The letter sent on April 11 warning of a terror attack.

The letter sent on April 11 warning of a terror attack.

The government of President Maithripala Sirisena which is run by his arch-rival Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe admitted that they had been informed of the alert, but only after the Sri Lankan capital faced an attack that is now being compared in scale, to 9/11. Mr Wickremesinghe said he did not know why he wasn’t informed of the threat. High level diplomats in Sri Lankan missions told DC they had no knowledge of the alert.

In January, Sri Lankan police seized a haul of explosives and detonators stashed near a wildlife sanctuary following the arrest of four men from NTJ, the newly-formed radical Muslim group.

The Muslim community in Sri Lanka has been largely peaceful, distancing itself from the Tamil separatists, among whom were a number of Christians.

Tensions between the Buddhist and Muslim community boiled over in 2014, when riots broke in Kalutara, after the Bodhu Bala Sena, a Buddhist group incited a rampage against Muslims, and a blanket ban was imposed on reporting the incidents.

Intelligence sources however said Sunday’s Easter Day bombings may have been the NTJ’s payback for the Christchurch massacre. Some reports suggest that IS, which has no presence in Sri Lanka but does operate in the Maldives, saw the Easter Sunday congregations as the perfect target to level scores.

Anti-Buddhist NTJ behind attack?

April 21st, 2019

NEENA GOPAL THE ASIAN AGE. 

Warning by Indian intelligence sent on April 7 went unheeded.

Sri Lankan firefighters stand in the area around St. Anthony's Shrine after a blast in Colombo, Sri Lanka. (Photo: AP)

 Sri Lankan firefighters stand in the area around St. Anthony’s Shrine after a blast in Colombo, Sri Lanka. (Photo: AP)

Bengaluru: Hours after the first six bombs tore through some of the Sri Lankan capital’s most revered Christian shrines, followed by two more, shattering a 10-year hiatus from a 30-year-long bloody campaign by the Tamil Tigers, the island nation may be facing a fresh and far more virulent threat posed by a radical Muslim group in the form of the National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ). Six members of the NTJ were reportedly arrested when the police homed in one of their hideouts in the city.

A warning by Indian intelligence that NTJ, a virulently anti-Buddhist group that was linked to the vandalisation of Buddhist statues, would target churches in Colombo as well as the Indian high commission and possibly the Indian-owned Taj Samudra hotel, only minutes away from the Cinnamon Grand and ShangriLa hotels — both of which were attacked — was sent to the Sri Lankan authorities on April 7.

A letter, seen by this newspaper, from Sri Lankan police chief Pujuth Jayasundara, dated April 11, to his officers, in which he sends out a nationwide alert and clearly states that suicide bombers planned to blow up prominent churches” and the Indian high commission, remained unheeded. One of the two suicide missions targeted the Cinnamon Grand on Sunday morning.

The government of President Maithripala Sirisena which is run by his arch-rival Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe admitted that they had been informed of the alert, but only after the Sri Lankan capital faced an attack that is now being compared in scale to 9/11. Mr Wickremesinghe said he did not know why he wasn’t informed of the threat. High-level diplomats in Sri Lankan missions told this newspaper that they had no knowledge of the alert.

However, in January, the Sri Lankan police seized a haul of explosives and detonators stashed near a wildlife sanctuary following the arrest of four men from NTJ, the newly-formed radical Muslim group.

The Muslim community in Sri Lanka has been largely peaceful, distancing itself from the Tamil separatists, among whom were a number of Christians. Tensions between the Buddhist and Muslims had boiled over in 2014, when riots broke in Kalutara, after the Bodhu Bala Sena, a Buddhist group, incited a rampage against Muslims, and a blanket ban was imposed on reporting the incidents.

Intelligence sources, however, said Sunday’s Easter Day bombings may have been the NTJ’s payback for the Christchurch massacre. Some reports suggest that ISIS, which has no presence in Sri Lanka, but does operate in the Maldives, saw the Easter Sunday congregations as the perfect target to level scores.

FINANCIAL EXPLOITERS

April 21st, 2019

ALI SUKHANVER

CPEC has become a pain in the neck of the forces hostile to Pakistan. They know it very well that CPEC is a life-line of Pakistan and after completion this project is going to give Pakistan a new economic boost. This project would certainly liberate Pakistan from the economic exploitation of the institutions like IMF which are simply like tools in the hands of US. Recently it was reported in media that IMF is pressuring Pakistan to either slow down work on the CPEC or come out of it. Coming out of the CPEC or slowing it down means spoiling China’s wonderful contribution to Pakistan’s future. IMF has asked the government to make the revenue target of Rs5400 billion for the next budgetary year. Commenting on IMF’s terms and conditions Dr. Ashfaque Hasan Khan, a renowned economist said that GDP growth numbers worked out by the IFIs such as 3.9 percent by the ADB, 3.4 percent by the World Bank and 2.7 percent by the IMF served nothing but to push Pakistan to the Fund on strict terms.  He said by these figures one can easily make it out, on the one side, the Fund is predicting the lowest GDP growth, on the other side it is asking for 40 percent growth in revenue. The contradictions clearly show the world powers are blackmailing Pakistan with IMF bailout package. In short the international hostile forces are pushing Pakistan to an alley of economic exploitation.

Another example of economic exploitation of the counties like Pakistan is the Grey List prepared by FATF. The abbreviation FATF stands for Financial Action Task Force. Since 2000, the FATF is issuing a black list consisting of the names of the countries which it judges to be non-cooperative in the global fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. Such countries are given the name of Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories. In short FATF’s grey list includes countries that are not doing enough to fight money laundering and terrorist financing. This list keeps on changing with the passage of time and the names of those countries are struck off which take serious action in the light of guidelines provided by FATF. Pakistan’s name had been in the grey-list for three years, i.e., from 2012 to 2015. Later on, the Task Force recognized Pakistan’s efforts and removed its name from the grey list in 2015. Unfortunately in spite of Pakistan’s all successful efforts against the money-launderers and terrorist financers, once again Pakistan’s name was included in FATF’s grey-list. Experts say that this inclusion was a result of conspiracy of the forces hostile to Pakistan’s progress, peace and prosperity. On top of the list of such countries were USA and India. These two countries spent a lot of resources on lobbying against Pakistan in shape of a well planned media war. By defaming and blaming the religious parties and their leaders; by fixing and framing sometimes Hafiz Saeed and sometimes Molana Masood Azhar, these countries did all their best to achieve their objective and ultimately succeeded in dragging back Pakistan’s name in FATF’s grey list somewhere in mid of June 2018. But Pakistan did not lose heart and kept on bringing the things back into the order desired by FATF. The Khaleej Times has recently reported that Pakistan is going to be excluded from   FATF’s grey list by September 2019.

Now it is in the news that FATF team is satisfied with Pakistan’s overall efforts and action plan to fight the menace of money laundering and terror-financing. Certainly the present government of Pakistan is doing all its best for the financial stability of the country by keeping a strict eye on all those who are providing a chance to the forces hostile to defame Pakistan by getting involved in financial malpractices.  The determination of our government in this matter is really admirably commendable. If Pakistan’s name is excluded from the grey-list, it would save Pakistan from an annual loss of approximately $10 billion. To keep the country safe from the ‘grey-list conspiracy’ in future the government of Pakistan has tightened the security along Pak-Afghan and Pak-Iran borders and certainly the Line of Control is also being observed and guarded very strictly as international watch-dogs consider these routs as the ‘ key routes’ for money laundering and terror-financing. It is really a hard luck for Pakistan that its neighbouring countries never miss a chance of joining hands with the forces hostile to Pakistan but in spite of all these facts we the Pakistanis have a lot of courage to face and defeat all such conspiracies.

ශ්‍රී ලාංකීය ඉතිහාසයතුල අඳුරුතම දිනයක්

April 21st, 2019

ජාතික විද්වත් සංවිධානය

ශ්‍රී ලාංකීය ඉතිහාසයතුල අඳුරුතම දිනයක් සනිටුහන් කරමින් 2019 අප්‍රේල් 21 වන පාස්කු ඉරු දින කොච්චිකඩේ සාන්ත අන්තෝනි, මීගමුව කටුවාපිටිය ශාන්ත සෙබස්තියන්  මඩකලපුව සියොන් යන දේවස්ථාන තුන ඇතුලු ස්ථාන හයක  සිදුවූ බෝම්බ පිපිරවීම  බෞද්ධ, කතෝලික, හින්දු හා මුස්ලිම් ඇතුලු සියලු ආගම් නියෝජනය ශ්‍රී ලාංකීය ජනතාව අතිශය සංවේගයට සහ  ලජ්ජාවට පත් කල සිදුවීම් ලෙස හෙලා දකින ජාතික විද්වත් සංවිධානය පොදුවේ ශ්‍රී ලාංකීය ජනතාවටත් විශේෂයෙන් සිද්ධිය නිසා මියගිය හා තුවාල ලැබූ අයගේ පවුල් වල සාමාජිකයින් ඇතුලු කතෝලික ප්‍රජාව වෙත සිය කණගාටුව ප්‍රකාශ කර සිටී.

ආගමික හෝ දේශපාලන ප්‍රචණ්ඩත්වය විසින් කිසිම ප්‍රජාවකට අත්කරදෙන කුමන හො ජග්‍රහනයන් නොමැති බව තරයේ අවධාරණය ජාතික විද්වත් සංවිධානය  මෙම සංවේදී මොහොතේ වගකීමෙන් හා සාමකාමීව කටයුතු කරන ලෙස සියලු පුරවැසින්ගෙන් ඉල්ලා සිටී එසේම මෙම අවාසනවන්ත මොහොත සිය පටු දේශපාලන අභිමතාර්ථයන් ඉටු කරගැනීම ස‍ඳහා අවස්ථාවාදී ලෙස ප්‍රායෝජනයට නෙගන්නා ලෙස සියලු දේශපාලන කණ්ඩායම් වලින් ඉල්ලා සිටීමට කැමැත්තෙමු ආගමික සහ ජාතිකත්වයන් අතර සහජීවනයටත් ලෝක ප්‍රජාවතුල ශ්‍රී ලාංකීය නාමයටත් ඛේදනීය අනතුරක් සිදුව ඇති මේ මොහොතේ අපට අවශ්‍ය වන්නේ වගකීම් සහගත ක්‍රියාත්මක වීම් ප්‍රකාශ සහ තොරතුරු හැර මහජනතාව නොමග යවන හෝ ප්‍රකෝපයට පත්කරන අවස්ථාවදය නොවේ.

පුරවැසියන් ගේ ආරක්ෂාවත් නීතියේ ආධිපත්‍යයත් තහවුරු කරන ලෙස අදාල බලධාරීන්ගෙන් ඉල්ලා සිටින ජාතික විද්වත් සංවිධානය සාමකාමීව සහ වගකීමෙන් යුතුව කටයුතු කරන ලෙස ජනතාවගෙන් ඉල්ලා සිටී.

පුරවැසි වගකීම ඉටුකිරීමට ජනතාව පෙරට ආ යුතුයි.

April 21st, 2019

පූජ්‍ය වකමුල්ලේ උදිත හිමි ලේකම්  ජාතික භික්‍ෂු පෙරමුණ.

අද උදෑසන සිට තැනින් තැන සිදුවන හදිසි පිපිරීම් නිසා මුළු රටම මේ වන විට දැඩි නොසන්සුන්කාරී තත්වයකට පත්ව ඇත. මේ දක්වාම රජය මගින් මෙම සිදුවීම් දාමය පිළිබඳව නිවැරදි ප‍්‍රකාශයක් කර නැත. එම නිසාම මෙහි ව්‍යාකූලත්වය තවත් බරපතල වී තිබේ. ප‍්‍රහාරයන්ගෙන් ජීවිතක්‍ෂයට පත්වී සිටින සිංහල, දෙමළ, මුස්ළිම්, බර්ගර්, මැලේ ශී‍්‍ර ලාංකීය හා විදේශීය සියලූ දෙනා වෙනුවෙන් ජාතික භික්‍ෂු පෙරමුණ දැඩි සංවේගය පළකර සිටින අතර මෙම ප‍්‍රහාරය දැඩිව හෙළා දකින්නෙමු. එසේම මෙම ප‍්‍රහාරයට සම්බන්ධ සැබෑ වගඋත්තරකරුවන් සොයා අත්අඩංගුවට ගෙන නීතිය ක‍්‍රියාත්මක කිරීමත් ආණ්ඩුවේ වගකීමක් බව අවධාරණය කරන අතර මෙම ප‍්‍රහාර මාලාවට මුවා වී විවිධ පුද්ගලයන්ට හා සංවිධානවලට එල්ල විය හැකි අභූත චෝදනා හා හිංසාකාරී ක‍්‍රියාකාරකම් වැළැක්වීම වෙනුවෙන් ආණ්ඩුව කඩිනම් වැඩපිළිවෙලක් ක‍්‍රියාත්මක කළ යුතුව ඇත. එසේම ජනතාවද තමන්ගේ පුරවැසි වගකීම පටු සීමාවන්ට කොටු නොවී ඉටු කිරීම සඳහා පෙරමුණ ගත යුතුව ඇති බවද අපි අවධාරණය කරන්නෙමු.

රාජ්‍ය ආරක්‍ෂාව තහවුරු කිරීම සඳහා පූර්ණ වගකීම දැරිය යුත්තේ පවතින ආණ්ඩුවයි. ඒ සඳහා විවිධ තොරතුරු සේවා සහ ආරක්‍ෂක විධිවිධාන රාශියක් ආණ්ඩු විසින් අනුගමනය කරමින් සිටී. එසේ තිබියදී හදිසියේ මෙවැනි ප‍්‍රහාර මාලාවක් සිදුවීම සම්බන්ධයෙන් ආණ්ඩුව දැඩිව අවධානය යොමුකළ යුතුව ඇත. ජාතික ආරක්‍ෂාව පිළිබඳව ආණ්ඩුව මීට වඩා සැලකිල්ලෙන් කටයුතු කළ යුතු බව අවධාරණය කරන අප මේ සිදුවීම හමුවේ විවිධ සංවිධාන හා පුද්ගලයන් තමන්ගේ පටු අරමුණු ඉටුකර ගැනීම සඳහා විවිධ උත්සාහයන් ගත හැකි බැවින් ඒ පිළිබඳව වඩාත් වැඩි අවධානයකින් ජනතාව සිටිය යුතු බවද අවධාරණය කිරීමට කැමැත්තෙමු. එසේම මේ මොහොතේ රට තුල සාමකාමී වාතාවරණයක් ගොඩනැගීම සඳහා මහා සංඝරත්නය මෙන්ම ක‍්‍රිස්තියානි, ඉස්ලාම් හා හින්දු ආගමික නායකත්වයට සුවිශේෂී වගකීමක් පැවරෙන බවද එකී වගකීම දැරීම සඳහා කටයුතු කළ යුතු බවද අපගේ අදහසයි.

මෙම ප‍්‍රහාර මාළාවෙන් තුවාල ලබා රෝහල් ගතව සිටින සැමට ඉක්මන් සුවය ලැබේවායි ප‍්‍රාර්ථනා කරන ජාතික භික්‍ෂු පෙරමුණ මෙම ඛේදවාචකය නිසා විපතට පත් සියලූ ජනයා සමග සමසේ දුක, වේදනාව, සංවේගය බෙදා ගැනීමට සියලූ ශී‍්‍ර ලාංකික භික්‍ෂු මහා සංඝයා නියෝජනය කරමින් ඉදිරිපත්වන බවද අවධාරනය කරන්නෙමු.

Buffet bomber: Terrorist waited in line for breakfast and then set off bomb

April 21st, 2019

Courtesy NZHerald

One of the Sri Lanka terrorist bombers checked into a five-star hotel, waited in a queue for a breakfast buffet and then blew himself up, it has emerged.

A manager at the Cinnamon Grand hotel in Colombo said the attacker had set off the horrific explosion in a packed restaurant at 8.30am.

The bomber had checked in under a false address, claiming he was in the city on business, before unleashing terror on one of the hotel’s busiest days of the year.

At least 207 people have died in the eight Easter Sunday blasts, including Brits, Americans and Dutch nationals.

Security forces inspect the scene after a blast targeting The Kingsbury hotel in Colombo. It was one of three hotels targetted in the co-ordinated attacks. Photo / AP
Security forces inspect the scene after a blast targeting The Kingsbury hotel in Colombo. It was one of three hotels targetted in the co-ordinated attacks. Photo / AP

The bombings targeted hotels such as the Cinnamon Grand which are popular with foreign visitors, as well as St Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, also frequented by tourists.

Other blasts were reported at St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, a majority-Catholic town, and at Zion Church in the eastern town of Batticalo.

Describing the Cinnamon Grand bombing, the manager said the attacker had registered the night before as Mohamed Azzam Mohamed.

The bomber was just about to be served when he set off the explosives which were strapped to his back, killing himself and numerous guests.

The manager said: ‘There was utter chaos. It was 8.30 am and it was busy. It was families.

“He came up to the top of the queue and set off the blast. One of our managers who was welcoming guests was among those killed instantly.”

Pipe bomb detonated on road to airport

April 21st, 2019

Courtesy The Sydney Morning Herald

A pipe bomb was found near Colombo’s airport, according to officials.

The bomb was found on a road near Bandaranaike International Airport and detonated by explosives experts, Air Force spokesman Gihan Seneviratne told Bloomberg.

Three police officers were killed while searching a suspected safe house in the outskirts of Colombo in the eighth explosion on Easter Sunday. The occupants of the house reportedly detonated explosives to prevent arrest.

The explosions tore through congregations at churches in Colombo, nearby Negombo and the eastern Sri Lankan town of Batticaloa.

The hotels hit in Colombo were the Shangri-La, the Kingsbury, the Cinnamon Grand and the Tropical Inn.

Lankan President appoints commission as police make headway in blasts investigation

April 21st, 2019

Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

Colombo, April 21 (newsin.asia): The Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday decided to appoint a commission to inquire into the Eastern Sunday serial blasts in Colombo and three other towns in which 228 persons, including nine foreigners, were killed and 470 injured. The media reported that the President would ask the commission to submit a report within two weeks.

Meanwhile, the police have recovered the van in which the explosives used in the carnage were carried. The van was found in Ramakrishna Road in Wellawatte in South Colombo. Its driver has been arrested. The police had earlier arrested seven persons in connection with the eight blasts in two fire-star hotels in Colombo, and churches in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa.

The police have also discovered a house in Sarikkamulla, in Panadura, south of Colombo, which had been a shelter for the terrorists.

Death toll from multiple blasts in Sri Lanka rises to 228

April 21st, 2019

Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

Colombo, April 21 (newsin.asia) – The death toll from the multiple blasts which ripped across Sri Lanka on Sunday has risen to 228 while over 450 have been injured.

The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) in a statement said that 32 foreigners from China, Belgium, USA, and UK were among those killed.

The police have imposed an island-wide curfew which will stay indefinitely.

State Minister of Defence, Ruwan Wijewardene called Sunday’s attacks a terrorist attack carried out by extremist groups”, and said a full investigation will be conducted to find out who was responsible for the attacks. He said 7 people have been arrested so far and the police are on the lookout for more suspects.

Police spokesperson Ruwan Gunasekera said the police were not able to divulge who was responsible for Sunday’s attacks till the full investigations are complete.

Four Indian nationals killed in Colombo blasts

April 21st, 2019

Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

Kasargode, April 22 (The Hindu): Four Indian nationals were killed in the Colombo serial blasts while six others are reported to have escaped with minor injuries.

The four victims have been identified as P.S. Raseena, Lakshmi, Narayan Chandrashekhar, Ramesh.

Businessman and TDP leader Amilineni Surendrababu and five of his friends, who were on holiday inSri Lankaand staying at the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo, had a narrow escape as blasts hit the hotel on Sunday morning. Superintendent of Police, Anantapur, G.V.G. Ashok Kumar said the six Indians were safe, but could not be contacted.

However, Ms Raseena, from Mogral Puthur of Kasargode district in Kerala was not so lucky and was killed even as she was checking out of the same hotel. According to relatives, Ms. Raseena and her husband Khader Kukadi, an engineer working in Dubai, were on a holiday in Colombo. Mr Kukadi had checked out of the hotel earlier on Sunday and left for Dubai while Ms Raseena was to leave the hotel and visit her brother, Mr. Bahseer, a resident of Colombo. Mr. Basheer, who was to pick Mr Raseena from the hotel, later identified her body at a city hospital.

Steps for flying down the body of Razeena who was killed in a blast at a hotel in Sri Lanka to the State are progressing, the Chief Minister’s office has informed.

In a press communique, the CMO said that the Department of Non-Resident Keralites Affairs is in touch with the relatives of Razeena as well as the Indian High Commissioner’s office in Sri Lanka. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan condoled the death of Razeena.

Mr. Vijayan said that the blasts that occurred on an Easter day point to the communal elements and also underlines the need for freeing countries from the clutch of such elements who nurture intolerance. He condemned the incident and declared solidarity with those involved in a fight against intolerance and communalism.

Lankan intelligence had warned that Mohamad Sararan of “Nations Thawahid Jaman” was to stage a suicide attack’

April 21st, 2019

Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

Colombo, April 22 (newsin.asia): Before the blasts in Colombo and other towns in Sri Lanka on Sunday, a memo warned of a potential attack and requested heightened security, a police source told CNN.

State Intelligence service had said in the memo that information had been received regarding an alleged plan of suicidal attack by the leader of ‘ Nations Thawahid Jaman” Mohomad Saharan.

The memo was dated April 11 and was signed by Sri Lanka’s Deputy Inspector General of police. Priyalal Dissanayake

Sri Lankan Minister of Telecommunication Harin Fernando tweeted a picture of the memo on Sunday.

Some intelligence officers were aware of this incidence. Therefore there was a delay in action. What my father heard was also from an intelligence officer. Serious action needs to be taken as to why this warning was ignored. I was in Badulla last night,” he wrote.

CNN obtained a copy of the memo. Here’s what it says:

April 11, 2019

Director/ Ministerial Security Division
Director/ Judicial security division
Director/ Retired presidents security Division
Acting Director/ Diplomatic security Division
Acting Director/ Retired presidents security Division

INFORMATION OF AN ALLEGED PLAN ATTACK

Reference to the letter of the defence ministry with regard to the above and the statement of IGP dated 2019.04.09 ref : STAFF05/IGP/PS/OUT/2860/19,

2. We would like to draw your special attention to the a page no 2 to 4 of the statement of the State Intelligence service stating that information has been received regarding an alleged plan of suicidal attack by the leader of ‘ Nations Thawahid Jaman ‘ Mohomad Saharan .

3. According to information of that statement ,would like you to give special attention and inform your staff to provide special security measures to the areas covered by your division.

Priyalal Dissanayake
Deputy Inspector General of Police

Harin tweets intelligence memo warning of a planned attack

April 21st, 2019

Courtesy The Daily Mirror

Minister Harin Fernando today tweeted the image of an internal memo and report by the police intelligence of a terror attack to be carried out by an organisation called National Thawheed Jamath.

Some intelligence officers were aware of this incidence. Therefore there was a delay in action. What my father heard was also from an intelligence officer. Serious action need to be taken as to why this warning was ignored. I was in Badulla last night,” the minister tweeted.

The letter signed by the DIG and dated on April 11 was addressed to a number of key officials in the security services including the Directors of the Ministerial Security Division (MSD), Former Presidents’ Security Division and the Ambassadors Security Division.

The letter titled Information of an alleged plan attack” said the state intelligence services had received information from a foreign intelligence service to the effect that National Thowheed Jamath Leader Mohammed Zahran was about to launch a suicide bomb attack in Sri Lanka targeting famous catholic churches and the Indian High Commission.

In the letter, the DIG requested the concerned authorities to pay attention to the information and to beef up the security provided to VIP personnel and to the locations.

Intelligence failures, soft-peddling envelopes deadliest suicide attacks in Sri Lanka

April 21st, 2019

Hafeel Farisz  Courtesy The Daily Mirror

Two men checked into the Shangri-La which now takes pride of place in the heart of the city on April 20, 2019. They had provided an address in Dematagoda when checking in. Close to 9 a.m. yesterday (April 21) the duo detonated two bombs. One at the packed restaurant cum cafeteria on the 3rd floor of the super luxurious hotel, at which many families had come to indulge in a scrumptious Easter Breakfast, and the next on the corridor of the same floor close to the elevators- not too far from each other. The two explosions rocked the Hotel, with the death toll yet unconfirmed.

This was after the twin explosions at two revered Churches, in Kochchikade and Katana were reported.

The first explosion was at the revered church of St Anthony’s, just outside the city after which the second at the Katuwapitiya Church.

The bombings at the city hotels took place right after. A few minutes after, a massive explosion was reported from the Zion Church in Batticaloa. Police Spokesperson SP Ruwan Gunasekara failed to give specific times.

They were all between 8.45 a.m. and 9.05,” he said.

My ears are still reeling” a worker at Shangri La, who spoke to Daily Mirror last evening said.

We didn’t know what happened,” he said. Foreigners and locals had gathered to identify bodies scattered on the floor. Many still in shock and disbelief.

Many are still missing”, hotel sources said giving a number of those who are yet to be reported back safe.

Another explosion was also reported from the Kingsbury Hotel. At around the same time, the Taprobane Restaurant at the Cinnamon Grand Restaurant, rife with the same festive delight was rocked by an explosion. All three are located at the heart of the city’s establishment.

Sleuths were quick to navigate through the Shangri-la blast.

The suspects were booked to room 616 they told the Daily Mirror. They had recovered two iPhone chargers and other pamphlets and paraphernalia associated with extremist ideology, they said.

They zeroed down on the leads to a building in Dematagoda where they arrested three persons. Three officers were killed as a result of twin explosions around the safe house.

Investigators on the scene said that the Shangri-La blast was a result of at least 25 kilo grams of C-4 explosives. The conclusions are based on initial investigations and await formal confirmation by the Government Analyst.

The Indian media were the first to ascribe blame, giving rise to disbelief initially and speculation thereafter. Top ranking sources informed the Daily Mirror that it was around noon that they uncovered certain identities of the suspects.

However, Indian media was rife with identities of individuals and ideology at least 30 minutes prior. It is uncertain as to how such news was given or gained, with many theories being floated. One is that the Indian Intelligence Agency had warned their Lankan counterparts of the attack.

Sources confirmed that a letter signed by Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Priyalal Dasanayake dated April 11 which was widely circulated through social media pertaining to an impending attack, was authentic. The Secretary of Defense and the Establishment did not deny knowledge of the warnings of an attack. The letter specifies the suspected perpetrators too. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also confirmed that information was there”.

Officials sources, however, denied or soft-peddled either willingly or unwillingly the reach of the suspects and their motives. SP Gunasekara at a press conference held at the Ministry of Defense insisted that it was only locals” but did not identify a group. At a meeting held prior to the press conference, for the heads of Media, the Entire Security Establishment insisted that it was all local”.

One group, according to them, had been identified and zeroed in on. At the official presser, journalists were told that 3 persons were under arrest whilst at the previously closed door meeting the number given was 7. The final count was Thirteen persons arrested with 10 detained. Gunasekara, when questioned on the letter, said:

It is still under investigation”. It couldn’t have been lost on him that the investigation” was a mere phone call away, from the person said to have signed the letter.

Unofficially all sources including those at the top rung said that the suspects were all a part of one single ideology. They were all a part of a Radical Islamist group” they confirmed together with the identities of the suspects.

The many questions that arise out of the blanket press story” together with the unofficial titbits were left unanswered.

How did the group form, and why does the State machinery insist that they were acting in isolation? Could they have acted in total isolation? How do normal local Muslims decide to attack another minority group if not any group? What was the ideology and were the perpetrator’s mere actors? How far and wide does the ideology seep in within the local community? What did it take to ensure coordinated suicide blasts around Churches and Hotels at the heart of the country? Who was behind the brainwashing of the individuals and where was the training from? The only local” narrative has to fail, and the questions posed are those of an ordinary civilian. The many other questions which have not been posed must be, and answers must be given. soon.

The local Muslim communities in the Island are in shock and understandably so. The Muslim community was a minority community living on the island with no history of violence. Throughout the millennia of existence, the Muslims were an integral part and parcel of the islands rich heritage and culture. They were ‘Bhoomiputhras’ alongside the other communities.

There was another explosion at Tropical Inn Dehiwala, just beside the National Zoological Gardens at around 1.45 pm killing two. It is unclear as to why or how a motel cum hall was chosen as the target or if the target was missed. The Dematagoda house at which two explosions occurred killing three Crime Divisions officers was the final fatality to a morbid day in Colombo. There were reports of a shoot out in the area too with reports being hazy.

A vehicle was ceased in Ramakrishna Road Wellawatte, suspected to have been used to transport some of the suspects late in the evening. Sources continue to confirm that a safe house in Panadura has been identified, obtained via a prominent online store for rent of Rs. 45,000 a month two months ago.

Information still remains guarded.

We can’t hamper investigations” we were told. But slowly a picture is being painted. The picture of how the deadliest terror attack was perpetrated and by whom is yet to emerge. Only that the picture must be painted fully and accurately, for the public to decide on what course the Island Nations future should take. (

Easter Day Explosions: Death toll hikes to 207, over 450 injured

April 21st, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

A total of 207 deaths have been reported in the eight explosions which occurred around the country on Easter Sunday (21).

According to the Police Media Spokesperson, over 450 persons have been injured in the explosions which shook the country.

Three policemen dead in Dematagoda blast

April 21st, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

Three police officers have been reported dead from an explosion at Mahawila Gardens housing scheme in Dematagoda.

Zooming on Sooka

April 21st, 2019

By Shivanthi Ranasinghe Courtesy Ceylon Today

By Shivanthi Ranasinghe


Yasmin Sooka was rolling with glee when she was asked, How did the former Defence Secretary get caught?” Her answer was that it was sheer hubris that led Gotabaya Rajapaksa to take one last chance to visit America. According to her thinking his visit to a Trader Joe’s store proves his arrogance. 

She exclaims, Justice may take a long time, but when it does come, it happens”. Her whole perception was, as if, Rajapaksa had already been convicted, thrown behind bars and the key thrown away.


In reality, he had been informed of only two civil cases had been filed against him. It was not even summons for him to appear before court. He has time to respond to the charges and the onus of proving his guilt is squarely on the shoulders of the plaintiff. 

Good luck to the plaintiffs if they are being advised by Yasmin Sooka with the rest of the legal team also, like her, is unable to differentiate between conviction and of being simply informed.


Clearly, for the plaintiffs’ legal team this simple act of getting the papers across to Rajapaksa had been a huge challenge and its success worth popping the Champaign bottle open. 

Though she found it incredible that he had the audacity to visit a Trader Joe’s store, there’s nothing unusual going to the place. It is as if one finds it the height of arrogance to be shopping at Keells, Aripco, Food City or any of the other supermarkets. After all, Trader Joe’s is simply an American chain of grocery stores based in Monrovia, California with 474 stores in 43 States.


This very simple and straightforward process had been portrayed as if all this time Rajapaska had been in hiding, scurrying from one dark corner to the next before he was finally tracked down and served. It is as if a dangerous mission was bravely accomplished. Hence, the question, how did the former Defence Secretary get caught?”


In truth, handing the papers to Rajapaksa could not have been such a difficult task. He as a dual citizen; has assets, a residence (and as such a permanent address) and family in America. He is in the habit of visiting the country at least two-three times a year and almost always coinciding with the holidays. 

When he returns to America he spends a month or so in the country visiting his family and friends. Even people in Sri Lanka, even those who are not ‘monitoring’ him to prosecute him, know of this routine. 

We know because photos of him with his family and friends regularly appear in social media. Therefore, not much skill was needed to ‘track him down’.


Therefore, there is absolutely no justification at all to wait 10 years to file a civil lawsuit against him. Either, this attests to the sheer incompetence of the plaintiffs’ legal team or there is an ulterior motive in the timing.

 In the absence of any conclusive investigations to pin the blame on Rajapaksa or the fact that he is not even a respondent to any of these investigations, many are sceptical of the lawsuits’ outcome.


Long hound


Trying to entangle Rajapaksa in a legal battle has been in operation since 2015. It was just 10 days after the Yahapalana Government assumed power on 9 January, 2015 that Ryan Goodman wrote to New York Times (under the caption, ‘Helping Sri Lanka’s New Democracy’) that ‘The former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, and his brother, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, aren’t politically dead yet…Independent observers have long viewed Gotabaya Rajapaksa as an obstacle, perhaps even more than his brother…’. 

Therefore, ‘It is in the new Government’s interest to move decisively to protect its democratic victory by eliminating the threat of Rajapaksa’s return to power…’


However Goodman notes, ‘Proceeding against  Rajapaksa will be politically challenging for the new Sri Lankan government to do on its own…The United States could help by signalling its own interest in opening a criminal case against  Rajapaksa in the event that Sri Lanka doesn’t. That would give the new government both an opportunity and a justification to clean its house. 

Because of  Rajapaksa’s citizenship, the United States would also be less vulnerable to accusations that it was meddling in the affairs of another nation.’


To be fair, it is not as if the Yahapalana Government did not heed Goodman’s advice for they really did try. First there was this brouhaha over the alleged disappearance of the Ekneligoda case.

 An entire Military Intelligence team was taken into remand custody and most were detained for over a year. The officers and men were chained, handcuffed and paraded before the media while been taken to and from the courts.


The officers and some of their spouses submitted affidavits to the Human Rights Commission against the officer in charge of the investigation. He was accused of exerting severe pressure on them to state that they acted on Rajapaksa’s orders.

 The Human Rights Commission is usually very vociferous, especially when the allegations are against the Sri Lanka Security Forces. However, the course of action taken on these affidavits is not clear.


Since then we have had the second senior officer in the Sri Lanka Navy Commodore DKP Dassanayake along with few other officers taken into custody for their alleged involvement in the abduction of 11 persons. Again, the pressure on them was to pin Rajapaksa to the crime.


When that did not work, Major General Amal Karunasekera who was the Military Intelligence Director during the height of the war and later the Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Army was detained, over the assault of Nation Editor Keith Noyahr. 

His arrest was considered a major breakthrough in the case. Much publicity was given to the Police team that went to Australia to get Noyahr’s statement. However, the actual statement did not receive the same attention.


Likewise, high ranking officers of the Army, Navy and the Police had been detained over cases such as the 2012 Welikada Prison riots, assassination of Lasantha Wickrematunge, and the death of Thajudeen. 

The investigations have gone even to the extent of exhuming the bodies of Wickrematunge and Thajudeen. Yet, none of these investigations have been successfully concluded.


All these investigations appear to be geared on narrowing on Rajapaska. After Commodore DKP Dasanayaka’s arrest, the next move was to arrest the then Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda and from him to Rajapaksa. Due to severe opposition from the public and Buddhist clergy, it had not been possible to arrest Admiral Karannagoda.


Publicity stunts


For all purposes, this new civil lawsuits appear to be another politically motivated media stunt. At the beginning of the Yahapalana Regime, we saw a lot of these kinds of media shows. 

We saw various MPs carrying huge piles of files to CID, FCID and CIABOC with an entourage of reporters and cameramen. Just in front of the gate there would be the inevitable voice cut promising justice. None of these had moved an inch beyond that step. 

Now, even the local media appears to have got bored with these side shows and does not give as much prominence, as they once did.


Justice and Sooka


If Sooka is really after justice, then she is after the wrong person. She ought to turn her radar on the likes of Adel Balasingham. Then, Sooka would not have to canvass others also to join the lawsuit.

 According to LTTE’s own record, they had deployed around 300 men and women on suicide missions. 

This dubious credit goes to Balasingham for she played a pivotal role in creating these human bombs. In doing so, she is not only responsible for the death and destruction of thousands of lives, but also an ancient culture that revolved around deity.


Today, Balasingham is living very comfortably in London along with many other terrorist hierarchies without a single Human Rights lawyer zooming on any one of them.


[email protected]

Lasantha’s murder: A factual analysis

April 21st, 2019

By Udaya P Gammanpila Courtesy Ceylon Today

It was a memorable post found in Facebook towards late 2015. It said May aanduwen godagiye dennayi. Ea Lasanthayi Thajudeenuyi vitharayi meaning Only two people have come up under this government. 

They were Lasantha and Thajudeen because their bodies were taken out from their graves”. The deaths of Lasantha and Thajudeen were hot topics during the Presidential Election campaign in 2015. 

Their so-called friends forgot about them after being elected to power. All of a sudden, they have become the focus again after the dissolution of Parliament. Their bodies were taken out from the graves. Soon after the Election, they were able to rest in peace again. 

They became a topic once again only at the last local authority Election held in February 2018. As usual, they were conveniently forgotten soon after the Election. Since the Presidential Election is round the corner, Lasantha’s murder has begun to generate events and news again.


Unethical journalism


Some may be critical of his unethical journalism. I was also highly critical about his politically motivated journalism in which he distorted or suppressed material facts for the advantage of the UNP. Since I closely associated with him, I was about to directly tell my views to his face. 

A few chose the most productive option of challenging him before a court of law. However, nobody had the right to grab his life just because he has unjustly hurt him.


It is unfair by Lasantha for me to mention only the dark side of his journalism. Lasantha should be credited for disclosing several massive corrupt deals and deceptions which were not disclosed by other Media due to fear or favour. If he conducted his investigative journalism without political bias, he would have been honoured by the entire nation with great enthusiasm.


When I allege that Lasantha’s writing was politically motivated, he should be given the opportunity to defend himself. Hence, the truth should be determined by an impartial court after giving a fair hearing to both sides. I have no right to hear my own case and punish Lasantha. Hence, Lasantha’s murder is not a mere homicide, it is an attempt to destroy Media freedom.


Lasantha’s murderers have not been identified yet. However, nobody has doubts about the person behind the murder. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, then the Leader of the Opposition made a revelation about the person responsible for the murder, within 24 hours. 

Addressing Parliament on 9 January 2009, He said that Lasantha was murdered by an army unit directly under Army Commander Sarath Fonseka. He has repeated the same with diplomats on the same day according to a cable sent by then US ambassador on 13 January. This cable is now available on the WikiLeaks website.


Military unit


The UNP had been maintaining the stand that there was a military unit under General Fonseka which abducted and tortured journalists. The then Chief Opposition Whip, Joseph Michael Perera informed Parliament on 8 January 2008 that there was a trend of abducting, torturing and killing journalists. He further said that General Fonseka was behind these illegal activities.


Not only the UNP, Lasantha’s family had identified General Fonseka as the person responsible for the murder. In an interview with ‘The Independent’ of UK in February 2013, Lal Wickrematunga, the brother of Lasantha, said that he had informed the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in writing that General Fonseka was responsible for the murder of his brother.


Ardent UNP supporters


Just like Lasantha, his family are also ardent supporters of the UNP. Not only UNP leaders even Lasantha’s family loved the UNP more than Lasantha as evinced by subsequent events. President Rajapaksa had decided to call for an early Presidential Election to exploit the advantage of the military victory. 

In order to prevent President Rajapaksa receiving the advantage of the military victory, another war hero should be fielded by the Opposition. As President Rajapaksa was ranked the Number One war hero, former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Army Commander Fonseka were ranked second and third respectively. 

The Opposition did not in their wildest dreams expect Gotabaya Rajapaksa to contest against his own brother. Hence, they targeted General Fonseka.


Conspiracy


As a result of a massive operation, which can also be dubbed as a conspiracy, Fonseka agreed to be the Opposition’s presidential candidate. 

Nine months was just not enough to erase the memory of Lasantha who sacrificed his life for the cause of the UNP. Surprisingly, the UNP chose Fonseka as their candidate and who had been identified by the UNP itself as the person responsible for the murder of their beloved Lasantha. 

The genuine surprise came from Lasantha’s family. They surprised the entire country by deciding to support Fonseka’s candidacy. Fedrica Janz, the successor to Lasantha at Sunday Leader, testified before the court that the Sunday Leader management decided to support Sarath Fonseka at the presidential election, at a meeting chaired by Lal Wickrematunga.


Murdered


Lasantha was murdered in broad daylight. Nobody says he committed suicide. Hence, the UNP and the Wickrematunga family had to find a scapegoat to acquit Fonseka of the unpardonable allegation. Their scapegoat was Gotabaya. The UNP considered Gotabaya as the biggest threat at a future Presidential Election. 

Hence, they transferred the charge from Fonseka to Gotabaya. However, they were cautious not to conduct a genuine investigation because if they did so, police dogs would reach UNP headquarters along the leads to find the true culprits of the murder.


legal action


Meanwhile, Lasantha’s daughter has filed legal action against Gotabaya in the US when he was there, for the murder of her father. Being a US citizen, Gotabaya had visited the US so many times since Lasantha’s murder. 

He visited the US three times within a year in 2018. Lasantha’s daughter never wanted to  file action against him during any of those opportunities. Does she have a specific reason to file action this time around? Of course, yes. 

Gotabaya announced his intention of running for presidency in January 2019. He filed an application for renunciation of his US citizenship in March 2019 which is a pre-requisite for the candidacy. The UNP now wants to prevent Gotabaya from contesting the presidency. In the least they want to sling mud at him.


There is no impact whatsoever on Gotabaya’s renunciation of US citizenship caused by the legal action filed by Lasantha’s daughter. In their attempt to insult Gotabaya, the UNP has insulted itself by shamelessly selling Lasantha’s murder once again for political gain. The UNP is attempting to run with the hare while hunting with the hounds. I genuinely feel sorry for Lasantha since his loved ones have also become a part of this dirty game of politics!

Yes, A Mahatma Got Us Independence. His Name Was Subhas Chandra Bose

April 21st, 2019

by Koenraad Elst  Courtesy Swarajymag

Subhas Chandra Bose 

Subhas Chandra Bose 

Snapshot
  • Popular history had us all believe that it was because of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi that India is independent today.But the truth lies buried away deep, and purposely too, by those who find it difficult to digest.

Bose or Gandhi: Who Got India Her Freedom? G D Bakshi. K W Publishers Pvt Ltd. 244 pages. Rs 500.

General GD Bakshi is not just anyone. After retiring from the army, he became a well-known television face applying his military knowledge both to the contemporary political debate and to classical cultures, e.g. the strategic aspect of the Mahabharata war. Everyone in India knows the story that on his very first day in service, in 1971, he was called to fight in the Bangladesh war — a Just War if ever there was one. It showed that sometimes, going to war is the lesser evil: in this case, it was the only practical way of stopping a Pakistani genocide that was making more victims per day than the whole Indian military intervention made.

Mahabharata For Strategists

It is at several conferences on the Mahabharata, the classic on the theme of Just War (Dharma Yuddha), that I first met the general. There, his cold strategic look at the story, was quite an eye-opener to historians like me, but a bit of a cold shower to more religious types.

For pious denouncers of arch-villain Duryodhana, whose refusal to give even five villages to the rival Pandava brothers counts as the proverbial example of unreasonableness, please consider the strategic angle. After their wedding with Panchala princess Draupadi, the Pandavas might well want the fusion of the Bharata kingdom with Panchala, meaning the conquest of the Bharata kingdom, and in that project, the five villages would acquire tactical value as offensive outposts.

Even Krishna, a common object of devotion, was not spared. As we know, Gandhari, mother of the slain Kaurava brothers, curses him as the real culprit of the war. After all, he as a prince of the Yadava tribe, egged the two sets of Bharata princes on to fight and massacre one another. Not surprisingly, it is the non-Bharatas who profit, with the throne of the Pandava capital Indraprastha falling to a Yadava prince, viz. Krishna’s own grandson. So, though idealised and ultimately even divinised by the epic’s pious editors, Krishna may originally have merely been a calculating strategist mindful of the Yadava tribe’s self-interest. That, at least, is what naked strategic data suggests.

It does not come as a surprise, therefore, that regarding the independence struggle too, General Bakshi brings down a pious legend featuring a canonised saint.

Who Achieved Independence?

In the present volume, Bose or Gandhi, Who Got India her Freedom? (Knowledge World/KW Publications, Delhi 2019, ISBN 978-93-87324-67-1, 216 pp.), Bakshi takes on an important topic from recent history: what factor was decisive in achieving India’s Independence? The received wisdom, both in ‘Congress’ India and internationally, is that this historical achievement was the result of Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent agitation. But was it?

How do you wrest sovereignty over a subcontinent from a world power? The British-Indian empire was built on bluff and on the dividedness of the population against itself. This was not threatened by the initial Congress movement, which was just a talking shop of lawyers pleading for native interests within the British empire. By contrast, it had really been threatened by the Mutiny of 1857, when different communities rallied around the Sepoys (Sipahi, a native soldier in colonial service) and came together to revolt against the British. And this gives the gist of Bakshi’s narrative already away: the British were afraid of military revolt, particularly by the native mercenaries on whom they counted to uphold their imperial edifice, not of pious discourses and slogans.

However, the General does give the Mahatma a part of the honour. No doubt, the shift of Congress activity from lawyerly negotiations to agitation at the mass level was Gandhi’s achievement. He popularised the Freedom Movement. This is undeniable, but the point is: it is not what made the British decide to pack up and leave.

Look at it in more detail than is done in, for example, Richard Attenborough’s propaganda movie Gandhi. The Mahatma’s last campaign was not the camera-savvy Salt March or other events from before the Government of India Act 1935, the reform with which the British managed to renormalise the situation and regain control over political developments. It was the Quit India movement started in August 1942, which was a failure in every respect.

First off, it was based on an assessment of the world situation that seemed plausible in 1942 but turned out to be wrong: that the Japanese would win the war and chase the British from India. In that event, India would be in a better position if it was an independent Asian nation rather than a British colony (though, what about the independent Republic of China?). Second, it created profound dissensions in Congress, which was mostly reluctant to embark upon this adventure.

Strategically, the British were at war and on the defensive, so they would not pull their punches in the repression of any disloyal” agitation; and morally, many Congressmen such as Jawaharlal Nehru were on the British side in that war. Indeed, it is mostly Nehru’s speech against Quit India that made the British decide he was essentially one of us”, so that they started treating him rather than Gandhi as their Congress contact.

Third, though intended to be non-violent, the movement soon lapsed into violence, depriving Gandhi of his moral high ground. Fourth, the British put the movement down brutally but efficiently. Fifth, the Congress leaders were imprisoned and neutralised while their rival Mohammed Ali Jinnah remained free to enlarge his influence. Sixth, when they were released, they were demoralised and had lost credibility.

Especially Gandhi, chiefly responsible for the movement, had been cut to size; he only regained his place in history by his martyrdom.

After the Japanese capitulation on 15 August 1945, the Freedom Movement as such was nowhere to be seen. Paul Johnson and other historians who have lapped up the official version, with the Mahatma as the main motor of decolonisation, write that if the British themselves hadn’t been kind enough to leave, it is unclear how Independence could have come about, as the native dynamic for it had petered out. But they have been tutored to be oblivious of the one factor that dramatically revived the Freedom Movement within weeks: the return (in chains) of the soldiers of Subhas Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army (INA) or Azad Hind Fauj.

The INA

After the war had broken out on 3 September 1939, India’s politicians had to choose their camp. Jinnah’s Muslim League automatically sided with the British, and so did Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, mainly for tactical reasons: that way, numerous Hindu young men would get a military training and experience. The sympathies of the Congress largely lay with the British, but they fell out over a procedural matter: the Viceroy had declared war without first consulting with Congress, their partner in administering India’s partial self-rule. So, while its political rivals were earning British gratitude, they remained on the sidelines, never the best way to make the most of a war situation.

The Communists, meanwhile, opposed the imperialist war”, citing the Soviet example on the bourgeois democracies” France and Britain, rather than on Germany; it is only after the German attack on the Soviet Union that they did an about-turn, supporting what had become a people’s war”.

One significant leader remained on his own: Subhas Chandra Bose, born in Cuttack in 1897. He belonged to the Congress’ Left wing, but had been ousted as Congress president by Gandhi. As a response, in 1939, he founded his own party, at first intra-Congress, the Forward Bloc. It would remain in existence after the war and be part of the Communist-led alliance that governed West Bengal for decades.

In spite of being under house arrest in Kolkata, he fled to Afghanistan in January 1940, and thence to Moscow, where he hoped to get cooperation for military action against Britain. He was told that the Soviet Union was not at war with Britain, but their temporary ally Germany was.

Ideologically this did not pose a problem: Bose had always believed that India would need a few decades of dictatorship, which would administer the best elements from both Communism and Nazism (Mind you, this is my own addition to the background sketch. General Bakshi purposely leaves the ideological aspects out of his consideration: some readers might object to Bose’s ideological choices, yet that doesn’t alter his strategic role in forcing the transfer of power, the actual topic of this book). He had already lived in Austria intermittently in 1934-37 and even had a wife and baby daughter there. So, he was brought to Germany, where at once he could raise an Indian army with 3,000 Indians from among the British prisoners of war caught in Dunkirk, with the privilege of only fighting British enemy soldiers.

It is in Germany that Bose received the title Netaji from his men, revered leader”, roughly the translation of Führer or Duce. It was in Hamburg, during the founding of the German-Indian Friendship Association, that his soldiers and well-wishers stood to attention for the first time for Jana Gana Mana as the national anthem.

While Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop had humoured him with vague assurances of support, Bose’s meeting with Adolf Hitler was a cold shower. Hitler expressed his belief in the rightness of British (‘Aryan’) colonisation. When Japan entered the war in December 1941, and asked Germany for Bose after taking hundreds of thousands of Indian prisoners-of-war in Singapore, Germany transported him by submarine in early 1943, and he was now welcome to lead some 40,000 soldiers in the INA.

This force had already been founded by expatriate Indians, notably by Ras Behari Bose, but now it needed a credible leader, and Subhas Bose was the right man for the job.

Bakshi informs us cursorily that from abroad, Bose also did what he could to contribute to the struggle within India, including the Quit India movement. Alas, the delivery of arms and other material which he arranged for, was often sabotaged by unreliable agents, and remained without sizeable effect. His main claim to fame was and still is the INA.

Unfortunately, in military respect, the INA came too late on the scene. It never controlled more of India than the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and some border areas of the Northeast. When it seriously besieged the Northeastern cities of Imphal and Kohima, the momentum of the Japanese advances had passed, and the British-Indian army could take care of it. The INA still fought some battles against the British forces in Burma, but its historic chance in India had passed.

Bose’s Afterlife

In the chaos of war’s end, Bose is said to have died during an aerial accident in Taiwan. That at least is the official version, but since the beginning already, it has been doubted. It was based solely on the eyewitness testimony of a surviving companion and lieutenant of Bose’s, whom British intelligence immediately suspected of merely having thereby carried out orders from Bose himself, who this way had staged his own escape. Bakshi is not into writing a biography here, so sensation-hungry readers will be disappointed to find that he merely gives a nod to Anuj Dhar’s eye-catching book India’s Biggest Cover-Up, 2012, which argues that Bose did indeed escape to the Soviet Union, where he was put in custody.

Nehru was good friends with the Soviet leaders (to the extent that when in 1962, the Chinese, angry with Soviet manoeuvres on the Manchurian borders, decided to pin-prick the USSR, invaded India), so it sounds plausible that they did his bidding, which was to keep Bose out of reach of India.

Bakshi doesn’t evaluate such questions, because no matter what Bose’s ideology or personal destiny, one solid fact deserves to be established now beyond future doubt: his decisive role in achieving Independence.

Indeed, all speculations on Bose’s personal life are dwarfed by the immediate effect of India’s exposure to what the INA had meant. In autumn 1945, a large part of India’s population immediately sided with the INA veterans upon their return (in chains) to India.

The British gradually released the ordinary soldiers in batches, which already had a palpable effect, for as Nehru observed, these men were hard as nails and hated British rule. The eye was mainly on three top defendants. Their trial, in the Red Fort, was meant to send a message to the Sepoys never to be disloyal again. Coincidence would have it that they were a Hindu, a Muslim and a Sikh, which came in handy for the Congress narrative of a pan-Indian unity. Congress leaders buried their one-time diatribes against the INA and offered to defend them in court.

From the Empire’s perspective, the trial really backfired. The people’s mood proved not to be just a fleeting sympathy but threatened to become a rebellion. A large part of this book holds the British military correspondence of autumn-winter 1945-46 against the light. It becomes abundantly clear that the British top brass, especially Viceroy Archibald Wavell and Commander-in-Chief Claude Auchinleck, were in a state of panic. They had received reports from the provinces, including their main recruiting-area Panjab, that their colonial troops could no longer be relied upon. Every Indian had become a nationalist, galvanised by the presence in India of thousands of Bose’s soldiers. Nobody was willing to accept the punishment which the British would normally have given to leaders who had taken up arms against the King-Emperor.

In proportion to the gravity of what from the British viewpoint was a crime, they should have been sentenced to death. Sensing that this would only trigger a revolt, Wavell and Auchinleck arranged for a reduced sentence to transportation for life, which moreover was at once commuted to a token prison sentence. To prevent any incipient unrest, they made sure that this decision was immediately communicated to the public. It became a staged trial with the outcome determined by extra-judicial considerations, a show trial” but this time not to the detriment of the defendants, thanks to the emerging anti-British power equation in society.

But this was to prove insufficient, and the real gravity of the situation was yet to come to light. The British troops sent to India for the war against Japan were being demobilised and repatriated. More than before, the Empire was now dependent exclusively on the Sepoys. And in early 1946, in a number of Naval units, these soldiers bound by oath to the King-Emperor rose in revolt. This was the decisive pillar under the imperial structure: if it crumbled, it was curtains for the Empire.

A combination of repression and moral pressure by Congress, committed to non-violence but also mindful of its own privileged relation with the British, managed to put down this Naval Mutiny. But only for now; the British rulers realised that they might not be so lucky next time. So, they called on London to announce a date for Independence. The last Viceroy, Louis Mountbatten, arrived in March 1947 with the one-point programme of organising the transfer of power.

Other Considerations

What Gandhi had not achieved in decades of campaigning, Bose’s INA achieved posthumously in less than two years: making the British decide to quit India. And this, in fact, without firing too many bullets: if you radiate power, you often don’t have to use it. The court historians have always downplayed the role of the INA and attributed the merit for the achievement of Independence to the Mahatma. But this legend was gainsaid by no less an agent that the British Prime Minister who effected the transfer of power, Clement Attlee. During his visit to India, he was asked what considerations had made him decide to decolonise India. He cited the military equation with the increasing unreliability of the troops, and as for Gandhi’s role, in his estimation, it was m-i-n-i-m-a-l”.

As this book was going to the press, it so happened that official India was finally extending recognition to the INA. A handful of surviving veterans, nearly 100 years old, were driven in an open jeep in the Republic Day parade. When Westerners hear of Bose, they consider him as a mere Axis collaborator. For Indians, he is first of all a national hero, and the cruelties which made the German and Japanese war machines infamous, were not the doing of their Indian army units.

These soldiers did not join their units to fight for some German or Japanese Empire, but for their own Motherland.

In India, some had fought with the British, some against them, some had taken different positions in succession, some had tried to stay on the sides, but at war’s end, it was agreed that everyone had done it for the best of Mother India. In some cases, that was a flattered assessment, but precisely in its flawed truthfulness, it showed the generosity of spirit of Indian patriotism. No one’s war record was scrutinised, for in India on 15 August 1945, the Second World War was really over.

Nationhood

In his introduction and his last chapter, General Bakshi also explores issues of nationhood, India’s unity and integrity, and India’s status as a civilisational state. It is interesting to see how a no-nonsense patriot thinks about the current political contentions.

Of course, he rejects Gandhi’s and to some extent Nehru’s option for a defence without military strength. It is a state’s prime duty to protect its citizens, and this requires an army. As a NATO slogan from my young days said: Peace through strength.” This is a truism, followed by most state leaders in history, and it is not India’s major claim to fame that its national Saint flatly denied it.

India’s integrity demands that the system of caste-based and communal reservations is phased out. This system has been instituted by the British as part of their policy of divide and rule. Since the Government of India Act 1935, and expanded in the Constitution of India 1950, it divides society in birth groups. Then, it was in the name of Imperial Justice”, now it is in the name of its more modern-sounding equivalent, Social Justice”.

That this became the central value of India’s Constitution, and not Liberty” or so, provides an interesting parallel with the contemporary West, where Social Justice” has become the justification for the craziest demands, and indeed for an expanding system of mostly birth-based (racial, gender et cetera.) quota. Yet in India, this did not originate in Marxist or quasi-Marxist sources like Antonio Gramsci or the Frankfurter Schule, but in another system of colonial domination, such as British colonialism. The effect is nonetheless the same: endless dividedness, a variation on the Marxist model of class struggle.

It has logically been the Left that made itself the heir of this British system of reservations, and now champions quota schemes such as job quota for Backward Castes and the 2008 Right to Education Act. Today, little difference is left between the quota philosophy in India and in the US, except for the Indian oddity of the caste system. Bakshi proposes to make short work of this system and replace it with economically-based reservations. These would automatically favour the lower castes, which have more poor people, except their creamy layer”, those who have worked themselves up yet keep on milking the caste-based system and now have most interest in perpetuating birth-based reservations.

With the introduction of the Aadhaar Card, a kind of identity card including one’s financial-economic data, this is now technologically possible.

But there, we have crossed over to the issue of decolonisation”. India wants to get rid of the remnants of colonialism, and one of these is the reservation system. The philosophy was that the benighted natives were naturally unjust and that the coloniser was needed as an impartial arbiter. Later, the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty appropriated that role to itself. By now, India is mature enough to shake off such colonial-age solutions.

In parallel, another relic of the colonial age and its immediate aftermath is the lionisation of Mahatma Gandhi as bringer of Independence and the concomitant downplaying of Subhas Chandra Bose’s contribution. That motivated legend is, after this book, no longer sustainable.

Sri Lankan police chief warned about possible bombings 10 days before Easter attacks

April 21st, 2019

RT

Sri Lankan police chief warned about possible bombings 10 days before Easter attacks

Priests walk into the St. Anthony’s Shrine, Kochchikade church after an explosion in Colombo. ©REUTERS / Dinuka Liyanawatte

Just 10 days before explosions at six churches and hotels in Sri Lanka claimed some 160 lives, the national police chief reportedly sent an alert about a radical Islamist group planning bomb attacks on prominent churches.

The alert was sent by Pujuth Jayasundara on April 11, AFP reported. It said that Sri Lankan authorities had received a tip from a foreign intelligence service, warning of bomb threat posed by a radical group.

A foreign intelligence agency has reported that the NTJ (National Thowheeth Jama’ath) is planning to carry out suicide attacks targeting prominent churches as well as the Indian High Commission in Colombo,” the alert said, as quoted by the news agency.

The bombings at three Christian churches and three luxury hotels happened on Easter Sunday, just as churchgoers were converging to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The apparently coordinated attacks claimed at least 160 lives and injured hundreds, according to the latest reports, with the death toll expected to rise. No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the Easter bombings.ALSO ON RT.COMAround 160 killed, hundreds injured in 6 blasts at Sri Lankan hotels and churches on Easter Sunday

The NTJ is a radical Islamist group based in Sri Lanka, which came to prominence last year after vandalizing Buddhist statues.

Sri Lanka is a predominantly Buddhist nation, with some 70 percent of its population of 22 million following the faith. Muslims are the third-largest denomination after the Hindu, with less than 10 percent of Sri Lankans subscribing to Islam. Christianity is the fourth-largest religion, adherents of which compose some 7.6 percent of the population, according to the 2012 national census.

Around 161 killed, hundreds injured in 6 blasts at Sri Lankan hotels and churches(WATCH LIVE)

April 21st, 2019

RT

Six explosions rocked Catholic churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka as Christians began Easter Sunday celebrations, with at least 161 killed and hundreds more injured, local authorities said.

The blasts occurred at around 8:45am local time at St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, a Catholic-majority town outside of the capital. The Zion Church in Batticaloa on the eastern coast was also targeted.

At around the same time, the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury five-star hotels were also hit, police confirmed. All attacks appear to have been coordinated.

At least 138 people were killed, media reported, citing police. More than 400 were injured in the attacks.

Explosions in Kochchikade, Katuwapitiya and Colombo

April 21st, 2019

Courtesy The Daily Mirror

At least six explosions were reported this morning at three churches in Kochchikade, Katana, and Batticaloa and three five-star hotels in Colombo, police said.

Explosions were reported at St. Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade, Kotahena and St.Sebastian’s Church in Katuwapitiya, Katana.

Explosions were also reported at three five-star hotels, the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury in Colombo.

Police said another explosion was reported at a church in Batticaloa.

Several casualties including foreign tourists have been reported.

Simultaneous Terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday-100 killed as churches and hotels targeted

April 20th, 2019

Courtesy BBC


At least 100 people are reported to have been killed and hundreds more injured in explosions at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka.

At least six explosions have been reported. Three churches in Kochchikade, Negombo and Batticaloa were targeted during Easter services.

The Shangri La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury hotels, all in Colombo, were also hit.

Media captionDeadly explosions strike across Sri Lanka

Easter Sunday is one of the major feasts in the Christian calendar.

Images on social media showed the inside of one of the churches – St Sebastian’s in Negombo – with a shattered ceiling and blood on the pews.

Sri Lankan media report that foreign tourists may be among the casualties.

Some media sources are putting the death toll even higher. Reuters quoted a police source as saying more than 50 died in Negombo alone.

A hotel official at the Cinnamon Grand, near the prime minister’s official residence, told Agence France-Presse the explosion there had ripped through a restaurant, killing at least one person.

‘Horrible scenes’

President Maithripala Sirisena has issued a statement calling for people to remain calm and support the authorities in their investigations.

PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is chairing an emergency meeting.

On Twitter, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said the attacks appeared to be a “well-co-ordinated attempt to create murder, mayhem and anarchy” and had killed “many innocent people”.

Another minister, Harsha de Silva, described “horrible scenes” at St Anthony’s Shrine in Kochchikade, saying he had seen “many body parts strewn all over”.

No-one has yet said they were responsible for the attacks.

There have been fears that returning fighters from the Islamic State group could pose a threat in the country.

In the years since the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war, there has been some sporadic violence, with members of the majority Buddhist Sinhala community attacking mosques and Muslim-owned properties. That led to a state of emergency being declared in March 2018.

Map

Rising power of Thirupathi politics

April 20th, 2019

By Lucien Rajakarunanayake Courtesy The Island

article_image

Are we heading with speed towards Solar Relief? The Avurudu highlights of solar tradition were completed with joyous participation of the people, and we had the recognized leader of the nation, President Sirisena, travel at speed to India the next day, to participate in a ritual at the Thirupathi Kovil.

For those who follow the Hindu tradition and belief, we are now living in the Kali Yuga – the period of darkness and divisiveness, hatred and greed, warfare and inequality. The deity at Thirupathi – Lord Sri Venkateswara, an incarnation of Vishnu, who is believed to have appeared to save mankind from, the trials and troubles of the Kali Yuga.

Let’s get it all straight. Thirupathi is the divine hope and expectation of all our political leaders. It is the place of worship and pleading to divinity by Maithripala Sirisena, Mahinda Rajapaksa, Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Hindu Tamil leaders, and almost all other political leaders and catchers, who make a very big noise about this being a Sinhala Buddhist country and society.

How can a people who claim to be Buddhists have so much belief and faith in a Hindu diety; and how does a society that is largely organized on the lunar calendar and customs, such as the Poya Day, leap with such speed and distance to the deities in the solar tradition?

How can a country that seeks to accept the Thripatakaya as a national heritage of Sri Lanka, and also call for inscription of the Thripatakaya in the World Register of Monuments, be so wholly committed to the worship of Hindu deities, and beliefs in the power and help of divine forces in politics, governance and day-to-day living?

The Sri Lanka Government organized special Thripitaka events to ensure its international recognition at special diplomatically organized ceremonies in the US, Europe and other parts of the world. Doesn’t the acceptance of the Thripitakaya and its values of Buddhist teaching pull one away from any belief or faith in the deities of Hinduism, or any other faith based on divinity – of one or many gods?

The problem the country faces today is that of a competition between the Thripitakaya and Thirupathi, and all signs are that Thirupathi is racing ahead, with the Thripitakaya possibly being confined to Aluvihara, even after any national or international recognition.

All the rituals of the Avurudu Sirith are drawn from the solar traditions, and that is how it has been through the years. But, what is now seen in a dominance of the belief in the power of deities, moving far away from the rationalist thinking of Buddhist teaching. Our people are being fast moved away from the values of meditation and rationality, which is the Buddhist Way of Life, to that of an increasing and overriding faith in the deities, – at Thirupathi and elsewhere.

We need not look very far. Just look above the wrists of all our political and most social leaders and you will see the threads of divinity tied there. From the white ‘pirith noola’ that is said to bring divine favour or protection, these hands have threads of many colours too, often stretching upwards towards the elbow, bringing the blessings of many deities. Around the necks of many are amulets that carry the charms assuring deity assistance, and on their fingers are also gold rings with coloured and costly stones, with assurances of the help of deities.

As our education system crumbles we see increasing influence of the deities in helping students to pass their examinations, strongly supported by both parents and teachers, including the tuition earners.

The Bodhi Pooja, a tradition of offering gratitude to the Bodhi Tree that gave shelter to Siddhartha Gauthama to become enlightened as the Buddha, is now given divine powers that no tree can have, to help in exam passes, cure of patients, winning of sweep tickets and also sadly, to cause harm to enemies.

The Avurudu anointing of heads at the Nekath Velaava is a tradition of warm good wishes, both to humans, elephants and other pets. It must be kept as such, and not moved into an ascending faith in deities beyond the richness of a human blessing of good intent, and not a call to the power of deities.

Thriupathi Vandanaa will soon gain both prominence and dominance in the play of politics in the country, as elections – both presidential and parliamentary – draw closer. The Executive Presidency and office of Prime Minister will be the plea to Lord Sri Venkateswara, to bring the nomination and later results in favour of the pleading politicos. The Thirupathi deity will certainly have a problem of choice, unless he is moved by the load and value of offerings made and prayers chanted.

How much can the deity at Thirupathi influence the millions of voters in this country? Let’s keep looking at the miracle threads round the wrists, the widening amulets round the necks and the shining gems on the costly rings of politicians.

Let the people decide, and not any god or deity, on saving us from the trials and troubles of the Kali Yugaya.

‘Everybody Lies’, a book on Big Data: Benefits of Digital Truth Serum

April 20th, 2019

By Rohana R. Wasala Courtesy The Island

Everybody Lies – What the Internet Can Tell Us about Who We Really Are’ (Seth Stephens – Davidowitz, London, Bloomsbury Publishing, Paperback edition, 2018, 338 pp, ISBN 978 – 1- 4088 – 9473 – 6) is a book on Big Data (a term explained below), which introduces a still evolving subject in an informal, entertaining manner. It was first published in Great Britain in 2017. Though the book is primarily addressed to an American audience, the author being an American (a New Yorker) and the basic subjects of his study being Americans, it is also intended for a much more global readership, which, in my opinion, it well deserves. I am left with the impression that it would be of great appeal to interested general readers like me as well as internet data experts or data scientists like the author Stephens-Davidowitz himself; it will also be of special interest to young college students who are looking forward to a career in Data Science. (Incidentally, it was while I was contemplating writing this review after reading the book a week or two ago that I came across a media news report from Sri Lanka about some student agitators from the Sabaragamuwa University there demonstrating near the Parliament roundabout, demanding an increase in the number of admissions to the Social Sciences and Languages Faculty in their university. The relevance of this piece of news here is that the development and illustration of Stephens-Davidowitz’s ideas in this book are almost entirely in relation to the broad subject domains of social sciences and languages usually covered at university level anywhere in the world.)

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz is a New York Times journalist, a former visiting lecturer at the Wharton School of Pennsylvania University, and a former data scientist at Google. He holds a BA Phi Beta Kappa in philosophy from Stanford and a PhD in economics from Harvard.

That everybody lies is Seth’s unflattering discovery about us common humans.  But he seems to have made an extra effort to reveal the truth about himself as a person, researcher and writer. His wish to be candid about himself is evident throughout the text, which  incorporates personal details that touch on his interactions with his family, friends, his tutors and colleagues, etc, particularly in the beginning and the concluding  chapters, and in addition, in the ‘Acknowledgements’ section. He does not claim all the credit for this product of  rigorous intellectual discipline and labour. He describes the book as ‘a team effort’. It was obviously a large team. His parents are imlicitly included in that team. His mother Esther Davidowitz read the entire manuscript a number of times, we are told, and helped ‘dramatically improve it’. During a job interview, a professor grilled him: ‘What does your mother think of  this work you do?’ Seth explains why the professor asked him this: ‘The idea was that my mom would be embarrassed that I was researching sex and other taboo topics. But I always knew that she was proud of me for following my curiosity, wherever it led’ (as she always advised him to do). His father Mitchell Stephens’ involvement was perhaps even more important, for without him, Seth gratefully acknowledges, he could not have finished the book. This was because, at one point, Seth felt ‘deeply stuck, lost, and close to abandoning the project’. So, the old man took his son to the country, and did what he could to restore his spirits. He discussed things such as love, death, success, happiness, and writing with his son.The point Seth is making by this is that he is a normal imperfect human being who is very close to one or another of us. But with the special insights we netizens gain from reading his book, we would hardly allow ourselves to be unsuspecting guinea pigs of his experiments!

Seth adopts an easy, chatty, informal style of writing, enlivened with a pleasant sense of humour, which makes his extremelycomplicated and complex subject accessible to most readers. He launches into his task with a short description of a certain family Thanksgiving dinner table conversation in which the subject of choosing a suitable bride for him, at thirty-three years of age already, crops up. Seth’s sister, brother and father believe that he is crazy, but his mother doesn’t think so. The sister proposes that they look for a girl who is crazy like him to match his craziness, while the brother’s suggestion is for a normal young woman ‘to balance him out’. It is obvious that they are all passing judgement on Seth based on what information (data) they possess about him. At this point, it is his soft-spoken  eighty-eight year old grandmother who joins in with: ‘Seth, you need a nice girl. Not too pretty. Very smart. Good with people. Social, so you will do things. Sense of humour, because you have a good sense of humour.’ 

Why does this old woman’s advice command such respectful attention in his family?, Seth asks, and he answers his own question: Having observed many marriages, some of which worked and some didn’t, she has catalogued, over a long time, the personal qualities of marriage partners that contribute to successful relationships. She has had access to the largest number of data points about the subject. In view of this, Seth says, his grandmother is Big Data. The grandmother analogy is in keeping with his declared intention in this book, which is to ‘demystify’ data science.

 A data scientist mines the big data on the internet/web for four unique powers that, Seth claims, Big Data has. (It is good to remember that the internet and the web are not identical, as we all know; here, we are more concerned with the internet, which really is the virtually limitless ever growing, ever renewing ocean of information.) He illustrates these characteristic strengths of big data through his analytical comment on Sigmund Freud in Chapter 2 titled ‘Was Freud Right?’ Big data analysis gives a more reliable method to understand the secretive human mind and the social reality than our intuition (‘our faulty gut’, as Seth calls it) or conventional wisdom The powers of big data, according to Seth, are fourfold: i) it offers new types of data, e.g., pornographic material, ii) it provides honest data; for example, porn data is not only new, but undisguised, iii) big data enables us to zoom in on small subsets of people, and iv) big data allows data scientists to do many causal experiments, that is, it makes it possible for them to carry out rapid controlled experiments that focus on causality, not on mere correlation.

Data science is the same concept as Big Data. As it is a fast evolving field, it is not easy to find a comprehensive definition of big data that is accessible to the general reader. The following is a satisfactory enough explanation of Big Data adapted from the Wikipedia (as of March 7, 2019): ‘Big data refers to datasets that are too large or complex for traditional data processing application software to adequately deal with…. Big data challenges include capturing data, data storage, data analysis, search, sharing, transfer, visualization, querying, and updating information privacy and data source’. What Seth offers us in the book is data science in practice, so we experience a more concrete sense of the abstract notions involved.

Seth starts his introduction  with an explanation of what led to Donald Trump’s surprise win at the 2016 US presidential election in terms of data science. Most polling experts had predicted that Donald Trump was going to lose. Seth, as a data scientist, maintains that Trump’s superior performance, both at the primaries and the general election, was reflected in the internet data at the time. He concluded that racism played a significant part in the Trump victory.  Seth arrived at this conclusion by scientifically analyzing the large number of Google searches that Americans carried out privately during the relevant period. Seth implies that the pollsters went wrong about the presidential election results because they missed lots of information that are available in the internet that would have helped them understand many subjects including elections.

What Seth claims to have discovered is that everybody lies. People lie about everything. Parents lie to children and vice versa, lovers lie to each other, husbands lie to wives, and wives to husbands, and so on. Why do people do that? It’s because they want to look good. That is why they lie about their own embarrassing behaviours and thoughts. This is called social desirability bias. Seth suggests that the pollsters’ failure to correctly predict Donald Trump’s 2016 victory was probably due to social desirability bias on the part of the voters surveyed; that is, they lied in order to hide their racist prejudice against Barak Obama. Not only do people lie to others, they lie to themselves! People say they don’t want to stalk their friends. But the truth is that they always want to keep up with their friends and judge them, a fact that Mark Zuckerberg, cofounder of Facebook, made use of  to become a multi-billionaire.

The second power of big data already mentioned above is that it provides honest data. Certain online sources get people to admit things that they would not reveal anywhere else. Similarly, there is a tendency for them to be truthful in their private Google searches and responses. They provide an incentive for people to tell the truth.  For example, if someone is suffering from depression they may be unwilling to reveal this to a survey, but they will have an incentive to make Google searches for symptoms of depression and suitable remedies for it with no fear of being exposed to possible social stigma on this account.  Datasets consisting of such searches and responses provide a good source of information for data experts to explore in order to reveal the inner nature of the human mind and the hidden reasons that account for inexplicable social realities.

Stephens-Davidowitz holds that, on the average, ‘digital truth serum’ tells us that the world is worse than we think it is. However, according to him, this knowledge can improve our lives in three ways: 1) it can be comforting to know that you are not alone in your insecurities and embarrassing behaviours; he updates the well known self-help quote ‘Never compare your insides to everyone else’s outsides’ thus: ‘Never compare your Google searches to everyone else’s social media posts’; 2) it alerts us to people who are suffering; the Human Rights Campaign has asked Seth to work with them in helping them to educate men in certain states to come out of the closet (this is a reference to gay men); child-abuse victims can also be helped through Big Data; and 3) its ability to lead us from problems to solutions is perhaps the most powerful value in the digital truth serum: ‘With more understanding, we might find ways to reduce the world’s supply of nasty attitudes’.

The lankacnews.com online journal carried news about two scandalous episodes involving some members of the Sri Lankan FB community. The later report was about a YouTube video that showed a wife-beating incident that had taken place some seven months ago, but that the victim had remained passive about at the time; now, however, she feels bitterly aggrieved at it, while the offending male contemptuously dismisses the concerns expressed on her behalf by the ‘avajaathakayin’ (ill-bred busybodies) who, allegedly, are raising a hue and cry about it in the social media. It is shocking that this young man who not only beat up his wife or living together partner while allegedly videoing it calls the critics of his actions ill-bed”. I, for one, wish the local no-violence-against-women campaigners took immediate action. Both of these young people seem to be in need of help. Violence against women is a global problem, and it figures in Big Data activity. Readers of ‘Everybody Lies’ will find much to read about the subject and countless other problems that afflict the modern world.

The earlier reported incident was datelined the same day it happened or it had happened the day before. The news was published in the lankacnews website on April 7, 2019. It is about a celebratory event held to mark the Sinhala Aluth Avurudda, a traditional cultural festival of great antiquity, at Campbell Park, Colombo. The activity had been organized by some young Facebookers. Traditional games, trials of strength for fun, and other forms of recreation, especially among young men and women,  that go on for days sometimes, are part and parcel of the celebrations connected with the Aluth Avurudda. The young Facebook activists reportedly introduced a new, previously unheard of, item named ‘kukkubeeme tharangaya’ or a ‘suckling match’ during which, as a photo shows, two young men were sucking at bottles, seemingly containing milk, held by two young women in their armpits close to their breasts, as if they were ‘suckling’ those two ‘babies’, (something, needless to say, that would have been outrageously offensive to the traditional cultural sensitivities of the Sinhalese, who are the principal celebrants of the festival,  had it been staged in the more conservative rural areas; it has triggered a lot of adverse comments within the Facebook community itself).

The ‘suckling match’ novelty resonates with, or even confirms, something unexpected that Stephens-Davidowitz has encountered through Big Data analysis. He says that he sometimes hits upon a new dataset that reveals a behavior, desire or a concern that he would have never even considered. There are many sexual propensities that fall into this category. For example, in India, the number one Google search beginning my husband wants….” is my husband wants me to breastfeed him”! According to Seth, this comment is far more common in India than in other countries. He further says that ‘porn searches for depictions of women breastfeeding men are four times higher in India and Bangladesh than in any other country in the world’. The same observation might apply to Sri Lanka. I don’t know whether the ‘suckling match’ reveals an existing sexual aberration, diversion, perversion, psychotic condition, or some other diseased state among young Sri Lankans. But there is no doubt that it is culturally unacceptable behaviour for most Sri Lankans irrespective of ethnicity.

Big Data analysis has infinite potential to help us improve our private and social lives, and the country as a whole by revealing strange but powerful hidden truths about ourselves and our society. However, as Stephens-Davidowitz cautions us, Big Data must be handled with care. For there are dangers too, intrinsically associated with it. Of these, two are prominent. These he characterizes as empowered corporations and empowered governments. The terms are self-explanatory, and Sri Lankans are too familiar with the harmful consequences of both to need any explicit elaboration.  

රෝහලට ගිය ටිකිරි ලියා

April 20th, 2019

වෛද්‍ය රුවන්  එම් ජයතුංග 

ටිකිරි ලියාට වතුර කළයක් ගෙන එන ලෙස මව කියූ අතර ටිකිරි ලියා මැටි කළයත් ගෙන ලිඳට ගියාය. ලිඳ වට කර කබරගොයෙක් සිටි නිසා ටිකිරි ලියා උගේ බාව මඟ හැර  ලිඳ  අසලට ගිය නමුදු එතැන සිටි දිය බරියා  ටිකිරි ලියා ගේ කකුල කෑවේය. ඒ සමග ටිකිරි ලියා ගේ අතින් කළය බිම වැටී කැඩී ගියේය. ටිකිරි ලියා “බුදු අම්මෝ ” කියා කෑගැසුවාය. 

ටිකිරි ලියා ගේ කෑ ගැසීම ඇසූ අම්මාත් නයිදෝරිස් මාමාත් ලිඳ අසලට දිව ආහ. ඔවුන් ටිකිරි ලියා වත්තන් කරගෙන ගෙට ආහ. දියබරියා කාපු ස්ථානයෙන් ලේ එන නිසා ටිකිරි ලියාව හැකි ඉක්මනින් ඉස්පිරිතාලයට ගෙන ගිය යුතු බව මව අවධාරණය කලාය. ඒ නිසා නයිදෝරිස් මාමා හන් දියට දිව ගොස් ත්‍රී වීල් එකක් ගෙනාවේය. ඔවුන් ටිකිරි ලියාව ත්‍රිරෝද රථයේ දමාගෙන රෝහලට ගියෝය. 

රෝහලේ ගේට්ටුවේ සිටි සෙකුරිටි  ත්‍රී වීල් එක නවතා බෝම්බ පරික්‍ෂා කරන පොලිස් කාරයෙකු මෙන් රළු හඞකින් “මොකද ?කියා ඇසුවේය.  මේ සෙකුරිටි  තැන තමන් ජෙනරාල් සරත් ෆොන්සේකා මෙන් සිතාගෙන ගේට්ටුව හරහා යන ලෙඞුන්ටත් ඔවුන් ගේ ඥාතීන්ටත් සැර දැමීමට පුරුදුව සිටි අයෙකි. “අපේ දුවව දියබරියෙකු කාලා “කියා ටිකිරි ලියාගේ මව හැඞුම් බරව කීවාය. මොහොතක් ටිකිරි ලියා දෙස බැලූ සෙකුරිටි ගේට්ටුව ඇරියේය. 

රෝහලේ ඉදිරි පිට ලෙඩුන් ගෙනියන හිස් ට්‍රොලි කීපයක් තිබූ අතර තරමක් ඈතින් රෝහල් කම්කරුවන් තිදෙනෙක් කතා කරමින් සිටියහ. නයිදෝරිස් මාමා ඔවුන් අසලට ගොස් ” අපේ කෙලී දියබරියෙක් කාලා ඉක්මනට ගෙනියන්ට උදව් කරන්ට ” කියා කීවේය. 

මේ රෝහල් කම්කරුවන් සෞඛ්‍යය අමාත්‍යවරයාට මැතිවරණයේදී පෝස්ටර් ගැසූ පුද්ගලයන් වූ අතර ඔවුන් මැතිවරණයෙන් පසු අනියම් සෞඛ්‍යය කම්කරුවන් ලෙසට පත්වීම් ලබා ගත් අය වූහ.  තමන් සෞඛ්‍යය අමාත්‍යවරයාගේ මිනිසුන් කියා සිතූ ඔවුන් තමන් ලෙඩුන් අදින්නේ නැති බව කියා නයිදෝරිස් මාමා ගේ ඉල්ලීම ප්‍රතික්ශේප කොට දැමූහ. 

ඒ මේ අත දිවූ  නයිදෝරිස් මාමා අවසානයේදී කම්කරුවෙකු සොයා ගෙන ඔහුගේ අතට නෝට්ටුවක් දුන් අතර ඔහු ටිකිරි ලියාව ට්‍රොලියක තබා ඕපීඩී එක හෙවත් බාහිර රෝගී අංශයට ගෙන ගියේය. 

තවමත් උදෑසන වූවද බාහිර රෝගී අංශයේ සිටි වෛද්‍යවරයා ගේ දෙනෙත් නිදිමතින් බරවී තිබුණි. ඔහු සේවා මුර දෙකක් එක දිගට කරමින් සිටියේය. සේවා මුරයට නියමිත වෛද්‍යවරයාට පුද්ගලික ඩිස්පැන්සරියක් තිබූ අතර ඔහු තම සේවා මුරය මේ වෛද්‍යවරයාට භාර දී ඒ සඳහා නියමිත මුදලද දුන්නේය. 

නිදිමතින් සිටි වෛද්‍යවරයා සිටියේ දුරකථන පණිවිඩයක් දෙමිනි. ඔහු ඕපීඩී එකේ සිට ඉන්ටකොම් එක හරහා ශල්‍ය වාට්ටුවේ සිටි ඇටෙන්ඩන්වරයෙකු අමතමින් තමන් ගේ අළුත්ම වාහනය විකිනීම ගැන කතා කරමින් සිටියේය. ශල්‍ය වාට්ටුවේ සිටි ඇටෙන්ඩන්වරයා වාහන බ්‍රෝකර්කම්ද කල අයෙකි. ඒ නිසා මේ දුරකථන පණිවිඩය ඔහුට වැදගත් විය. ඔහු දුරකථනයෙන් කතා කරන අතර තුර ටිකිරි ලියා ට්‍රොලිය මත කෙඳිරිගාමින් සිටියාය. 

මේ අතරවාරයේ ඕපීඩී එකට සහකාර වෛද්‍ය නිලධාරියෙකු ආවේය. තමන් ඉදිරියේ තිබෙන ඇඩ්මිෂන් එක බලන ලෙස ඔහුට කීමට සිතුනද මේ රෝහලේ වෛද්‍යවරු සහ සහකාර වෛද්‍යවරු අතර එතරම් කතා බහක් නොමැති නිසා   ඔහු එම ඉල්ලීම නොකලේය. ඔහු ටිකිරි ලියාව බැළුවේ දුරකථන පණිවිඩය හමාර කිරීමෙන් පසුවය. 

” මොනවා වෙලාද ? ඔහු පොලිස්කාරයෙකු ලෙස ඇසුවේය” 

” අනේ දොට්ට අපේ කෙලීව දියබරියෙක් කාලා ” කියා ටිකිරි ලියාගේ ඔව කීවාය. තමන්ට සර් හෝ මහත්තයා නොකියා දොට්ට කීම නිසා ඕපීඩී වෛද්‍යවරයා තොල විකාගෙන ලෙඩුන් ඇතුලත් කරන පෝර්මයේ ස්නේක් බයිට් කියා ලියා. රුධිර පීඩනය 100/60 ද නාඩි වැටීම 78 ද කියා ලියුවේය. එහෙත් ඔහු ටිකිරි ලියාගේ රුධිර පීඩනය හෝ නාඩි වැටීම  බැලුවේ නැත. මේ වන විට හෙතෙම ලෙඩුන් ගේ මුහුණ බලා රුධිර පීඩනය හා නාඩි වැටීම ලිවීමේ සමතෙකි. කෙසේ නමුත් රෝගියාට පසුව අසාධ්‍ය උවහොත් මේ මරාළය තමන් ගේ හිසේ කඩා නොවැටෙනු වස් ස්ටැට් හෙවත් වාට්ටුවේ වෛද්‍ය නිලධාරියා කඩිනමින්ම බැලිය යුතු කේස් එකක් ලෙස ටිකිරි ලියාගේ රෝහලට ඇතුලත් කරන ලද පෝර්මයේ සීල් එකක් ගැසුවේය. එසේ කොට ටිකිරි ලියාව වාට්ටුවට ගෙන යන ලෙස නියම කලේය. 

ටිකිරි ලියා වාට්ටුවට ගෙන යන ලදි. එදින සතියේ දවසක් වූවද වෛද්‍යවරු කිසිවෙකු වාට්ටුවේ සිටියේ නැත. සිටියේ හෙදියන් දෙදෙනෙකි. ඔවුන් ද කොයි මොහොතේ මේට්‍රන් මෙතනට කඩා පාත් වෙයි දෝ කියා වරින් වර කොට බිත්තිය උඩින් කොරිඩෝව  දෙස බලමින් සිටියෝය. ඔවුන් ටිකිරි ලියාව පිලි ගත්තේ මඳ රැවීමකිනි. 

“මේක ස්ටැට් එකක් ” එකියක් කීවාය. “එහෙනම් ඩොක්ටට කතා කරමු ” කියා අනෙක් හෙදිය දුරකථනය වෙත ගියාය. 

සීමාවාසික වෛද්‍යවරයා තම නිල නිවාසයේ සරමක් ඇඳගෙන රෙදි සෝදමින් සිටින විට හෙදියගේ කෝල් එක ආවේය. ඔහු කුණුහරපයක් දෙකක් තොල් මතුරමින් රිසීවරයට කන තිබ්බේය. හෙදිය කියූ විස්තරය ඇසූ ඔහු ” එහෙනම් බ්ලඩ් ඩ්‍රෝ කරලා සේලයින් එකක් දාලා තියන්න මම එන්නම් කියා කීවේය. 

හෙදියන් දෙදෙනා අයත් වූයේ වෘත්තීය සමිති දෙකකටය. එක් හෙදියක්  හාමුදුරුවන් ගේ වෘත්තීය සමිතියේ සාමාජිකාවක් වූ අතර අනෙක් තැනැත්තිය  මේල් නර්ස්වරයාගේ වෘත්තීය සමිතියේය. මේ නිසා කවුරු විසින් ලේ ගන්නේද කියා මොවුන් රෝගියා ඉදිරියේ විවාද කලහ. 

ඔයා ගන්න කියා පළමු හෙදිය දෙවන හෙදියට කීවාය. නෑ ඔයා ගන්න කියා දෙවන හෙදිය පළවන හෙදියට කීවාය. මෙසේ විනාඩි විස්සක් පමණ කඹ ඇද අනතුරුව දෙදෙනාම ටිකිරි ලියාගේ අත මිරිකා කැනියුලාවක් දමා ලේ ගත්තෝය. ඉක්බිති ලේ සාම්පලය පරියේෂණාගාරයට යැවීම සඳහා වාට්ටුවේ ඇටෙන්ඩන්වරයාව සෙවූහ. 

වාට්ටුවේ ඇටෙන්ඩන්වරයා මේ වෙලාවේ සිටියේ ඕවසියර් ගේ කාමරයේ පවත්නා දේශපාලන තත්වය ගැන කතා කරමිනි. මෙලෙස පැය භාගයක් පමන කථිකාවේ යෙදුනු ඇටෙන්ඩන්වරයා වාට්ටුවට ගිය විගස ලේ සාම්පලය ලැබ් එකට ගෙනියන්නට කියා හෙදිය ඔහුගේ අතට සාම්පලය දුන්නාය. එය අතට ගත් ඔහු ළමා වාට්ටුවේ සිටි තම ගෙවල් අසල අඳුනන කෙනෙකුගේ ළමයෙකුගේ විස්තරද බලා පරීක්‍ෂණාගාරයට ගියේය. 

” ලේ සාම්පලය ඔතනින් තියන්න ” කියා පරීක්‍ෂණාගාරයේ සිටි එම්. එල්.ටී කීවේය. මේ සාම්පලය සවස හතරින් පසු කිරීමට ඔහු ඉටා ගත්තේ අතිකාල ලබා ගැනීමේ අදහසිනි. 

වාට්ටුවට පැමිනි සීමාවාසික වෛද්‍යවරයා ටිකිරි ලියාව පරීක්‍ෂා කලේය. රෝහලේ ජේෂ්ඨ වෛද්‍ය නිලධාරී හෙවත් එස් .එච් .ඕ සති අන්තයේ තිබෙන මගුල් ගෙදරකට දිය යුතු පිඟන් බඩු ත්‍යාගයක් අඩු මිලට ලබා ගැනීම සඳහා ටවුමට ගොස් සිටියේය. ඔහුගේ දුරකථනයට කතා කල යුතු බව ඉන්ටර්න්වරයා සිතුවේය. ඒ නිසා රෝහලේ දුරකථන  ක්‍රියාකරු අමතා ජේෂ්ඨ වෛද්‍ය නිලධාරීව සම්බන්ධ කොට දෙන්නට කියා කීවේය. 

මෙම දුරකථන  ක්‍රියාකරු රෝහලේ කාර්‍යමණ්ඩලය හඳුන්වන්නේ “ලයින් දෙකම බිසි ” කියාය. ඔහු “ලයින් දෙකම බිසි ඩොක්ටර් ” කියා කීවේය. ජේෂ්ඨ වෛද්‍ය නිලධාරී නොමැති නම් ඔහු විශේසඥ කායික වෛද්‍යවරයා ඇමතිය යුතුය. විශේසඥ කායික වෛද්‍යවරයා මේ වන විට සිටියේ නගරයේ පුද්ගලික රෝහලේ චැනල් කාමරයේය. මේ වේලාවට වාට්ටුවෙන් කෝල් එනවාට ඔහු කැමති නැත. මේ නිසා ඉන්ටර්න්වරයා මුහුණ දුන්නේ  උභතෝකෝටික ප්‍රශ්නයකටය. එහෙත්  ඔහුගේ වාසනාවකට මෙන් ආර් එච් ඕ හෙවත් සහාය වෛද්‍ය නිලධාරී වාට්ටුවට ආවේය. 

ආර් එච් ඕ හෙවත් සහාය වෛද්‍ය නිලධාරී වාට්ටුවට ආ විගස ඔහු කරන්නේ ලෙඩුන් ගේ ෆයිල් එක අතට ගෙන ඇඳ ඉහපත් නොම්බර කීපයක් ලියා ගැනීමය. එම නොම්බර අතිකාල ලියන පොතේ ඔහු සඳහන් කරයි. මෙලෙස රෝගීන් නොබැලුවද සෑම මාසයකම උපරිම අතිකාල දීමනා ඔහු ලබා ගනියි. මෙයට කියන්නේ ගසා ඛාන් අතිකාල කියාය. මෙම රෝහලේ ඇම්බුලන්ස් ඩ්‍රයිවර්ලාද දිනකට පැය 24  ගනනේ  මාසයක් එක දිගට අතිකාල වැඩවල යෙදුනා කියා  අතිකාල දීමනා ඉල්ලති. මෙම ඇම්බුලන්ස් ඩ්‍රයිවර්ලා රෝගීන් කෙරෙහි කොපමණ කැප වීමෙන් වැඩ කරනවාද යත් ඔවුන් නිදා ගන්නේද නැත.  

කෙසේ නමුත් ආර් එච් ඕ ගේ පැමිනීම ඉන්ටන්වරයා හෙවත් සීමාවාසික වෛද්‍යවරයාගේ සිතට සහනයක් විය.  ආර් එච් ඕ ටිකිරි ලියාව උඩින් පල්ලෙන් බලා බෙහෙත් වගයක් ලිවීය. ඉන්පසු ඔහු වාට්ටුවෙන් පිටවී  ගියේ පුද්ගලික රෝහලේ ඕපීඩ් එක වෙත යාමටය. 

ඉන්ටන්වරයා ආර් .එච්. ඕ ලියා දුන් බෙහෙත් ටිකිරි ලියාට දෙන්නට කියා කීවේය.  නියම කරන ලද බෙහෙත් දෙස බැලූ හෙදිය “ඩොක්ටර් එකක් ලෝකල් පර්චස් ” කියා කීවේය. එම නිසා ඉන්ටන්වරයා අදාල ඖෂධය ඩිස්පැන්සරියෙන් ලබා දෙන ලෙස ඉල්ලා ඇඳ ඉහ පතේ වෛද්‍ය අධිකාරීවරයා වෙත ඉල්ලීමක් කලේය. 

මෙම ඇඳ ඉහ පත අතට ගත් වාට්ටුවේ ඇටෙන්ඩන්වරයා වෛද්‍ය අධිකාරීවරයාගේ කාර්‍යාලය වෙත ගියේය. කාර්‍යාලය අසලදී මෑතකදී පත්වීම් ලද සහකාර කළමණාකාරවරු දෙදෙනෙකු ඔහු දුටුවේය. කළා උපාධිධාරීන් වූ ඔවුන් රෝහලේ ඔබ මොබ යමින් කාලය ගත කළහ. 

” මචං සර් කිව්වා ෆැක්ස් එකක් යවන්න කියලා . උඹ දන්නවද  ෆැක්ස් එකක් යවන හැටි ? පළවන සහකාර කළමණාකාරවරයා දෙවැන්න ගෙන් ඇසුවේය. ” නෑ මචං මම දන්නේ නෑනේ ” කියා දෙවැන්නා කීවේය. 

වෛද්‍ය අධිකාරීවරයා සිටියේ නොසන්සුන්කමිනි. මීට සුමානයකට පෙර නාරි හා ප්‍රසව වාට්ටුවට ඇතුලත් කරන ලද ගැබිණි මවක් කාර්‍යමණ්ඩලයේ නොසැලකිල්ලෙන් මිය ගියා කියන ආරංචිය මත ප්‍රාදේශීය පත්‍ර වාර්තාකරු රෝහලට පැමිණ සිටියේය. ඔහු රෝහලේ සිදුවන ආටක නාටක ලියන්නෙකි. එහෙත් රෝහල් පරිපාලන නිලධාරී ඔහුව හවස බාර් එකේදී හමු වන බවට පොරොන්දුවක් දුන් නිසා කාර්‍යමණ්ඩලයේ නොසැලකිල්ලෙන් ගැබිණි මව මිය යයි යන හෙඩිම වෙනුවට රෝහලේ ජල නලයක් පුපුරා ලෙඩුන් අපහසුතාවයට කියා නව හෙඩිමක් ඔහු ලියා ගත්තේය. 

තම දකුණු අත වන් පරිපාලන නිලධාරියාගේ ස්ථානෝචිත ප්‍රඥාව ගැන වෛද්‍ය අධිකාරී සතුටු විය. ඒ නිසා ඔහු යාන්ත්‍රිකව මෙන් ටිකිරි ලියාට නිර්දේශ කරන ලද බෙහෙතට තම අත්සන තැබුවේය. ඉන් පසු රෝහලේ වාට්ටුවේ ඇටෙන්ඩන්වරයා ගියේ ෆාමසියටය. 

ෆාමසියේ මහත්තයා  ඩිපෝ ප්‍රවේරා තොගයක් සහ තවත් වේදනා නාශක බෙහෙත් මෙන්ම මිලෙන් අධික ප්‍රති ජීවක බෙහෙත් අඩංගු  කුඩා පෙට්ටියක් වෙනම  මල්ලකට ඔබමින් සිටියේය. වාට්ටුවේ ඇටෙන්ඩන්වරයා දුටු හෙතෙම සිනහවකින් මුව සරසාගෙන ඇඳ ඉහ පත ඇටෙන්ඩන්වරයා අතින් ඉල්ලා ගත්තේය. 

දහවල් වන විට එස්. එච් .ඕ හෙවත් ජේෂ්ඨ වෛද්‍ය නිලධාරී වාට්ටුවට ආවේය. ඔහු ටිකිරි ලියාව පරික්‍ෂා කොට පුද්ගලික චැනල් මධ්‍යස්ථානයේ සිටින විශේසඥ කායික වෛද්‍යවරයා  වෙත ඇමතුමක් ගත්තේය. ඉන්පසු ” සර් කියනවා ලෙඩාව ට්‍රාන්සර් කරන්න ” කියා කීවේය. 

සැනසුම් සුසුමක් හෙලූ ඉන්ටර්න්වරයා ටිකිරි ලියාව  මාරු කර යැවීම සඳහා අදාල පෝර්මය පිරවීය. ඒ අතරවාරයේ ජේෂ්ඨ වෛද්‍ය නිලධාරී ටිකිරි ලියාට දීම සඳහා සේලයින් බෝතලයක්  හෙදියගෙන් ඉල්ලුවේය. 

හෙදිය විසින් ගෙනත් දුන්  සේලයින් බෝතලය මඳක් අඳුරු පාටය. එහි පුස් වගයක් පාවෙමින් තිබුනේය. මේ සේලයින් තොගය අමාත්‍යවරයාගේ නිර්දේශය මත  ටෙන්ඩර් හරහා සෞඛ්‍යය අමාත්‍යාංශයේ නිලධාරීන් විසින් ඉන්දියාවේ කොම්පැනියකින් මිලදී ගෙන තිබුණි. සේලයින් තොගය ඔවුන්ට වාසනාව ගෙන ආවද රෝගීන්ට දුර්විපාක ඇති කරන ලදි. 

මෙලෙස වැඩිදුර ප්‍රතිකාර සඳහා ටිකිරි ලියාව මාරු කර යවන ලදි. ඉන්ටර්න්වරයා  ටිකිරි ලියා මාරු කර යැවීමෙන් පසු කෙලින්ම නිල නිවස වෙත දිව්වේ ඉතිරි රෙදි ටික සේදීම සඳහාය. 

The West created this widespread mess!

April 20th, 2019

S.H.MOULANA Courtesy The Island

After the 2003 illegal invasion of Saddam’s Iraq by Bush and Blair, followed by the ousting of Gaddafi by the West in 2011, we saw an uprising in Syria, which has so far taken more than 400,000 lives of fighters as well as innocent civilians, by bombs dropped by foreign powers supposed to be there to bring peace to the country. Now the country remains in ruin. Iraq faced the heaviest bombardment which killed over 460,000 Iraqis. Although the rulers of those three countries were dictators, they did not rob their country’s wealth but did well for the inhabitants.

Most importantly, the three rulers of these countries Saddam, Gaddafi and Bashar Al Assad, respectively never tolerated terrorists within their borders, and the people were absolutely free from any threat of the extremists. Communities of diversified faiths coexisted in an admirable atmosphere. Sadly, the countries are now infested with various extremist groups which have created division among the communities unlike before.

Many Iraqis now repent losing Saddam and his national campaign for eradication of illiteracy. UNESCO awarded a prize for the Saddam government’s achievement in this field. Education was made free for everyone in Iraq from grade one to university and further. He made Iraq one of the leading oil producers. Government employees were given pieces of land for them to build houses. Water and electricity were made available in every city and village in Iraq. All industries flourished during his rule. Healthcare was made absolutely free. A crippling sanctions were imposed on Iraq after Saddam’s mistake of his attacking Kuwait.

For 41 years until his death in 2011 Gaddafi did some truly amazing things for his country and countrymen. He helped practically all member countries in the African Union. Libya too, like Iraq, had free education and healthcare for all citizens. He carried out the largest irrigation project in the world. Every new born child and mother got US $ 5000 from the government. Electricity was absolutely free and petrol sold at rock bottom price of 0.14 dollar per litre.

Syria prior to the current upheaval was one of the major suppliers of fruits and vegetables to the Gulf countries and other neighbouring Arab countries. Now it is in dire need of these products for its survival. Thought of all what the Iraqis, Libyans and Syrians enjoyed just few years ago are tormenting them now. So, who created this mess? It is the West with their adventure in the pretext of introducing democracy!

When Does Sri Lanka President’s Term End? – OpEd

April 20th, 2019

By  Courtesy Urasia Review

Many people in Sri Lanka thought that President Sirisena would leave office in January 2020. The conventional wisdom was that Sirisena’s term issue” was resolved when the Supreme Court (SC) ruled that he was entitled to a five-year term; not six years. This ruling was delivered in January 2018 in response to a quarry from the president.

Last week, Dayasiri Jayasekara, General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), announced that the president might seek the opinion of the SC on the expiry date of his term. The president’s team seems to believe that his term ends in May 2020, not January.

19th Amendment

The crux of the matter lies in the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. President Sirisena was elected in January 2015 for a term of six years.” The 19th Amendment reduced the time from six years to five years. The SC relied on this change for its decision in January 2018. Now, if the president goes back to the SC with the new question, he will rely on the fact that the 19th Amendment was certified on May 15, 2015.

According to newspaper reports on this issue, opinions differ on the last date of President Sirisena’s term in office. Some believe that it ends on January 8, 2020, and others seem to think that he can continue until May.

Jayasekara’s announcement forced me to go back and recheck the 19th Amendment. I got the feeling that President Sirisena has a case here. First, Section 1 (2) of the Amendment states that the provisions of this Act other than the provisions of section 9 … and the provisions of section 15 shall come into force on the date on which this Act comes into operation.” Section 9 deals with the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers. Section 15 is about the term of Parliament. The point is that everything else in the Amendment came into force when the Amendment became operational.

The presidential term related arrangements are in section 4 and section 49 of the 19th Amendment. Dealing with the presidential term, Section 4 (2) (b) substituted the words for a term of six years” with the words for a term of five years.” Section 49 is called transitional provisions.” Section 49 (1) (b), part of the transitional provisions states, the persons holding office respectively, as the President and Prime Minister on the day preceding April 22, 2015 shall continue to hold such office after such date, subject to the provisions of the Constitution as amended by this Act.”

In other words, the president was allowed to continue, albeit with a reduced term in office, by the 19th Amendment. The Amendment came into force on May 15, 2015. In my view, therefore, the president’s five-year term commenced on May 15, 2015. His term should end on May 14, 2020.

Ask the Court

Jayampathi Wickeremarathne, one of the architects of the 19th Amendment has already stated that the president’s term ends in January 2020. Hence, it is clear that this subject is controversial and has the potential to ignite intense public debate if the president finally goes to the Court with the question.

What is imperative to note is that provisions related to this question are, at least, vague. When the president illegally dissolved the Parliament last year, he did not have the Constitution on his side. The 19th Amendment plainly stated that the president shall not” dissolve Parliament until the expiration of four and a half years from its first meeting. In this issue, it is not the case. The provisions are not explicit. Hence, they could be subject to interpretation. This is good news for the president. The Court might give the benefit of the doubt to the president. This is precisely why I think the president will eventually seek the opinion of the SC.

He has the constitutional authority to approach the SC and will not lose anything by asking the SC to rule on this. Moreover, he has everything to gain from a favorable ruling. First, an additional four month in the office could be immensely valuable when the president does not have a viable path to the presidency for the second time. Second, the ability to dissolve parliament as soon as the four and a half years of mandatory period expired could open up new possibilities in terms of strategizing his future. Right now, his options are minimal. He can contest the presidential election and lose or concede it to the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) candidate.

UNP’s Predicament

The possibility that President Sirisena’s time in office could be extended by four months could be bad news for the United National Party (UNP).

Currently, the party could ignore the president while extending basic formal courtesies because the president cannot dissolve the Parliament and need to face the voters first. If allowed to stay in office until May, the president could dissolve the Parliament in February and force a general election on the UNP.

Facing the general election first will not be in the best interest of the UNP. The party has a better chance in a presidential election. Hence, it might prefer the presidential election first followed by the general election. The party probably want to win the presidential election and then go for the general election as soon as possible. This preferred option of the UNP could be disturbed by Dayasiri Jayasekara’s announcement.

Tamil Tigers return to Swiss court

April 20th, 2019

Courtesy Swissinfo.ch

flag with tiger on it
Tamil Tiger supporters demonstrating outside the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona(KEYSTONE/TI-PRESS/ALESSANDRO CRINARI)

The Swiss Federal Court must decide whether the Tamil Tigers are a criminal group – following a complaint from the Office of the Attorney General (OAG).

The OAGexternal link has filed a complaint against last year’s verdict from the Federal Criminal Court, which ruled that 13 alleged financiers of the Sri Lankan Tamil separatist group – Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) – could not be convicted of supporting a criminal group.

On Saturday, a spokesman for the OAG confirmed a report published by CH Media newspapersexternal link, but he gave no reason for the continued legal proceedings. After an investigation lasting nine years, the OAG suspected the accused of financially supporting the World Tamil Coordinating Committee (WTCC).

+ Details of the trial, which cost over $4 million

In June 2018, the Federal Criminal Court found that the hierarchical link between the LTTE and WTCC could not be sufficiently established. The judges also felt there was not enough concrete proof to consider the LTTE as a criminal group.

However, it sentenced five of the accused to conditional prison sentences for commercial fraud and in two cases for forgery of documents. According to the CH Media newspaper report, Zurich lawyer and WTCC defender Marcel Bosonnet, who was handed a conditional sentence, has asked the Federal Court to acquit him.

Tamils demonstrating outside the court

COURT CASENo jail for Swiss Tamil Tiger financiers

The 13 accused were either given suspended custodial sentences or acquitted by the Swiss Federal Criminal Court.

Minister of Finance and Mass Media, Mangala Samaraweera behind int’l lawsuits against former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa – Kanchana

April 20th, 2019

RANMINI GUNASEKARA Courtesy Ceylon Today

Minister of Finance and Mass Media, Mangala Samaraweera is behind the international lawsuits against former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, alleged UPFA Parliamentarian Kanchana Wijesekera today (18).

He said this, at a Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) media briefing held at the Party headquarters in Battaramulla.

He further claimed that one international civil lawsuit against Rajapaksa had been filed by a Canadian citizen named Roy Manoj Kumar, who was in exile from Sri Lanka since 2010, for allegedly assisting the publicity campaigns of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

We also have evidence to say that Kumar has maintained relationships with high ranking officials of this Government, including Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka and the former Chief Minister of the Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran. So it’s clear that the current Government is behind this ploy,” claimed Wijesekera.

He further alleged that the lawsuits were a deliberate attempt by the Government to sabotage Rajapaksa’s possible Presidential candidacy.

Another lawsuit has been filed in the United States by slain Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge’s daughter Ahimsa Wickrematunge.

Meanwhile, it was further said that the SLPP Youth Front will be organising a vehicle parade which will commence from Trincomalee and end in Campbell Park in Borella, to commemorate May Day.

Solar power could save Rs 266b – SIA

April 20th, 2019

RANMINI GUNASEKARA Courtesy Ceylon Today

The immediate implementation of the ‘Least Cost Long Term Solar Power Generation Plan’ will save a total of Rs 266 billion for the Sri Lankan economy, the Secretary of the Solar Industries Association (SIA), Lakmal Fernando claimed today (18).

He said this at a SIA Press conference held in Colombo.

Fernando further claimed that the proposed plan can also prevent a foreign currency outflow of approximately Rs 1,187 billion on emergency power purchases.

The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has been purchasing emergency power for the last four years. At this point, we can’t even call this recurring habit of power purchasing ‘emergency power’ anymore. According to our calculations, the Government has spent around Rs 1,187 billion for the last four years to purchase emergency power,” he added.

He further added that the savings of Rs 266 billion can be realized in another five years if the Government was to implement the proposed solar power generation plan immediately.

Fernando also said that the CEB would have received 1,550 mega watts (MW) from the pending 617 solar power applicants.

The CEB is just sitting on these applications. If these 1,550 MW were in the system, we could have avoided these power cuts all together. Why are they not approving these applications? As the SIA, we have added 230 MW to the system, and if not for this addition, the power cuts would have been even longer. We are simply trying to increase this contribution,” he added.

Swiss court verdict on 13 Tamil Tiger financiers challenged

April 20th, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

The Swiss Federal Court must decide whether the Tamil Tigers are a criminal group – following a complaint from the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG).

The OAG has filed a complaint against last year’s verdict from the Swiss Federal Criminal Court, which ruled that 13 alleged financiers of the Sri Lankan Tamil separatist group – Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) – could not be convicted of supporting a criminal group.

On Saturday, a spokesman for the OAG confirmed a report published by CH Media newspapers, but he gave no reason for the continued legal proceedings. After an investigation lasting nine years, the OAG suspected the accused of financially supporting the World Tamil Coordinating Committee (WTCC).

In June 2018, the Federal Criminal Court found that the hierarchical link between the LTTE and WTCC could not be sufficiently established. The judges also felt there was not enough concrete proof to consider the LTTE as a criminal group.

However, it sentenced five of the accused to conditional prison sentences for commercial fraud and in two cases for forgery of documents. 

According to the CH Media newspaper report, Zurich lawyer and WTCC defender Marcel Bosonnet, who was handed a conditional sentence, has asked the Federal Court to acquit him.

Source: swissinfo.ch

CAN THE CAPITAL PUNISHMENT JUSTIFY IN A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY?

April 18th, 2019

BY EDWARD THEOPHILUS

Narcotic has become a serious problem in the modern world as they are badly affected to human body as adherent substance in the one hand and the consumers and dealers of illicit drug do massive harmful to young generation and to the society in other hand. Many countries have passed legal provisions against the use of illicit drugs considering harmfulness to the human body as well as they have become a burden to the society.  The example of Sri Lanka and many other countries demonstrate that consuming and dealing with narcotic would support to creating a lawless society.  It seems that Sri Lanka has become a centre of distribution of various narcotic to other countries and international narcotic dealers have turned Sri Lanka to promote illicit drug business and crimes against the democratic rights of people.  Many countries have criminalized all activities associated with narcotic substances, some responsible members of Sri Lanka’s parliament (Mr Rajitha Senaratne) launched a campaign to decriminalize narcotic in the country without knowing the harmfulness of them not only to Sri Lanka but also to other countries in the world.

The dealing with all kind of narcotic substances such as consuming and using as a business device have been banned by the world and some countries wherein an uncontrollable illicit drug problem has imposed capital punishment for consuming as well as association with distribution. Middle Eastern and Asian countries have severe punishments for consuming and dealing with narcotic.   The president of Philippines insisted capital punishment to people associated with illicit drugs in absence of a trial and as a result of this decision, it has recorded that more than 3000 people who associated with illicit drugs were subject to capital punishment or on the spot death.  It is a topic that internationally debating, we can express views on the decision of the president of Philippines, but have no ability to revert the decision of the president as it specifically related to a serious problem of the country. I spoke to several citizens of Philippines in different countries, they agree with the decision of the president as the narcotic is an austere problem affecting to day to day life of ordinary people in Philippines.

Australian Institute of Criminology has published an excellent paper, Polas and Walker (1987), Capital Punishment: Trends and Issues, Crime and Criminal Justice No 3, Canberra (www.aic.gov.au) and the paper described that the term capital punishment is derived from caput, meaning head.  It originally referred to death by decapitation, but now applies generally to state sanctioned execution. Recently, the President of Sri Lanka has publicly stated that he will sanction the execution of drug dealers who were punished by the court of justice after a fair trial. The intention of president of Sri Lanka cannot be compared to public execution of drug offenders by the president of Philippines because the statement of Sri Lanka’s president is a punishment within the legal framework. Therefore, the intention of the president of Sri Lanka and the practice of the president of Philippines has a vast difference and the practice of the Philippines cannot be implemented in Sri Lanka, which is a Buddhist country, and all religions in Sri Lanka cogitate killing a person is a sin for any reason, and there might be a convincing opposition to killing drug dealers on roads or public.

However, the statement of the president of Sri Lanka to sanction state execution for drug dealers has composed a sharp debate from different point of views and some religious leaders have expressed their opinion, but such opinion may not be an authentic decision of the religious organizations. Why the president of Sri Lanka openly expresses his intention to introduce capital punishment, to attract popularity or any other purpose is a question to public, and it might be a dubious decision or an intention. Another vital point is that did the president consult his own cabinet or the parliament before take the decision and what were the response of them.  The president is a democratic institution, and before make decisions he should consult or get approval from the relevant institutions, and it is the good governance.  His predecessor, Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa consulted the cabinet and other relevant authorities and neighbouring countries before making decisions in many instances.  Why the current president has departed from the practice of previous president?  In a moralize society, making a statement on sanctioning state execution should not be a behaviour of a leader, is my opinion.  It is not a cause for attracting personal popularity.       

In terms of criminal law, the purpose of punishment is to prevent a person further engage in wrong doing.  A punishment may achieve or may not be achieved the purpose. According to the common experience, it has seen that many wrong doers were given punishments but after the period of punishment they reengage in committing crimes, many feels that punishments have not prevented wrong doings. Practically in Sri Lanka, illicit drug offenders were punished by the court, nevertheless, these criminals recommenced criminal behaviour while staying in the jail. How and why they are happening if there are an efficient and effective administration is in jail administration the country. For this situation, administrators including the president of Sri Lanka are responsible.  

The deterrence theory further aims at punishing to drug offenders with jail sentence to off the opportunity to committing crimes.  According to the theory of deterrence in criminal law, people generally believe that when drug offenders deter, drug business will stop but the reality in Sri Lanka is that after the punishment, drug criminals reiterate wrong doing same as the way or more vigorously killing the judge or personnel in law enforcement authority.  It is a really concern experience in Sri Lanka compared to other countries. The minister responsible for jail administration has publicly expressed that officers in jail as well as personnel in law enforcement authority are associated with the narcotic business dealers. This statement proves that Sri Lanka has a weak law enforcement authority and jail administration, which are not supported to control illicit drugs in the country.

The illicit drug problem in Sri Lanka is a management related problem in the country, which needs effective controls and management methods.  Many expressed views that government politicians, henchmen of them, top brass of the government and civil society activists sophisticatedly linked to drug business and obviously, it seems that current weakness in political administration is responsible for the problem.  In order to get out of owned weakness for formulating right strategies to control drug problem, president talks on imposing capital punishment, which is rejected by democratic world, is not a competent administration and a behaviour of responsible president elected by the votes of people.

 In Sri Lanka a wide spread talking point or a gossip was, that originally abolished capital punishment was re-established after the assassination of Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, and the capital punishment was given to the assassinator, Rev. Talduwe Somarama was not the real assassinator, but some other person did it, and the exterminator disguised with the support of the law enforcement authority. This means that it is a quite difficult task to detect the real criminals to give capital punishment and the best option is to consider other method of punishment for drug criminals.  It does not mean that the system of justice should ignore the offence, but to use alternative strategy.

Many countries have controlled illicit drug problems using effective strategies and techniques. Local drug problem in Sri Lanka is basically related to consuming or use of drug, which can be controlled by using multiple methods such as educating about drugs and harmful effects of drugs to individuals and the society.  Sri Lanka has a history of small-scale drug business in villages. Opium and cannabis business had been operated in Sri Lanka since beginning of human being in the country. Opium business had been operated in villages by small scale Indian businessmen, who illegally migrated to Sri Lanka and used opium as a business device to quickly achieving enrichment.  Sri Lanka is not growing the plants which use to produce opium (Popi plant) or cocaine (Koki Plant).  Sri Lanka Politics and education in in the country did not focus to control such business in the past.  Therefore, Sri Lanka has an ideal environment for illicit drug and alcohol business and consumption.     In many countries, drug education is a part of school curriculum and lots of resources are spent for this purpose.  Sri Lanka needs vigorous campaign on drug education not only in schools but also to young generation who are out of schools. The government needs funding for advertisements against drug in newspapers, radio and TVs.

Another vital aspect of narcotic and illicit alcohol in Sri Lanka is that traditional people treated cannabis as a medicinal plant and many Ayurveda doctor use cannabis and opium for production of medicines in various forms. History recoded that illicit alcohol used in the war between King Dutugemunu and Elara. Many traditional employees such as toddy tappers, coconut husk removers, coconut pickers and many hard labour workers used opium as a pain killer and sleeping chemical. In the recent past, many Ayurveda doctors got caught using cannabis and opium for making medicines for Asma and other common deceases.  In villages, women use cannabis to soften village rooster’s meat. Religions did not address the issue.  Catholic priests appreciated with illicit alcohol producers and dealers who contributed funds for church festivals.  Cannabis dealers associated with Buddhist temples and religious leaders reluctant to openly talk about narcotic and alcohol business, the stand of religion now has radically changed and openly talk against illicit drugs and all religions in the country have commence drug education programs.

People should be vigilant on drug traffickers.  During the LTTE war people were highly concerned on explosive and similar way, people need concern on drug traffickers and inform about the suspicious people to law enforcement authority.   

Capital punishment from the point of views of religion may not be justified due to various points. According to Christianity humans are creation of God and human have no right to make judgment to destroy a creature of God.  This is a complex argument because human make decisions to destroy animal, plants, which are also creatures of God.  Because of some people do wrong things, it doesn’t warrant to kill them.  For example, Adam and Eva believed to be the first human were created by God and when they committed the original sin, God could have given a punishment to kill them and end human being in this world, but God never done it. Instead of destroying creation God sent his own son (Jesus Christ) to this world to save human being sacrificing his life and to educate people to get away from bad habits and sins. Therefore, Christianity doesn’t agree with the capital punishment for drug or any other kind of offenders.

Buddhism also does not agree with capital punishment as a killing of a person regards as a Karma, which is sorrow in metempsychosis transmigrating one life to other and Buddhism would not agree with the capital punishment. In Hinduism, it is a controversy, in terms of Bagawarh Geetha, if God has not sanctioned, a killing a person is regarded as Karma. Islam also against killing people.  In this religious background, capital punishment is not approved by religions in Sri Lanka and the president’s decision for the capital punishment for drug offenders would not be justified by any religion operating in Sri Lanka.   

HEALTH, EDUCATION AND YAHAPALANA Part 5

April 18th, 2019

KAMALIKA  PIERIS

The final essay in this series  is on health.

We start with Sunshine stories”. Here they are:

  • European standard hospitals will be established in Hambantota, Panadura, Dambulla, Matale and Embilipitiya with German, Netherlands and French aid.
  • New accident wards are to be established in 24 General Hospitals and Teaching Hospitals located island wide.
  •  A total of 48 blood transfusion centres have already been established island wide.
  • A  clinical wastage recycling project, spending Rs. 2600 million will  be launched.
  • A foreign company will invest in E-Health system and issue E-Health cards for Sri Lankans .the company will include all State hospitals in the E-Health system. It has provided E-Health cards for 40 million people in Andhra Pradesh in India.

The country’s health care system will be digitized via an E-Health policy. According to the E-Health policy, all citizens will be issued E-Health Cards which will record their health conditions so that any doctor can have history of their patients. The E-Health System will be introduced to 45 Hospitals in the next two years 2018-19 .it is to be expanded to 300 hospitals following the initial implementation.

  • The government is to launch a project to manufacture a key ingredient in medical products using liters of blood plasma daily unused in the country. We will have a joint project with United States of America and India to produce certain ingredients which are very important in some medical products. When we export blood plasma, these countries manufacture these ingredients and export them back to our country for very high prices. With this new project, we will receive a quantity of these products for our local use.

***

In 2017, The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) urged  the Health ministry to appoint a suitable officer to the post of Director General of   Health services. This is the apex position in the health services and the post has been vacant for nearly one year now with an acting DGHS.

***

In 2018 The GMOA asked the Health Ministry to fill the 148 Deputy Director posts which had fallen vacant instead of creating  ‘Acting Deputy Directors’. There were 180 Deputy Director posts in the country and 148 of them were vacant. the vacancies had been advertised about one year back. But, no attempt had been made to fill them. Medical Superintendents in Base hospitals, Deputy Directors in all major hospitals, Deputy Regional Directors come under the category of Deputy Director. State-run hospitals are facing a crisis due to the delays in appointments. 

***

In 2018 the Government Medical Officers’ Association  warned it would resort to a strike if the North Central Provincial Council attempted to bring doctors serving in the province under the Provincial health service. North Central Province (NCP) had, in a letter, informed the Provincial Director Health Services that the Council had taken a decision to absorb doctors under its purview. GMOA said doctors belonged to the All-Island service.

The doctors had also wanted to take up with the Governor NCP several other issues including Indian medical officers conducting mobile clinics in the East, the misuse of World Bank funds and the delay in paying doctors’ overtime. A group of GMOA representatives in the East who attempted to take up those issues at a meeting with Governor on March 29 had been threatened.

***

Puttalam nurses staged a demonstration in March 2018 saying that they had worked in Puttalam for nine years and had got transfer orders but the hospital is not letting them go.

***

Doctors protested in 2018 against an appointment of a second vascular surgeon to the Ragama Teaching Hospital (Colombo North Teaching Hospital) from outside the annual transfer list. The surgeon involved was sent to the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital in 2016.Two years later a special position had been created for a second vascular surgeon at Colombo North Teaching Hospital (CNTH), Ragama and this surgeon appointed to it, in violation of the annual transfer list. Doctors allege that the second position had been created to accommodate this particular surgeon. Director of the Ragama hospital told the Director General Health Services, that two vascular specialists are not required in his hospital as the hospital doesn’t have a specialized unit for vascular surgery.

***

The post of the Chief Epidemiologist was always held by a qualified epidemiologist but a doctor without the required medical knowledge  was   appointed to this position in 2017. Protests were made by the GMOA, former Chief Epidemiologists, current Epidemiologists and senior academics.

Chief Epidemiologist, Dr. Paba Palihawadana, sought and obtained no-pay leave from the Health Ministry to join the UN service for one year, in 2017. While she was on no-pay leave, another senior public health specialist of the Epidemiology Unit acted for the Chief Epidemiologist. However, when Dr. Palihawadana reported back for duty as Chief Epidemiologist on January 1, 2018, she found that another person had been appointed to the post.

Dr. A.  Dissanayake was appointed as Chief Epidemiologist on December 19, 2017, There was an advertisement, I applied and I was selected,” he said, pointing out that the appointment was made by the Public Service Commission in accordance with the prevailing medical minutes. Dr. Dissanayake said he had headed the National Blood Transfusion Service for several years.  Before that he was Regional Director of Health Services (RDHS) in Kalutara, where he was handling everything”. The medical profession did not agree. They said Dr D. did not have the necessary qualifications.  He had a M.Sc in Medical Administration.”

According to  circular No. 02-132/2000 dated September 26, 2000, the Chief Epidemiologist should be a Board certified Consultant in Community Medicine with work experience in epidemiology,. These criteria are also included in the Medical Services Minute of 2014. All Consultants attached to the Epidemiology Unit have these qualifications and field experience in epidemiology-related activities.

The Epidemiology Unit is responsible for controlling communicable diseases. If there is a major outbreak of a communicable disease, the Epidemiology Unit, will not be able to handle the crisis with a non-technical head without a background in epidemiology, Sri Lanka’s much-commended public health system would crash with the next outbreak of disease.

All epidemiological-related activities — which include communicable disease control and the immunization programme – are coordinated and implemented through Regional Epidemiologists based at district-level. When the Regional Epidemiologists need any technical input, it has to be provided by the Chief Epidemiologist. the Chief Epidemiologist has to provide technical advice and guidance to these Consultants. The doctors will not be ready to follow the medical instructions given by a doctor who does not have the requisite knowledge. That is why we think that the current Chief Epidemiologist cannot handle the job,”

Doctors pointed out that a non-technical doctor  had been appointed to head the Dengue Control Programme. He had abandoned” his post during the height of the dengue epidemic in 2017. The main reason for influenza reaching the epidemic level in the Southern Province is the appointment of a  doctor without the relevant medical knowledge to the post of Chief Epidemiologist, said the GMOA in May 2018.

The influenza started to spread in the Southern Province one month ago, but nothing was done to control it, The Chief Epidemiologist kept mum. Now it is up to the parents and the school authorities to control the outbreak and prevent it from spreading all over the country.  The Epidemiology Unit and the Chief Epidemiologist is not ready to face any possible disease outbreak that could occur as a result of the present floods, either.

***

Cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Namal Gamage has decided, in July 2018, to stop performing surgeries as the air-conditioner at the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital was not functioning. There were around 3,000 heart patients waiting to undergo heart surgery at the hospital. Although a number of requests had been made for repairing the central air-conditioning system, no action had been taken, The patients also made the same request to the authorities.

***

The Health Ministry said in 2017 it would make use of theatres at private hospitals to perform cardiac and eye surgeries to clear waiting lists at government hospitals. The surgeons and staff would be from the government and private sectors.  Health Ministry would meet the cost. The private hospitals  have submitted their charges for each surgery and the time table during which the operations could be performed. The Private Sector Regulatory Authority would study the report and come up with an action plan.

***

The Emergency medical Service system of the country will soon be strengthened with eight Airbus Helicopters and 28 state-of-the-art emergency vehicles, said the Ministry in 2017. Steiger Foundation of Germany will provide 24 helicopters, 1,025 ambulances and 24 emergency vehicles. Helicopters will be  useful addition to the system,  considering   road traffic congestion . Sometimes ambulances could not travel through roads due to traffic congestion.

The government  announced that it has decided to continue with Sri Lanka’s pioneering  Pre Hospital Emergency Care Ambulance Service, Suwasariya, launched with Indian financial backing  in 2016. the free ambulance services now operating in Western and Southern Provinces will be expanded covering the entire country by  2018. Joint Opposition pointed out in Parliament  that  it was the ambulance service in the hospitals which should be expanded.

The Indian firm GVK EMRI LANKA operated the free ambulance  service through a Public-Private Partnership with the Ministry of Health,. The operation is a 24 hour, 7 days a week, round the clock service, the Control Centre received over 322,000 calls and has served over 32,000 cases, out of which, cardio, trauma, and stroke were the major cases.

In a Memorandum to the Cabinet of Ministers, Wickremesinghe had said that the Pre Hospital Emergency Care Ambulance Service, which was launched in the Western and Southern Provinces with GVK EMRI Lanka Limited and assistance of the Indian Government on July 29, 2016 had by April 2017, responded to 236,000 calls with an average responding time of 12.52 minutes and transported 130 to 135 patients daily.

In a ‘letter to the editor’ which was supposedly to praise a hospital ward, ‘Concerned woman’ heaped praise on the Indian ambulance service which she said was excellent. The service included a  doctor, a nurse and nurse aide. They were trained in India,  including  the driver. They knew emergency medical action. they were considerate and capable. They helped revive her husband with emergency first aid. All this at no cost thanks to the present government, she said.

***

Health Ministry has. in 2018,  outsourced the laundry services of hospitals in the Western Province to an Indian Company, complained Government Medical Officers’ Association  . The GMOA wanted this outsourcing of the laundry in government hospitals to an Indian Company, stopped.

The Ministry said that the new  laundry  service would be provided  by the Sri Lankan affiliate of India’s Sugram Hospital Solutions, which is engaged in laundry services at several hospitals worldwide, The service is a Board of Investment (BOI) project under the Build, Operate, & Transfer (BOT) method with a  USD 4 7.5 million investment. The government does not bear any expenses for the project. Constructing  of  buildings and installing required machinery, will be done at the expense of the investors, After 15 years the project, with up to date technology will be transferred to the Ministry of Health. More than 300 unemployed youths will be given employment.

Under the project, the garments used by the patients and staff during the surgical procedures will be sterilized using modern methods, washed and ironed, sealed in protective covers, and transported to the hospitals in sterilized trucks. The Ministry of Health will spend less than the cost incurred by the hospitals on local laundry services at present.

 The Ministry said doctors in Western Province had complained about the local providers who were engaged in the laundry service for the hospitals in the Western Province. They were using substandard materials for sterilization,  they were not sterilizing, there was  delay in providing cleaned laundry to hospitals during rainy season,  and the possible spread of skin related diseases due to incomplete cleaning also, white-colored bed linen are brownish. They were washed with water from the Beira Lake.

GMOA replied that the local agencies involved in washing hospital linen had been registered with and certified by the Health Ministry after calling for tenders. They were experienced and met the required standards. The charge that Beira Lake water was used for washing hospital linen was incorrect. GMOA wanted to know whether cleaner water was to be brought from India or whether linen was to be sent to India to be washed and brought back to Sri Lanka.

This was yet another instance of Sri Lankan politicians acting as agents of foreign countries. They were selling government institutions and services to foreign companies, said GMOA.   GMOA had warned that the Economic and Technology Corporation Agreement (ETCA) would threaten the services and professions in Sri Lanka. Now, it seems that not even small enterprises and family trade would be safe with ECTA,  said GMOA. This project has no relevance to ETCA, replied the Ministry.

***

there were 13 local drug manufacturers who locally produce 82 items for the State Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing Corporation, said the Ministry at a media briefing in 2017. Ten more local manufacturers producing 40 more items will join the local drug manufacturing in the near future. a total of 38 agreements have been signed between the government and the local drug manufacturers to produce drugs in Sri Lanka .Sri Lanka has already begun local drug production at two factories situated in Kandy and Horana.

Sri Lanka expects to produce 80% of its drug requirements by the end of 2018, which will save USD 400 million plus annually which the government spends for drug importation. Accordingly, the importation of all drugs which can be produced locally, will be stopped by the end of 2018.

**&

The State Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing Corporation of Sri Lanka (SPMC) and Pharma Zone (Pvt) Ltd entered into an agreement in January 2018, to build the first ever exclusive pharmaceutical manufacturing zone (Pharma Zone) of Sri Lanka. It will be located on 50 acres in Welipenna, Kalutara district at an investment of over US $ 10 million. to be.

The Pharma Zone is a BOI approved company whose principals are the Sultan of Johor and Patrick Lim Soo Kit, a leading Malaysian entrepreneur. This is a 100 % Malaysian investment and it underlines the high regard that the Sultan and the people of Johor for Sri Lanka, said the Ministry.

The Zone will be run and administered by Pharma Zone, headed by Patrick Lim Soo Kit, while the SPMC along with the Ministry of Health will set the standards and monitor quality. Electricity, water, road infrastructure, security, waste water management,  will l be provided to the companies operating within the Zone. it is the intention of Pharma Zone to attract overseas investors to set up operations within the Zone as well. “We will be marketing Pharma Zone regionally,” said Lim.

Pharma Zone will facilitate the local pharmaceutical manufacturers with sufficient land for manufacturing plants and basic infrastructure facilities for the manufacture of pharmaceutical products. So that the government can achieve its target of localising production of essential pharmaceutical items to a value of US$100 million. with the completion of the Pharma Zone, envisaged to be in operation within one year, the country’s dependency on imported drugs will soon become a thing of the past, said the Ministry.

**&

 In 2017 the Health Ministry announced an exclusive agreement between the government and the staff of the State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) to grant a staggering 55 per cent salary increase to the lowest paid employees and 41 per cent pay hike to their highest paid counterparts. This  salary increase had been granted due to an impressive profit of Rs 1,800 earned by the SPC . it would be effective from July 1, 2017 to June 6, 2020.

***

Hospitals do not have adequate drugs to treat cancer patients and are not sure when the drugs will arrive critics said in January 2019. This is due to the delay in appointments to tender boards. That is turn is due to vetting process by the committees appointed by the President. The Boards cannot function until persons are formally appointments to tender boards. the Medical Supplies Division  of the Health Ministry and the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC) responsible for supplying the required medicines confirmed that delays in appointing tender boards and the release of payments to suppliers had adversely affected the supplies.

 The resulting delays in completing tender processes has  particularly affected the purchase of vital drugs for cancer patients.. medical authorities have been forced to defer treatment of cancer patients throughout the country. the country’s main Cancer Hospital, ‘Apeksha’ in Maharagama  was forced to tell patients to come back later for treatment or advise them to by the medicine from private pharmacies. Hundreds of patients have already been turned away, reported the media.

***

in September 2018,  Health Ministry officials said that a crisis is looming in the health sector due to the Treasury not releasing more than Rs 20 billion to settle bills for essential items, including medicines,  it is the first time such a large amount has been outstanding. Of this, Rs 10 billion is owed to the Health Ministry. Another Rs 10 billion is due to the State Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing Corporation (SPMC) which has not been paid up to five months for production of essential medicines. Arrears to the tune of Rs 450 million are owed to one supplier.

The SPMC takes out loans to manufacture close to 200 pharmaceuticals. When Treasury reimbursement is delayed, it is forced to reduce the quantity of drugs it produces or cease manufacturing completely. This is because it costs money to import the raw material required to make the medicines in Sri Lanka. All these medicines are for Government hospitals,” said the official. If the outstanding amounts are not settled soon, manufacturers will refuse to provide medicines, plunging the free health service into crisis.”. There is also no money to advertise tenders, meaning those that are in the pipeline will be delayed.

***

 In 2017 Yahapalana government   purchased two clinically untested cancer drugs  Trastuzumab and Bevazizumab, produced and imported from Russia. In 2016, 25 oncologists wrote to the Health Ministry advising it not to import these two  drugs.   The drugs were of low quality and were not used even in Russia. Their price was higher than other drugs which have US Food and Drug Authority (FDA) approval.

The drug was hurriedly registered in the NMRA    and tenders called. There were no Oncologists in the technical committee which approved the tender. The tender was floated by the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation of Sri Lanka (SPCSL). (Tender No. LP/MSD/CPU – DHS/RQ/016/018). The five shortlisted bidders submitted quotations for Rs. 64,700, Rs. 93,950, Rs. 109,000, Rs. 135,900 and Rs. 190,000 per vial, respectively. The second highest bidder wasawarded thetender, despite a substantial price difference of Rs. 39 million for the whole stock of 557 vials.

The company which submitted the lowest bid wrote to the authorities, complaining about the unjust manner in which it was elbowed out and the tender awarded to the second highest bidder. The lowest bidder  said that he too was able to supply 100 vials ex stock (with three vials free of charge) and the balance within 14 working days on receipt of the confirmed order.

A second purchase  order was placed on October 3, 2017 with the local supplier for another 2,500 vials of Trastuzumab at a staggering cost of Rs. 360,250,000, despite a competitor offering a time-tested, FDA approved product, at a competitive price. The move to purchase another 2,500 vials of a product which has generated much controversy is beyond belief, said critics. Somebody is making a big kill on the bid. Otherwise, why opt for a higher price when a better, time-tested drug is on offer.

After the appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister and Chamal Rajapaksa as Health Minister,  in October 2018, the SPC had ordered a better and cheaper drug, but when a court order preventing the Prime Minister and the Cabinet from functioning was made, the SPC  cancelled the order and again ordered the Russian drug.

The SPC bought 557 vials from this company at the second highest bid price of Rs. 135,900 each at a total cost of more than Rs. 75 million. The lowest bidder had offered the stock for Rs. 36.37 million which meant that the government had spent an additional Rs. 39 million. analysts said this was done to prevent losses to the local importer of this drug.  The importer was holding large stocks of this very expensive drug. It had known that the Ministry  will definitely purchase the drug from them. These three purchases have resulted in a colossal loss of more than Rs. 108 million to the country, said critics.

***

From the time Yahapalana government took power,  the GMOA has been actively opposing  the government  on economic issues such as ECTA. They  antagonized the government and the government  retaliated . In November 2016, the tyres of cars belonging to doctors has been deflated at the Ministry. Doctors at Kandy, Kurunegala and Matara had suspended work for four hours as protest.  

There were several disagreements between the doctors and the  Health Ministry. GMOA said government has cut down vehicle permits, their children were not given good schools when transfers were made and did not grant schools to their children  when they returned from abroad, Government said schools had been given. Doctors said , no. Not all children had  got schools. only     20 out of 138 children had got schools. Doctors were contemplating trade union action

doctors also complained of an inordinate delay in the implementation of enhanced transport allowance as well as the amendments in respect of duty free vehicle scheme. They objected to the  way they were taxed in Budget 2017. they  staged a lunch hour protest demanding that the government solve several issues of the Budget 2017. Western province doctors would stop private practice for a day, against the budget proposal to tax government employees  private practice. 

Association of Medical Specialists said in June  2018 they would refrain from private practice  in protest over the new tax policy for doctors All specialists doctors will strike if the discussion with the Finance Minister fails. Yahapalana gave in and said they would give the disturbance, availability and transport allowance. and allowances will be increased. Also doctors  private practice will not be subject to tax.

In 2017, the Ministry said that GMOA was preventing  the routine transfers. GMO said that was nonsense. The GMOA has always participated in the transfer process for years and it is only  in 2017 that GMOA has clashed like this with the Health ministry. The ministry has still not got the transfer list ready,  they said. The list should have been published in December last year and by now the doctors would have been in their new stations. ( Concluded)

Clinical Meditation

April 18th, 2019

Foreword

Ruwan M Jayatunge’s Clinical Meditation is a most ambitious project, providing a broad overview of meditative techniques without sacrificing in-depth analysis.   

There are several challenges involved in describing the value of meditation in clinical practice.  The practice of meditation” encompasses a large and varied field. Much of the published scientific literature is of borderline quality.  Study designs often neglect the heterogeneity of techniques, and at times draw conclusions that are not supported by data.  Even a fundamental definition of the term can be elusive.  Despite these difficulties Dr. Jayatunge has evaluated as comprehensive a list of meditative traditions and techniques as one can expect to find.   

Clinical Meditation identifies a wide variety of practices, including a number of laboratory derived approaches, and describes the historical and cultural milieu from which they have arisen as well as their current status.  The work reflects an admirable job of reviewing the scientific literature ranging across physiological, psychological and therapeutic domains.  Dr. Jayatunge then connects the dots regarding a host of clinical conditions. 

This book is suitable for a wide audience.  Those new to the arena will almost certainly find a place to start regardless of their area of interest.  Experts in the scientific bases and clinical applications of meditation will find in-depth information, a wide spectrum of consideration, and literally hundreds of scientific references.  Clinical Meditation offers a robust and welcome addition to the field. 

Brian Rees MD MPH

Colonel (retired) US Army

Executive Director, TM for Veterans 

Director, Operation Warrior Wellness

HEALTH, EDUCATION AND YAHAPALANA Part 4

April 18th, 2019

KAMALIKA  PIERIS

This essay looks at appointment, promotion, transfers and salaries of teachers and principals during Yahapalana rule.

APPOINTMENTS

In 2017 Education Minister gave 2,000 non-academic appointments at national schools across the country based on political influence without following a proper and transparent recruitment process, said critics. Most of these recruitments are from the Kurunegala district, especially from Kuliyapitiya. These employees do not even obey the Principals and work on their own agendas in schools. This has created a lot of administrative problems at schools. (Daily News 28.9.17 p 9)

***

The Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU) was threatening to go on strike in June 2018 in  protest of the Government’s move to absorb unqualified persons into the education sector. CTU said they were against the government’s plan to give appointments and promotions to 1,200 persons without following  the procedures  given by the Public Service Commission . Officers of the Education Ministry ,Examinations Department, Provincial Education Departments and Zonal Education Departments would participate in the strike.

**&
Attempts were made in 2017  to recruit individuals who have not even passed G.C.E.O/L as Sports Instructors. 15,000 prospective candidates were interviewed for 3,000 vacancies for minor staff posts, titled Sports Advisers” for National Schools  by staff who did not  know anything  about the respective sports.Instead of filtering and reducing the numbers for interviews to economize on time, all applicants had been called for interviews. That involved nearly a month’s work for Ministry staff.

PROMOTIONS

In March 2019,  Public Service Commission (PSC) had turned down the list of names submitted by the Ministry of Education to fill the vacancies of Principals in the 302 National schools in the country. They rejected  the selection criteria  used by the Ministry, the irregular marking scheme and the non categorization of schools. In 64 schools only Class I SLEAS officers can be posted, and in 84 schools, Class II SLEAS officers are posted. The PSC wanted the vacancies  re-advertised and filled within three months. The Ministry  however, said on its website  that it had adopted proper procedure.

***

In  May 2018, Ministry of Education decided to grant relief to 1,018 teachers, principals and education administrators  reportedly affected by ‘political victimization’   by promoting them to higher grades.

These   1,018 personnel had been chosen from 14,000 applicants who had experienced political victimization  and placed in a special category  ‘politically victimized persons’. A special Cabinet paper was presented on the matter. ‘They are victims and they have a right to get their grade increase along with salaries,’ said Minister for Education.  ‘We are not actively appointing them, we are only giving them a symbolic grade elevation and granting a salary increase to compensate them’.

A Committee comprising senior officials of the SLEAS and the Government Administrative Service had been appointed to examine the list of names.  Accordingly, 250 Sri Lanka Education Administrative Service (SLEAS ) officers and 800 candidates from the Sri Lanka Principal Service, Sri Lanka Education Administrative Service    and Sri Lanka Teacher Service were recommended for promotions.  The Public Services Commission (PSC), which had approved the decision to promote them,  stated that it had not looked at the personal files of those recommended for promotions. The PSC had only looked at the appeals.

Ceylon Teachers’ Union said it  had no objection to financial compensation, but strongly opposed promotions.  To get promotions or to enter the Education Administrative Service one had to pass examinations. Those selected have not passed the competitive examinations  needed to qualify for the posts. The list contained 27 persons   who have not passed mathematics at the GCE Ordinary Level Examination, which is mandatory and around 115 individuals have disciplinary inquiries pending.  Some of the ‘victims’ lack even the basic qualifications  needed for these posts.

The PSC Act requires that to qualify for promotions, candidates have to sit for examinations held by the PSC. Just because a teacher was transferred due to political reasons, the government could not promote him or her as a Principal, said the unions. It was unfair by the  teachers who went through the rigorous process of selection to see others gain promotion without facing assessment.  An injustice  was caused to those genuinely qualified for the posts.

 The unions  also charged that this was a ruse to promote over 1,000 UNP supporters  using the excuse of  political victimization. The appointments were being granted as political favours rather than as justice for teachers who had genuinely faced victimization.  The Education Minister was providing favours to UNP-affiliated teachers and officials, charged the unions. Several names in the list are there  on the recommendations of politicians. A number of secretaries and other minor officials of the Prime Minister’s Office have also been categorized as political victims. Most of them have not been victimized at all.  Some have  given  flimsy reasons such as their roofs being damaged by Opposition politicians. Past governments tried the same tactics and failed, with cases pending in the courts, said the unions.

The unions asked the Ministry of Education to immediately withdraw the list  of those to be promoted. Minister Kariyawasam said he would not be intimidated by unions and would proceed with the promotions.

The   education unions thereafter engaged in three vigorous protests. They first  had a sick note campaign, with the participation of Educational Administrative Service Trade Union, Teachers Education Association and the Trade Union Alliance of Teachers and Principals. 95% of the Teachers and Principals    went on ‘Sick Leave’. If the Government continues to ignore the demand, the Unions will join for a major strike, which will affect the education programme in schools, they said.

 Nothing happened, so a faction  from the Ceylon Teachers Union, Teachers’ Services Union, Lanka Teacher Services’ Association and Sri Lanka National Principals’ Union went ahead with a  one day token strike on  July 4. 2018    Around 15,000 Principals and 240,000 Teachers participated in the  protest. Schools were partially affected with reduced attendance of teachers and students.   Classes were  deserted and parents came to take the children  home.

Unionists representing the two sides clashed in front of the Education Ministry, engaging in heated arguments and hurling stones and rotten eggs at each other. Principals, education directors and administrative officials were involved in the melee. TV news showed theteachers being shoved about by the police as well. At least one person was injured in the clash. Most of those who opposed unionists protesting against the promotions were assistant secretaries and directors of the Ministry, said  the unions.

“On July 04,2018  we conducted a one-day strike and we gave the government two weeks to reverse its decision, it is a decision  that will destroy the education system. However, almost three weeks have passed and they have done nothing, said the unions. As a result, 300,000 teachers and principals planned to strike on July 26.  Thousands of teachers would gather opposite the Fort railway Station and march to the Presidential Secretariat on July 26 if the government remained intransigent.  They would  hold a mass demonstration along with the strike.

We will be following this up with a boycott of all national examinations, including the upcoming scholarship examinations in August, and the GCE Advanced Level exam. They would not carry out their duties at school examinations either. The unions wrote to zonal and regional education directors, asking them to postpone term tests.  We know that this will inconvenience students but we are doing this to ensure that the education sector is not politicized. We can’t allow people who are not  qualified to hold positions in the education administrative service.

TRANSFERS

Minister of Education  said  that the  teacher transfer policy of the Ministry stipulated that no teacher should be allowed to serve in a school for more than five years. This had not  been implemented for years. ‘I  have decided to implement it ‘, he said. The teachers transfer scheme would be implemented, he   repeated.    

There were mass transfers in January  2016  and teacher transfers continued  in 2017.Teachers were transferred within the Provincial schools system and also from Provincial schools to National schools. There were about 12,000 teachers who had served more than ten years without being transferred, said the Ministry. Some   have  been  in the same school for 17-25 years, and have got awards for their performances, Several of these teachers remain in the same school through political influences, and ‘tend to become corrupt in their comfort zone’. Of these 12,000 teachers,  8,000 were transferred in 2017, while around 2,050 remained, as they have no schools in close proximity to be transferred to..

there was strong opposition to teacher transfers at Ananda College Colombo. students of senior classes staged a protest within the school premises, against the Education Ministry’s move to transfer 40 teachers. Police were  rushed to Ananda. Police stood outside the school premises to face any emergency as students demonstrated, demanding the immediate cancellation of the transfers.

Ceylon Teachers Union  lodged a complaint with Western Province Governor, in September 2017  against discrepancies in the posting of 453 newly appointed teachers to schools in the WP. WP has once again failed to post new recruits to schools with a shortage of teachers,  the union said. Despite the shortage of teachers in the difficult zones, the new teachers are being sent to schools that already have sufficient teachers.

 There are some schools that have a teacher for every 18 students,” the union said. Schools in Colombo North, Kolonnawa and Moratuwa areas are badly in need of teachers. in 2016 too,  they recalled, around 300 teachers were recruited and posted to schools which had an excess of teachers. The transfers are made  according to recommendations by politicians.

 Ceylon Teachers Union  also said that the transfers were not done correctly. Teacher transfers should be conducted according to the 2007/20 teacher transfer policy. This clearly states that such transfers should be handled by duly appointed Transfer Boards, along with representatives of Trade Unions. Yahapalana  had instead given the task to SLEAS officers. 

In 2018, Ministry of Education   decided on a new transfer scheme for Principals of National Schools . Under this scheme, Grades I and II Principals will be transferred every 8 years instead of 10 years, and will affect some 200 Principals of 352 NSs. Teachers in Advanced Level and Ordinary level classes were transferred  under the new program, while those teaching in Grades 6-11, numbering around 3,000  were to follow. In instances where teachers have served for 10 years, but are a year or so away from retirement, they would be allowed to stay on till retirement. Four Education Directors have been appointed to evaluate appeals from teachers with grievances about their transfers. 

Principals of some National Schools  launched a campaign against the scheme, claiming they were being sent to smaller schools. the Ministry said it  was not a demotion for the Principals in larger NSs, it was a method to utilize their services to improve other schools as well. there may be Principals from smaller NSs who could be effective in a large NS, and needs to gain relevant experience. If the scheme is not effected, they will miss out on an opportunity. Some Principals have been serving in NSs for long periods, using political influence and therefore, are reluctant to move away from where they are, said the Ministry. 

All Ceylon Teachers Services Union  said the new programme is not being done in a proper manner. National and Provincial school teachers are being transferred haphazardly, bypassing protocol set out in the National Transfer Policy (NTP), causing much discontentment among those transferred. Some of the transfers have been done in violation of the Service Minute, with no room for appeal.

According to Ministry of Education Circular No. 2007/20, there is a Transfer Board (TB)  to carry out transfers of teachers according to the National Transfer Policy. Teacher transfer process should commence on May 31 of each year and end by November 01.  the TB meets in May and collects details of all teachers serving more than 5 years in National and Provincial schools, applications are called from teachers for transfers in  June and July. Thereafter, the TB meets and decides on those eligible for transfers. Then,  in September  Letters of Transfer are posted. Appeals are entertained in October  and by November 1, Appeal Board decisions are posted.

“However, neither the Ministry of Education and nor the Provincial ministries of education have carried out this process. Instead, they are transferring teachers according to the whims and fancies of officials. This is an injustice to teachers who are awaiting transfers.”  said Ceylon Teachers Union”

 The unions added, there are 97 TBs in the 9 Provinces, whose members are renewed each year. But unfortunately, he said the TB has not been formed for the last 8 years. The TB was abandoned in 2012 and since then, transfers are effected according to the whims and fancies of officials at the top . All transfers are now being done by officials at the Zonal and Inter-Zonal levels without consideration to the NTP.

Teachers claimed that the unlawful transfers by officials victimizes them, causing much hardship and inconvenience in their work life. Some teachers have been transferred to schools 50 km to 60 km away, and into areas without residential facilities. One example is in the Ampara District, where the distance between 2 schools is around 90 km. These transfers create difficulties, due to the long distance they have to travel on a daily basis.

We are not against the transfer of teachers, but we want it done methodically and in a manner they will not be traumatized.”  On some interview Boards, there are candidates contesting the forthcoming elections. Over 170 teachers with political connections had ignored an Education Ministry order  We have written to the Elections Commission of these issues, and will take legal action in this regard,”  said the union

A Committee comprising the Provincial Education Secretary and the Provincial Education Directors was appointed to set up an exchange system enabling teachers to exchange their appointment, to a school located at a convenient distance from their homes. This is the first time an exchange programme among teachers has been put in place, said the Ministry.

SALARIES.

The Ceylon Teachers Union  charged in 2017 that the Western Province  Education Ministry has failed to use up Rs 2,000 million allocated by the line ministry, to pay arrears to teachers and principals in the 11 zones in the province. the new Service Minute of Oct. 23, 2014, recommended that all teachers and principals get their due promotions in retrospectively from 2008, and the salary increments arising from the promotions paid from 2011.Accordingly, the Ministry of Education  sent a sum of Rs 2,000 million in 2015, to the WP Council to effect payment.

The Western Province Education Ministry said his office received the money too early, even before the calculations were made on 37,000 teachers’ and 15,000 principals’ files in the Provincial and National schools in the WP. As they were not ready with the figures, they had to return the money sent to them. now that the calculations have been done, they are now paying the promoted candidates. We are in the process of paying them and will soon pay all of them,” he said. 

***

The Ceylon Teachers Union said the 2018 Budget has been a disappointment, with no solutions for the problems faced by Teachers and Principals in schools. He said there has not been any mention of allocations to pay salary arrears of Teachers and Principals, in keeping with the new Sri Lanka Education Administrative Service Minute.

***

The 2019 budget also makes no mention of salary increments. Over 240,000 teachers from 6,000 schools were planning to go on a sick leave campaign starting 13.3.2019  over the government’s failure to address their salary anomalies which has been unchanged since 1997, unionists said.  They staged a demonstration at Isurupaya demanding that their longstanding salary anomalies be rectified. This was dispersed by the police, using tear gas and water cannon.

The government should be ashamed of itself for creating conditions for  this incident, said the media. There has been a serious lapse on the part of Education Minister and the top bureaucrats of his ministry. They waited till the teachers’ anger spilt over on to the streets, without addressing the issues that made them see red. The irate teachers were left with no alternative but to launch a protest to have their voice heard. the Ministry had, in reply  informed the Teacher Unions that it could not resolve the Teachers’ and Principals’ demands, and the matter would have to be resolved by the Treasury. ( continued)

අසත්‍ය ‌චෝදනා කරපු අය ‌මෙරට අධීකරණයෙන් කරන්න බැරි වුනු නිසා විදේශීය අධිකරණයකින් හරි දඩුවමක් ‌දෙන්න රාජ්‍ය ‌නොවන සංවිධාන හරහා ‌ගෝඨාභය රාජපක්ෂ මහතාට ඒරෙහිව නඩු පවරනවා

April 18th, 2019

අද (18) පොදුජන ‌පෙරමුනේ මාධ්‍ය හමුව

අද (18) දින පැවැති මාධ්‍ය හමුවට සහභාගි වූ නියෝජිතයින් 

  • පාර්ලිමේන්තු මන්ත්‍රී කාංචන විජේසේකර මහතා 
  • පාර්ලිමේන්තු මන්ත්‍රී ඩී. වී. චානක මහතා 

පාර්ලිමේන්තු මන්ත්‍රී කාංචන විජේසේකර මහතා 

සුබ අලුත් අවුරුද්දක් ‌වේවා කියලා පළමුවෙන්ම සුබ පතනවා. ‌‌‌මෛත්‍රී රනිල් ආන්ඩුවේ අවසාන සිංහල අවුරුද්ද කරන්න ජනතාව සූදානම්. ජනතාව මත විශාල බදුබර පිඩනයක්ව ‌යොදවපු ‌මේ ආණ්ඩුව  ජාතික මැතිවරණයේදී ‌පොදු ජන ‌පෙරමුණ මුලික කරගනිමින් ජයගන්න අපි සූදානම්. මැයි 01 වැනිදා කම්කරු දිනය සැමරීමේදී ‌පොදුජන ‌පෙරමුනේ මූලිකත්වයෙන් අප්‍රියෙලි මස 26 වැනිදා ත්‍රිකුණාමලයේ ඉදන් රථ ‌පෙලපාලියකින් ‌කොළඹට එන්න ‌පොදුජන තරුණ ‌පෙරමුණ සූදානම්. ආණ්ඩුවට විරෝධතාවය දක්වන ජනතාව ‌පෙරටු කරගෙන 26 වැනිදා ත්‍රිකුණාමලයේ ඉදන් අනුරාධපුරයටත්, 27 වැනිදා අනුරාධපුරයේ ඉදන් දඹුල්ල නගරයටත්, 27 වැනිදා දඹුල්ල නගරයේ ඉදන් කුරුණෑගල නගරයටත්, 28 වැනිදා කුරුණැගල සිට දිවුලපිටියටත් , 29 වැනිදා දිවුලපිටියේ සිට ඔරුගොඩවත්ත දක්වාත්, අවසාන දවසේ , ඒ් කියන්නේ මැයි පළවෙනිදා ‌රටපුරා සිට ඒකරාශි ‌වෙන ජනතාව සමග කැම්බල් පිටියට පැමිණ ආන්ඩුවට දැවැන්ත විරෝධතාවයක් දක්වන්න අපි සුදානම්.

ආන්ඩුව ආරම්භ ‌වෙන්නේ විපක්ෂයේ ‌දේශපාලන කණ්ඩායම්ක හා නායකයින් දඩයම් කරමින්. ඒ්ධී සදහා පාර්ලිමේන්තුව භාවිතා කරමින් ‌කොමිෂන් සභා පිහිටුවීමේ අරමුණ මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මහතා ඇතුළු නායකයින් නැවත ‌තරග කිරීම වළක්වන්න නීති සම්පාදනය කළා. පළාත් පාලන ආයතන මැතිවරණය වසර ‌දෙකහමාරක් කල් දැම්මා. ස්වාදීනයි කියන ‌මැතිවරණ කොමිෂමට ‌හෝ ජනාධිපතිට අගමැතිට ‌පාර්ලිමේන්තුවට ‌හෝ කිසිවෙක්ට පළාත් පාලන මැතිවරණය පවත්වන දිනය කියන්න බැරි තරමට රට අර්බුදයට පත්වෙලා. මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මහතාට ඒල්ල වුනු ‌චෝදනා ‌මේ ‌වෙද්දි ඉතා ‌වේගයෙන් ‌ගෝඨාභය රාපක්ෂ මහතාගේ දිසාවට හැරෙමින් තිබෙනවා. ‌මේ කාරණාව ආරම්භ ‌වෙන්නේ 2015 ජනවාරි මාසයේ 15 වැනිදා.ආණ්ඩුව පත්වුනු හැටියේම ජනමාධ්‍ය විෂය භාර ඇමැති විදියට මංගල රාජපක්ෂ මහතා රාජ්‍ය මාධය භාවිතා කරලා පළමුවෙන්ම ‌චෝදනා කලේ ‌ගෝඨාභය රාජපක්ෂ මහතාට. රාජ්‍ය මාධ්‍ය ප්‍රවෘත්තියක්දා වුනේ හමුදා කුමන්ත්‍රණයකින් රට අල්ලන්න ‌ගෝඨාභය රාජපක්ෂ මහතා සුදානම්න ‌වෙනවා කියන ඒකයි. ‌මෙහිදි හිටපු හමුදාපතිවරයාටත්, හිටපු අගවිනිසුරුවරයාට හා හිටපු ආරක්ෂක ‌ලේකම්වරයාටයි ‌මේ ‌චෝදනාව ඒල්ල වුනේ. ඒ් විතරක් ‌නෙවෙයි. යුද හමුදා මුලස්ථානය ඉදිකරන්න ලැබුණු මුදල් පුද්ගලික ගිණුමක බැරකරගෙන  මුදල් වංචාවක් කරන්න සුදානම් ‌වෙනවා කියලත් ‌‌චෝදනා ඒල්ල වුනා.  මහා පරිමාණ වංචා පිළීබද ‌චෝදනා කරලා මුල්‍ය වංචා විමර්ශන ආයතනය නිර්මාණය කරලා ඒහි පළවෙනි නඩුව විදියට ඇවන්ගාඩ් සිද්ධිය විභාග කරනවා. ඒ් විතරක් ‌නෙවෙයි පහුගිය වසරේ එය වි‌‌ශේෂ මහාධිකරණය පිහිටුවලා ඩී. ඒ්. රාජපක්ෂ ‌කවුතුකාගාරය ‌වෙනුවෙන් කරපු කටයුතුවලදි මුදල් පිළීබද අකටයුතුකම් වුනා කියලා නඩු පවරනවා. ඒක්නැලිගොඩ, තාජුඩින් ගාතන සම්බන්ධයෙන් ‌ගෝඨාභය රාජපක්ෂ මහතා වගකිව යුතු බව කියමින් අනුර ‌සේනානයක හිටපු නියෝජ්‍ය ‌පොලිස්පතිවරයා ,හමුදා බුදධි අංශ නිලධාරින් අත්අඩංගුවට අරන් වසර ‌දෙකක් විතර රදවා ‌ගෙන හිටියා.  ඒ් නිලධාරීන්ගේ ඥාතීන් ඒළියට ඇවිත් කිව්වා හිටපු ආරක්ෂක ‌ලේකම්තුමාගේ නම කිව්වොත් නිදහස් කරනවා කියලත් ‌මේ බුද්ධි අංශ නිලධාරීන්ට බලපැම් කරන බව.‌මෙවැනි අසත්‍ය ‌චෝදනා කරපු අය ‌මෙරට අධීකරණයෙන් කරන්න බැරි වුනු නිසා විදේශීය අධිකරණයකින් හරි දඩුවමක් ‌දෙන්න රාජ්‍ය ‌නොවන සංවිධාන හරහා ‌ගෝඨාභය රාජපක්ෂ මහතාට ඒරෙහිව නඩු පවරනවා. ‌මේ පිටුපස ඉන්නේ මංගල සමරවිර ඇමැතිවරයා කියලා අපි විශ්වාස කරනවා.

ඒතුමා ඇතුළු කණෟඩායමක් අද ජාත්‍යන්තර අධීකරණවල ‌ගෝඨාභය රාජපක්ෂ මහතාට ඒරෙහිව නඩු පවරමින් සිටිනවා. 2007 ත්‍රස්ත විමර්ශන ඒ්කකයෙන් අත් අඩංගුවට ගත්ත, වර්තමානයේ කැනේඩියානු පුරවැසිභාවය හිමි, ‌රෝයි මනෝජ් කුමාර් කියන පුද්ගලයෙක් තමයි ඒක සිවිල් නඩුවක් ‌ගොනු කරලා තියෙන්නේ. ‌මොහු ‌මේ නඩුව ‌ගොනු කරන්න ‌පෙර රජයේ ඉහළ ‌පෙලේ නායකයින් කිහිප ‌දෙනෙක් සමග සම්බන්ධකම් පවත්වා තිබෙන බවට අපිට ‌මේ ‌වෙද්දි ‌තොරතුරු ලැබිලා තියෙනවා. සම්බන්ධකම් පැවැත්වුවා පමණක් ‌නොවේ. 2007 දි ‌ලෝකයේ තහනම් සංවිධානයක් වුනු ඒල්. ටි. ටී. ඊයට  අනුබල ‌දෙමින් ඔවුන්ගේ රූපවාහිනි ‌සේවයට අවශ්‍ය ‌රේඩාර් දුරකතන ජංගම දුරකනන, සැටලයිට් ආදිය සැපයූ බව කියමින්, ඒ් උපකරණත් සමගයි අත් අඩංගුවට ගන්නේ. ඔහු ඒ් සියලු ‌ෙචෝදනාවලට වැරදිකරු බව පිළීගැනීමෙන් පසුව දඩයක්ද නියම කිරීමෙන් පසුවයි ‌2010 දී මොහුව පිටුවහල් කරන්නේ. පහුගිය කාලයේ දිගින් දිගටම හිටපු ආරක්ෂක ‌ලේකම්වරයාට එරෙහිව විරුද්ධව ‌‌චෝදනා ඒල්ල කරපු ප්‍රබලයෙක් වුනු සරත් ‌පොන්සේකා සමග ‌මේ ‌රෝයි කියන පුද්ගලයා සිටින ඡායාරූප අපිට ලැබිලා තියෙනවා.  රජයේ ඉහළ නායකයින් සමග කටයුතු කරමින් ‌මේ විදියට නඩු පවරද්දි ‌මේ පිටුපස රජය සිටින බව පැහැදිලියි.  වගේම ‌අපේ රටේ යුද අපරාධ වුනා කියමින් ‌වෙනම රාජ්‍යයක් ‌වෙනුවෙන් ‌පෙනි සිටින හිටපු උතුරේ හිටපු මහ ඇමැතිවරයා ඒක්ක ඉන්න ජායාරූපත් තියෙනවා. ‌මේ රටේ අධිකරණයෙන් දඩුවම් වින්ද,‌ මේ  රටේ පුරවැසිභාවය නැති පුද්ගලයෙක් තමයි ‌මේ විදියට නඩු පවරන්නේ. 2007 වසරේ අත් අඩංගුවට අරගෙන වද හිංසා පැමිනුවා කියලයි ‌මොහු නඩු පවරන්නේ. නමුති ‌මෝහු සියලු වැරදිවලට වැරදිකරු බව පිළිගෙන තිබෙනවා.

නඩු අංක ඒච්. සී. 5017 අංකයෙන් ‌ෙකොළඹ මහා අධීකරණයේ නඩු පවරලා, සියලු වැරදි පිළිගැනිම නිසා ‌මෙරටින් පිටුවහල් කලේ. වසර වයකට පස්සේ ජනාධිපතිවරණයට මාස කිහිපයක් තියෙන අවස්ථාවක, මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මහතාගේ හා ජනතාවගේ සහාය ඇත්නම් ජනාධිපතිවරණයට ඉදිරිපත් ‌වෙනවා කියමින් තමන්ගේ ද්විත්ව පුරවැසිභාවය අහෝසි කර ගැනීමට ඉදිරිපත් වී සිටින අවස්ථාවක ‌මෙි විදියට නඩු පවරන ඒකෙන් පැහැදිලි වන්නේ ආන්ඩුවේ හස්තයක් ක්‍රියාත්මක ‌වෙනවා කියන ඒකයි.

ආගමන විගමන කටයුතු අමාත්‍යංශය ඉදිරියේදි සරත් ‌පොන්සේකාට ලබාදෙන බවත් මාධ්‍ය වාර්තා කරලා තියෙනවා. ‌මේ ‌පෙල ගැසුමේන් ‌පේන්නේ  2015 ජනවාරි 8 වැනිදා සිටම ඔවුන්ගේ අභියෝග හදුනා ‌ගෙන තිබිමයි. ඔවුන් පළමුව මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මහතාට නැවත තරග කරන්න බැරි ‌වෙන්න නිති පැනෙව්වා. ඉන් පස්සේ ‌ගෝඨාභය රාජපක්ෂ, බැසිල් රාජපක්ෂ කියන පුද්ගලයින් ඉලක්ක කරගෙන 19 වැනි සං‌‌ශෝධනය යටතේ නීති හැදුවා. නාමල් රාජපක්ෂ ඉලක්ක කරගෙන ජනාධිපතිවරණයට තරග කිරීමේ වයස්සීමාව ‌වෙනස් කළා. අපි අපේ අපෙක්ෂකයා නම් කර නැති තත්ත්වයකත් ආණ්ඩුව ඔවුන්ට ප්‍රබලම අභීයෝගයක් ‌දෙන පුද්ගලයා විදියට ‌ගෝඨාභය රාජපක්ෂ මහතා හදුනා ‌ගෙන ඔහුට ඒරෙහිව ක්‍රියාත්මක ‌වෙමින් තිබෙනව. ආන්ඩුව යටතෙයි දැන් හැම ‌දෙයක්ම ක්‍රියාත්මක ‌වෙන්නේ. නිතිය ක්‍රියාත්මක කරමින් අනිසි විදියට රටේ අනාගතය භාරගන්න ඉන්න පුද්ගලයින්ට මඩ ගහන්න එපා කියලා අපි ඉල්ලා සිටිනවා.

දුමින්ද දිසානායක මහතා අලුතෙන් හැදෙමින් තිබෙන සංධානය ගැන අදහස් දක්වලා තිබුණා. ආන්ඩුවට ඒරෙහිව නැගී සිටින බලවේගයක් විදියට ආන්ඩුව ‌පෙරලන්න සූදානම් අයත් ඒක්ක සාකච්ඡා කරන්න සූදානම් බව මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මහතා වගේම බැසිල් රාජපක්ෂ මහතාත් ප්‍රකාශ කරලා තිබුණා. දුමින්ද දිසානයක මහතා කියලා තිබුණා ශ්‍රී ලංකා නිදහස් පක්ෂය ‌පොහොට්ටුවේ වලිගයක් කරන්න සූදානම් නැහැ කියලා. ඒහෙිම කිව්වට වසර 4ක් තිස්සේ ශ්‍රීලනීපය එජාපයේ අතකොලුවක් කරලා තියෙන්නේ. ශ්‍රීලනිප ප්‍රතිපත්ති යට කරලා එජාපයේ අතකොලුුුුවක් කලේ ඒවකට ජාතික ආන්ඩුව ‌වෙනුවෙන් ගිවිසුම් අත්සන් කරලා ශ්‍රීලනීප අපේක්ෂකයා පරාජය කරන්න ඒළියට බැහැපු දුමින්ද දිසානයකලායි. පිරිසක්ත මැවරණයක් ප්‍රකාශ කළ හැටියේම ශ්‍රීලනිපය අත්හැරලා රනිල් වික්‍රමසිංහ නායකත්වයට එකතු ‌වෙන්න සූදානම් ‌වෙනවා. ඒජාපයේ අතකොලුවක් බවට ශ්‍රීලංනා නිදහස් පක්ෂ්යය පත්කරපු අයගෙන් මිදිලා ආණුඩුව පලවා හරින්න ඒකතු ‌වෙන්න කියලා අපි අනෙක් ශ්‍රීලනිප මන්ත්‍රීවරුන්ගෙන් ඉල්ලා සිටිනවා.

පාර්ලිමේන්තු මන්ත්‍රී ඩී. වී. චානක මහතා 

නව වසර ජනතාවට සුබ ‌වෙන්නේ ‌කොහොමද කියලා ගැටලුවක් තියෙනවා. රටේ ආර්ථික සංවර්ධන ‌වේගය වැඩි ‌වෙමින් දකුණූ ආසියාවේ ‌වේගයෙන්ම සංවර්ධනය ‌වෙන රට බවට පත්වෙමින් රැකියා ප්‍රශ්නය විසදමින් තියෙද්දි ජනතාවට බිල්ලෝ මවලා ජනතාවට යහපාලනය ලබා ‌දෙනවා කියලා ‌මේ ආන්ඩුව පත්වුනත් ඒදා ඉදලා බඩු මිල වැඩි වුනා. රැකියා ප්‍රශ්නය ආවා. අද ජනතාවට ‌තියෙන ප්‍රශ්න ‌වෙලා තියෙන්නේ විදුලිය යන්න කලින් ඇදුම මැද ගැනිම, වතුර කපන්න කලින් වතුර පුරවා ගැනීම වගේ ‌දේවලුයි. විදුලි අර්බුදය සංවිධානාත්මකව ආන්ඩුව හදපු ඒකක්. රුපියල් 10.50ට විදුලි ඒ්කකයක් ‌දෙන්න සමාගමක් සුදානම් වුනත් ‌කොමිස් නැති නිසා හරවලා යැව්වා. ලංකාවේ ලංකා ට්‍රාන්ස් ‌‌පෝමස්ස් සමාගම රුපියල් 14 ට විදුලි ඒ්කකයක් ‌දෙන්න සූදානම් වුනත් ‌කොමිස් නැති නිසා ඒ්වා හරවලා යැව්වා.

ඒදා කැඩිලා තිබුණ වරායේ තියෙන විදුලිබලාගාරය හදලා දැන් ඒ්කෙන් ‌මෙගා ‌වොට් 60ක් විදුලිය ලැබෙනවා. ඒ්ෂීයන් පවර් ඒකෙන් ‌මෙගා ‌වොට් 60ක් ලැබෙනවා. මාතර මාදුගලින් ‌මෙගාවොට් 20ක් එකතු ‌වෙනවා. ඒ් වගේම හදිසි විදුලිය මෙගා වොට් 100ක් මිලදි ගත්තා. ‌දැන් විදුලි අර්බුදය අවසන් ‌වෙලා තියෙන්නේ.

විදුලි අර්බුදය විසදිලා තියෙද්දිත් ‌මේ  අය සංවිධානාත්මකව විදුලි අර්බුදයක්  ‌පෙන්වලා රුපියල් 34ට විදුලි ඒ්කකයක් මිලදි ගන්න සුදනාම් ‌. ‌මේ ‌වෙද්දිත් කල්ලතෝනි විදුලිය ලබා ගැනීමේ කුමන්ත්‍රණයක් සිද්ධ ‌වෙනවා. තුර්කි සමාගමකින් ‌මෙගාවොට් 400ක් ගන්න සූදානම් වුනත් ‌මේ ගිවිසුම ජනතාවට ‌හෝ පාර්ලිමේන්තුවට ඉදිරිපත් කරන්නේ නැහැ. ‌මේ සම්බන්ධ සාකච්ඡා වලට විදුලි බල මණ්ඩලයේ කිසිවෙක් සම්බන්ධ කරගෙන නැහැ. ‌මේ විදුලිය සදහා ‌ගෙවන්න ‌වෙන්නේ ‌ඩොලර්වලින්. රැපියල් ‌කෝටි 17500ක් ‌ඩොලර්වලින් ‌ගෙවන්න ‌වෙනවා. ඒදා තිබුනු ඩිසල් මාපියාව නතර කලේ අපේ රජයයි. දැන් නැවතත් ඩිසල් මාපියාවක් හදලා ලංකාවේ ‌ඩොලර්ස් ටික පිටරට යවන කුමන්ත්‍රණයක් සිද්ධ ‌වෙනවා. තව ටික දිනකින් විදුලි බිල වැඩි ‌වෙනවා. ‌කොමිස් මුදල්වලට යටවෙලයි ‌මේ විදියට විදුලිය ගන්න සුදානම් ‌වෙන්නේ.

හම්බන්තොට වරයා, මත්තල ගුවන්තොටුපල සුදු අලියෙක් කියවලා ‌පෙන්වන්න හැදුවා. රටක් සංවර්ධනය ‌වෙන ‌කොට අලුතෙන් මාර්ග ගුවන්තොටුපලවල් වරායන් හැදෙනවා. ගිය වසරේ කටුනායක ගුවන්තොටුපල වහපුවාම ගුවන් ‌යානා යැව්වේ මත්තලට. මත්තල ‌නොතිබුනා නම් විශාල මුදලක් අහිමි ‌වෙන්න තිබුනා. ඒ් යානා ඉන්දියාවට ගිහින් නැවත එන්නේ.  හදිසි අවස්ථාවල ‌වෙනදා ගුවන් යානා ගියේ ඉන්දියාවට. දැන් අයහපත් කාලගුණ තත්ත්වයන්වලදි යන්නේ මත්තලට. ‌මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මහතාගේ ව්‍යාපෘතිවල ප්‍රතිඵල අද අපිට දකින්න ලැබෙනවා. ආන්ඩුවේ කැබිනට් ඇමැතිවරු ‌වෙලාවකට කියනවා කැබිනට් ඒකේ ඉන්නේ කුඩු කාරයෝ පෝරිසාදයෝ වසලයෝ, පගා කාරයෝ ,කොමිස් කාරයෛා, මන්දබුද්ධිකයෝ කියලා.ඒජාපයේ අයමයි කියන්නේ. ඒ් වගේ අය කැබිනෙට්ටුවේ හිදීමේ ප්‍රතිඵල තමයි අද අපි දකින්නේ. එදා මහ බැංකුව කැඩුවා කියලා අපි කියද්දි ‌මේ අය කිව්වේ ඒහෙම දෙයක් වුනේ නැහැ කියලා. අද ඒ් අයම කියනවා මහ බැංකුව කැඩුවා කියලා. ‌මේ ආන්ඩුව බලයට ඇවිත් ‌දෙයක් කලා නම් ‌හොරකම වංචාව දූෂණය විතරයි.

HEALTH, EDUCATION AND YAHAPALANA Part 3

April 18th, 2019

KAMALIKA  PIERIS

The Ministry of education, under Yahapalana has come in for much criticism. Much time is spent on issues concerning school admissions and administration of national schools, with very little time being available for issues of policy and monitoring of delivery mechanisms and innovations in education and teaching, improving curriculum and examinations, research and development, said critics in 2017.

The  Ministry  of Education is in a state of chaos, said the media in 2017. Important decisions and signing off on urgent programmes and activities are   left dangling  and delayed. There is no delegation of authority.Nominations and approvals for Tender Evaluation Committees are  not done in a time.  Letters and responses to urgent needs take weeks to get signatures and approval. There have been instances where the letters put up for signatures have been lost or misplaced. Sometimes, files get returned without even a comment or signature. Nominations to attend training programmes, workshops and meetings, get approval only at the very last moment. The Ministry of Education   has one of the lowest rates of utilization of funds.  

Athletes of Ratnayake Central College, Walala made a clean sweep when they won the first, second, third and fourth places at the Asian Schools Cross Country Championships in Hong Kong in 2017. This team was refused funds by the Ministry of Education for their trip to Hong Kong. The Sports Ministry provided tickets, but they had to bear other costs.

 The Minister of Education has  insisted on his face appearing on the vouchers given to students to obtain material for school uniforms. And he delayed the printing of textbooks for next year because he wanted a different photograph of himself in the books   said  Rajiva Wijesinha.

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Teachers’ unions took exception to a letter, issued by the Colombo Zonal Education office, in March 2018 instructing Principals of Colombo schools, under the Western Provincial Council, to invite MPs and Provincial Councilors to important school functions and to treat them with ‘due respect.’ Zonal Education Director has sent a letter telling principals that it is the duty of a government official to respect politicians. He has also attached a list of Provincial Councilors who represented Colombo Zonal Education Development Structural Committee.

The Structural Committees, consisting of provincial councillors, had been established in the Western Province, during the tenure of Prasanna Ranatunga as the Chief Minister of the Western Province, 2009-2015.  The Structural Committees that existed in the 11 educational zones in Colombo had significant powers. “They can also influence the appointment of a Principal. We have continuously asked the current administration to disband the Structural Committees. This government came into power, promising to depoliticize the system. But now they are instructing principals to invite politicians to attend school functions and treat them respectfully said the teachers.

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Yahapalana was planning in 2018, to do away with 315 Divisional Educational offices countrywide, replacing them with 200 Zonal Education (ZE) offices. This  came under heavy criticism from the Ceylon Teachers Union  which maintained that, adding more ZE offices to the Education system will not improve it. The 97 ZE offices in service at present, are under performing. Increasing their numbers is not going to improve  efficiency.

 ZE offices are responsible for Principals’ and Teachers’ appointments, transfers, pensions and maintenance of their personal files, but they have not being doing their job efficiently, Teachers and Principals who sought official assistance from the ZE offices, have made several complaints against the service provided. ZE offices need to be streamlined and made efficient, before more ZE offices are added.

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. The Ceylon Teachers Service Union  is opposing a move by the Ministry of Education to have retired officers serve in a committee to look into malpractices of procurements, during the tenure of the Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam. CTSU said the function belonged to the Auditors. It is not a function for former officers.  It was also questionable to call in former retired officers including retired audit officers to conduct investigations, and give them allowances and other payments. We believe it may be a move to cover up malpractices or to manipulate the system,” the Union said.

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The government had in December 2017, summoned around 2,000 school principals to Temple Trees to  give money to school libraries.  The government has promised to give a sum of Rs.100,000 to Rs.600,000 to selected schools to replenish their libraries. But they  had failed to hand over the funds. The principals who gathered from across the country went back empty handed and were told that the money would be credited to the School Development Society (SDS) account. Around 25 principals were selected and given token cheques.

The Ceylon Teachers Union  said the principals had travelled long distances to attend the function despite their busy year end schedule but were made to stand out without food or drinks for hours. They assembled early in the morning and were made to stand out for hours before they were taken in. They were also not given a monetary allowance for travelling long distances to attend the event. Eventually  they were handed some guidelines and told that that the money would be credited to the SDS account.This was highly unnecessary they could have done this by sending letters to the principals,”

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The Ministry of Education is responsible for the death of Ambalantota  National School Principal Rohini Kumari Atapattu, during a training programme  organized by the Education Ministry  for Principals,  at the Wayamba Teacher Training Centre, in Wariyapola, Kurunegala  said Ceylon Teachers Union .Rohini( 52), fell from a 40-foot rope ladder she was trying to climb down during the programme.

CTU has demanded to know why such a combat training should be given to school principals.  Also the Ministry has chosen a private company to conduct the training programme.  Who selected this company. Were tenders called and how much has been spent on the programme. The Ministry is trying to make private companies wealthy by putting the lives of principals at risk, The Ministry must immediately conduct an investigation into this death, said CTU. The government officials held responsible for the death had not been made to face any disciplinary inquiries by the Education Ministry the CTU) complained.

 CTU said that this was not an isolated incident; in 2013 Raddolugama Pagnananda Madya Maha Vidyalaya Principal W. A. S. Wickramasinghe died following a stroke while exercising in the morning at the Rantambe Cadet Camp. The Ministry of Education has halted the leadership training programme after the tragic incident.

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The Ceylon Teachers Service Union (CTSU) expressed concern over a Government  proposal to offer loans to A/L candidates to follow Degree courses and join as teachers, on completion of their Degrees. This seems a good proposal to me, but not, it appears, to the teaching profession. This move will lead to teachers with ‘substandard’ Degrees joining the teaching service. There is no guarantee the teacher has a recognized Degree, as Degrees from private institutions too, would be accepted under this scheme,” the union said.   This will also lead to a situation where the 19 National Colleges of Education (NCE) will face the threat of closure, as prospective teachers will look to complete their Degrees from private institutions. The NCEs need to be upgraded and offer Degrees instead of Diplomas.

***&
There are 10,162 schools in the country but there are not enough security officers. Thus most of them can’t obtain leave for months, said  the Educational Non-Academic Employees Union in 2018. Although there should be at least three security officers at 9809 schools, considering the size, most of these schools have one guard. National schools at least need four guards.

The government decided to reduce the service hours of security guards from 12 hours to nine hours in November 2017. This was a step taken to incentivize the guards by giving them access to overtime payments because most of them work 12 hour shifts. However around 10,000 school guards have not been paid their overtime payments.”They can’t even get overtime payments for working on government holidays.

The Union had sent a letter to the Minister of Education explaining the difficulties faced by security officers attached to schools and problems that had arisen after zonal education offices refused to pay overtime payments to them prescribed by the government. There were no security officers for 2000 schools that provincial councils ran. And after dark outsiders use the facilities in these schools for nefarious activities. This is a scary situation but the government doesn’t seem to care.”   ( continued)

Govt. behind US lawsuit against Gota: SLPP

April 18th, 2019

Lahiru Pothmulla Courtesy The Daily Mirror

The government was behind the lawsuit filed in a US Court against former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, as the plaintiff Roy Manojkumar Samathanam had interacted with higher-ups of the government beforehand, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) alleged today.

Addressing a news briefing, MP Kanchana Wijesekara said that they were in the possession of some photographs in which Mr. Samathanam was seen together with Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka and former Northern Province chief minister C.V. Vigneswaran.

“Field Marshal Fonseka was in the forefront of making allegations against Mr. Rajapaksa. It seems that the government is behind the lawsuit as Mr.Samathanam is mingling with government’s stalwarts. Also, he has been spotted together with former chief minister Vigneswaran who lobbied for a separate state by levelling war crime charges against military forces of Sri Lanka,” he said.

The MP said Mr.Samathanam has filed the lawsuit as someone who was found guilty by a Sri Lankan court and has no citizenship in Sri Lanka.

He said they believe that Minister Mangala Samaraweera was also behind the lawsuits filed against Mr. Rajapaksa.

Minister Samaraweera continued to level charges against Mr. Rajapaksa. When the government failed to get false charges proved in local courts, they have decided to use international NGOs to file cases in foreign courts. We believe Minister Samaraweera is behind this,” he said.

At a time when the SLPP has not yet named a presidential candidate, he said the government has identified Mr. Rajapaksa as the one who can pose the biggest challenge to them. “That’s why all these moves against him,” he said. (

Notes to the people Arrest of Julian Assange Revealing true nature of democracy in USA and UK

April 18th, 2019

By Sumanasiri Liyanage Courtesy Ceylon Today

Edward Snowden once advised us to shed critical light on a once secret history.” Nonetheless, as he himself experiences, it is a dangerous business. Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, was last week expelled from the Ecuadorian Embassy and abducted by London Metropolitan police at the gate of the embassy and is now in danger of extradition to the USA.

The first question that is to be asked is who is Julian Assange (JA) why he was forced to ask for refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy where he was hiding for almost seven years. JA, the founder of WikiLeaks, exposed Western war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, and revealed some of the lies that George Bush and Tony Blair used to justify mass murder in the two countries. 

In 2010 WikiLeaks released about 470,000 classified military documents concerning the American and British invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. It later released a further tranche of more than 250,000 classified USA diplomatic cables that included inter alia the USA intervention in Sri Lanka.


Question No. 2


Why did the Ecuadorian Embassy that gave refuge to JA for almost seven years decide to expel JA at this juncture from the embassy premises? When Rafael Correa was the President of Ecuador, he adopted an anti-imperialist policy in association with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

 He did not accede to the pressure of the powerful imperialist regime. Correa’s successor, Lenin Moreno was different as he capitulated on every issue to US imperialism. 

Thus, Moreno decided to hand over JA to British authority. Moreover, there is an interesting coincidence. The International Monetary Fund has agreed to grant an Extended Fund Facility worth of 4.2 billion dollars to Moreno’s Government. This happened in March 2019. The sell sellout has happened on 11 April 2019. 

If this apparent coincidence demonstrates real global manipulation then we have to conclude that there was a global conspiracy against JA and his work to which I will turn shortly. In this game, IMF is not an innocent partner that is only interested in helping poor countries to overcome their short-term financial issues. 

So one can easily understand as I argued in my last week column why Bolivia had decided to disengage with the IMF.


JA’s wrongdoing


What are the charges against JA? As Diane Abbot a leading personnel of Jeramy Corbyn’s shadow Cabinet put it nicely in her statement at the British Parliament in following words:


On this side of the house, we want to make the point that the reason we are debating Julian Assange this afternoon even though the only charge he may face in this country is in relation to his bail hearings – is entirely to do with the whistleblowing activities of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

 It is this whistleblowing activity into illegal wars, mass murder, murder of civilians and corruption on a grand scale that has put Julian Assange in the crosshairs of the US administration. 

It is for this reason that they have once more issued an extradition warrant against Julian Assange. Julian Assange is not being pursued to protect USA national security, he is being pursued because he has exposed wrongdoing by the USA administrations and their military forces.”


The wrongdoing of JA is not just revealing wrongdoing of the USA and Western powers; it is exposing them and making them available to any interested citizen of the world. 

The States do not wish citizen’s to know what the States are doing behind the back of their citizens and in the name of democracy. What WikiLeaks and JA did is shedding critical lights” on secret engagements of the State and military bureaucracy of the powerful nations. WikiLeaks have made so-called secret knowledge available to anyone with a computer and internet connection. 

How did the US and powerful authorities respond? Tariq Ali has answered this question in the following words: The response of USA institutions has been hysterical and comical. The Library of Congress, blocked Internet access to WikiLeaks. 

The USA National Archives even blocked searches of its own database for the phrase WikiLeaks.” So absurd did the taboo become that, like a dog snapping mindlessly at everything, eventually it found its mark — its own tail”.


What will happen to JA?


The USA has issued once again an extradition warrant against JA. The only punishable act he had done inside the UK was the minor offence of avoidance of being arrested when Swedish Government ordered extradition charge against him. 

However, if in the case of sending him to the US, the US may expand the charge sheet even including treason that carries death penalty or indefinite detention as an enemy combatant” in the US. What does it really mean? The leading first amendment scholars and advocacy groups have warnedthat the charge sheet accusing JA of engaging in criminal theft of so-called USA State secrets implies a direct assault on fundamental press freedoms.

 Although it could have a devastating effect on the basic acts of journalism, it appeared that some yellow journalists believe JA had gone beyond objective journalism in which the journalist should be trained.


It is clear that all these charges signify the power of the state system over an against citizens and their rights. This was succinctly put by Noam Chomsky. He said: The Assange arrest is scandalous in several respects. One of them is just the effort of Governments—and it’s not just the U.S. Government. 

The British are cooperating. Ecuador, of course, is now cooperating. Sweden, before, had cooperated: The efforts to silence a journalist who was producing materials that people in power didn’t want the rascal multitude to know about. 

That’s basically what happened. WikiLeaks was producing things that people ought to know about those in power. People in power don’t like that; therefore we have to silence it. This is the kind of thing, the kind of scandal, that takes place, unfortunately, over and over”.


According to Prof. Chomsky, the JA case reveals a second scandal, namely, the extraterritorial reach of the United States”. The US possesses power and control over other States that have made rights of the people extremely vulnerable.


One thing is clear. The democracy-loving people all over the world should express their solidarity to JA and campaigned against any attempts by the UK Government to extradite him to the US in which he is not a citizen.


The issue of sexual harassment


The JA case has been made complicated by the charges against him over sexual harassment by two Swedish women in 2010. The two cases should be separated in order de-complicate both cases. It does not mean at all to trivialise the sexual harassment charges. An investigation into a rape allegation in Sweden can be brought to Court at any time before the limitation period expires in August 2020. 

Although JA had stated that he was not guilty of these charges, the cases can be investigated if the two women wish to pursue them. However, Sweden should not use these cases against JA’s whistleblowing duty. 

Fortunately, Anna Ardin, one of the women who made allegations against JA was against any effort to link two completely separate cases tweeted on Thursday saying, I would be very surprised and sad if Julian is handed over to the USA”.


Julian Assange deserves our support and solidarity particularly at a time when the US is eyeing on Sri Lanka with the intention of making it a semi-colony of the Western powers. The Julian Assange case is another litmus test to be conducted to diagnose the real nature of USA and UK democracy.


E-mail: [email protected]

Are the World Bank and IMF Failing the World?

April 18th, 2019

By Frank Vogl Courtesy Ceylon Today

Amidst Trump administration flame-throwing, top experts worry about the ability of the main multilateral institutions safeguarding the global economy.

On the 75th anniversary of the Bretton Woods conference that established the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, Finance and Development Ministers and Central Bank Governors from across the world are holding their Spring meetings.


In a departure from the business-as-usual thinking of the past, these leaders are becoming increasingly aware that the two ‘Bretton Woods institutions’ may be outdated and in urgent need of major reforms.


This is all the more evident in view of the brutal, head-on attacks by the Trump administration on globalisation.


For all of the current US administration’s constant bluster and endless stream of provocations, there are some very real problems which the world’s multilateral finance, development and trade organisations should urgently respond to.


According to a wide range of leading experts meeting in Washington now, Donald Trump practises a disturbing head-in-the-sand attitude on three of the four dominating threats to global economic stability. These threats are: Cyber-risks to world finance, climate change and corruption.


On the fourth major threat, disregard for global trading rules, Trump relishes in acting as flame-thrower in chief.


Cyber risks rise


Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, stresses that making the financial sector fully resilient in the face of mounting cyber attacks is a profound worry.


He and other experts state that it is far from evident that we have got the multilateral organisational structures in place to meet the rising cyber-risk challenges.


Climate change neglect


IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde is highlighting her environmental concerns. She invited nature broadcaster Sir David Attenborough to join her in a public debate.


However, the Fund’s governors have yet to develop a major new IMF initiative in this area, while there are worries that the new World Bank President, David Malpass, a Donald Trump partisan, who has just started his new job, will not make environmental protection central to the Bank’s agenda.

 Time is running out and the scale of the climate challenge to the multilateral organisations is not understood,” argues Andrew Sheng, the former Asian central banker.


He emphasises that this needs to be the dominant issue on the agenda of the multilateral institutions.


Trade power


A key topic at the meetings is the ongoing US -China trade negotiations. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the meetings that President Trump wants fair trade.”


Meanwhile, former Bush administration trade chief Carla Hills argues that what we are actually seeing is the White House promoting managed trade.”


Former WTO appellate judge and US Congressman Jim Bacchus notes that the Trump administration is ignoring international trade laws, which are at the core of the WTO system. Trump is just replacing trade law with raw power.


Both Hills and Bacchus are sceptical if the US Congress will approve Trump’s new trade agreements with Mexico and Canada. They are concerned that the US deal with China will disadvantage many other trading nations and thereby violate WTO laws and rules.  They are also worried about the prospects of new trade negotiations to start soon by the United States with both Japan and the EU.


For Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureate former Liberian president (she was the first elected female head of state in Africa), points to another major challenge that has yet to secure a meaningful multilateral response.


Over 60 per cent of the populations of many African countries are under 35 years of age and many of these people do not have good job opportunities. Frustrations may well rise and spill over to challenge governmental systems.


Sirleaf stresses that it is enormously difficult to end decades of corruption, especially in countries emerging from conflict, and create the institutions necessary to stimulate the private sector and job creation. She is one of the few presidents to achieve this.


The World Bank’s answer to bad governance is to strengthen institutional capacities in the governments of developing countries. 

 Nobody disagrees, but the record over the years has not been sufficient to meet the challenges. And, this may be true of many of the current approaches of both the IMF and the World Bank.


It holds true for the private sector as well. On governance, Morgan Stanley’s Clare Woodman notes that banks have to do a lot more to strengthen their conduct and culture. Nobody disagrees.


Chinese challenge


US Treasury Secretary Mnuchen says he welcomes talks now on a new capital increase for the IMF, but points out that the United States will not give up its veto power. 

 The fear expressed by some delegates to these meetings is that this means China will continue to be marginalised in the boards of the IMF/World Bank.  

As a result, China will likely just continue to build its own aid and investment institutions, use them to strengthen its Asian regional and global influence and, in effect, undermine the Bretton Woods sisters in the process.
(The Globalist)

RAAVANA-1, first ever Sri Lankan satellite launched

April 18th, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

The first ever Sri Lankan satellite, RAAVANA-1, was successfully launched into space at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia today (18).

The satellite bordered to the Antares rocket carrying Cygnus cargo spacecraft and it is bound to reach the International Space Station (ISS).

RAAVANA-1 is set to be launched into orbit by the end of May or the outset of June, subsequently, it is expected to orbit the Earth for approximately 15 times per day and its speed is estimated at 7.6 km per second.

RAAVANA-1 is a research satellite built by two Sri Lankan engineers named Tharindu Dayaratne and Dulani Chamika, from the University of Peradeniya and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies.

The satellite was designed and built at the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan and is 1,000 cubic cm in size and weighs 1.1 kg.

RAAVANA-1 was officially handed over to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency on Feb. 18.

The satellite is expected to fulfill five missions including the capturing of pictures of Sri Lanka and its surrounding regions.

The RAAVANA-1 is expected to orbit 400 km away from earth. It will have a minimum lifespan of one and a half years

Several Sri Lankan Airlines flights diverted to Mattala due to bad weather

April 18th, 2019

Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

Colombo, April 17 (newsin.asia) — Several Sri Lankan Airlines flights arriving at Sri Lanka’s Bandaranaike International Airport on Wednesday, were diverted to a southern airport due to adverse weather, local media reports said.Some of the flights included UL 315, which was arriving from Malaysia, UL 365 arriving from Jakarta and UL 303 arriving from Singapore.The flights were diverted to the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport in Hambantota, in the south, airport officials said as the adverse weather had caused a temporary closure of the runway at the Bandaranaike International Airport.

Lessons for ailing Great Britain from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka

April 16th, 2019

by Garvin Karunaratne

Message for Sri Lankan readers

Sri Lanka with other Third World countries has achieved a status of high indebtedness due to following the neoliberal policies embedded in the Structural Adjustment Programme of the IMF. . In that process its assets and riches are being sucked dry by multinationals, International banks  and Developed Countries. Earlier, the countries had established a development infrastructure to bring about production which has been abolished or made defunct by the machinations of the IMF. However details of that development infrastructure can be of use to develop ailing Great Britain. As far as readers in Sri Lanka are concerned this paper discloses the great value of that development infrastructure and the role that it can play again  in rejuvenating the development  of our Motherland, if that were to ever happen.

Lessons for ailing Great Britain from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

by Garvin Karunaratne

Gone are the days when Great Britain ruled the waves. Then it was truly an Empire where the sun never set. Money in gold and pounds sterling flowed from India-  when the East India Company defeated Shiraj Ud Daulah, the ruler of Bengal. the riches that poured to Great Britain were enormous- Pounds 2.7 million to Great Britain and 1.2 million distributed among the officials.. Between 1757 and 1815, 100 million pounds went from India to Great Britain. This was growth for Britain but destitution for India”(From: Karunaratne: How the IMF Sabotaged Third World Development) The colonies were made to grow coffee,  rubber, tea and other products that were required for the industries in Great Britain and the goods so manufactured were sold back to the people in the colonies. Britain gained from the trade of tea and coffee. That was the principle on which the colonies were run- to keep the colonies clamped  in poverty with the riches accumulated in Great Britain. With the capital so created Great Britain  was able to build up a Social Security System and a first class National Health Service for its people.  The skyscrapers in London and cities like Liverpool were all built on the capital received from the colonies.

Then Great Britain had great politicians- that could rule the waves and also great administrators.  When the people in Sri Lanka rebelled in 1818  a scorched earth policy was put in force- destroy everything, cut off every tree in bearing and shoot to kill every man.  In my living memory- my holidays were spent on Estates owned by British imperial planters. My uncle was a Head Conductor- that was the highest rank a local could aspire to and I have seen the Superintendents at work. They worked with an iron fist- their word was law. Back in the UK too there were great rulers. It is on legend how Sir Winston Churchill acted to win the World War II. Once Great Britain did not have iron to make weapons. Out went the order, remove all iron gates, iron fences in London. That was done overnight. By the time the owners got up the iron was in the smelting pot being turned into weapons.

Sad to say, those days of action are gone. I have been a student at universities in Edinburgh and Manchester and have worked in London, in Manchester and Edinburgh . Today Great Britain is today full of professionals who can talk,  argue,  present facts in a most articulate manner but to get down to