Cabinet Reshuffle – Another hoax

May 22nd, 2017

By : A.A.M.NIZAM – MATARA

The guessing game over the cabinet reshuffle which was ongoing since January this year and was re-ignited by Sirisena with promised date shifting without any reason took place at last this morning.  There was no major shift other than change of portfolios between Ravui Karunanaayake and Mangala Samaraaweeraa.

The shameless and spineless Karunanayake was boasting for weeks that he will not accept any other portfolio if he was removed from the Finance portfolio and also stated that in such a situation he would remain as a backbench MP and divulge all secret activities of the government. At the same time the bone chewing lapdogs of the SLFP Sirissena faction in the government openly castigated Karunanayake as a big thief and said he was responsible for all economic ills and unpopularity of the government.  Several UNP Ministers and MPs, probably sponsored by big unscrupulous businessmen and vehicle importers extensively benefited from Karunanayake meanwhile came forward on his behalf and pledged to resign from the government in the event of removing Finance Ministry portfolio from Krunanaayake and said that they would remain as an independent group.  We have to wait and see whether this would happen?

The Finance Ministry portfolio has been entrusted to the most treacherous Tamil diaspora stooge and westernophile individual in the government Mangalaa Samaraweera who betrayed this country endangering the unitary status, sovereignty and territorial integrity by co-sponsoring the horrendous UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka brought forward by the United States which is an unprecedented perfidious act not done by a foreign Minister of any country.  In addition to the Finance Ministry portfolio he has been given the Media Ministry as well which he once abandoned during old hag Chandrika’s time saying he is unable to carry out the duties of that Ministry.  However we can expect a spate of misinformation and malicious character assassinations from the Media Ministry over emphasising Goebles’ theory. It is certain that the Finance Ministry under this treacherous individual Sri Lanka would soon become a hunting field for World Bank and IMF. He may also tie Sri Lanka to other international lending agencies as well since what fiscal management you can expect from a fashion designer?

The reshuffle has made changes to 9 Ministries and it is as follows:

Mr. Mangala Samaraweera – Minister of Finance and Media

Mr. Raavi Karunanayake – Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Arjunaa Ranatungaa – Minister of Petroleum Industry

Mr. Mahinda Samarasinghe – Minister of Ports and Shipping

Mr. Gayantha Karunatilleke – Minister of Lands and Parliamentary Reforms.

Mr. W.D.J.Seneviratne – Minister of Labour, Trade Union Affairs and Sabragaamuwa Development

Mr. S.B.Dissanayake – Minister of Social Empowerment, Welfare and Kandyan Heritage,

Mr. Chandima Weerakkody – Minister of Skills Development and Vocational Training

Mr. Tilak Marapanaa – Minister of Development Assignments

In addition to this the pint size Sirisena’s laundryman Mahinda Amaraweera who claimed that vast changes will be made in the cabinet reshuffle which would surprise everyone has been made the State Minister for Mahaweli Development in addition to his current portfolio of Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development.

The ‘newly shaped’ Cabinet is expected to be briefed by Sirisena when it meets at 9 a.m. on Tuesday for its weekly session.

Commenting on today’s cabinet reshuffle hoax Sirisena has said that the reshuffle will give a new life to development activities.  He has said that the cabinet reshuffle was made to march forward as a new country. (niz)

Sri Lanka president replaces chartered accountant finance ministers with a London qualified clothing designer

May 22nd, 2017

Sri Lanka News

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena switched the foreign and finance ministers in a major cabinet reshuffle on Monday.

Managala Samaraweera, who has been foreign minister since January 2015, was appointed as finance and media minister. He swaps roles with Ravi Karunanayake who is a chartered accountant who will takes over the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

New finance minister in Sri Lanka is a graduate in Clothing Design and Technology at St. Martin’s School of Art in London, he served as a design consultant to the National Design Center of Sri Lanka prior to his political career.

Saint Martin’s School of Art was an art college in London, England. It offered foundation and degree level courses. It was established in 1854, initially under the aegis of the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields. Saint Martin’s became part of the London Institute in 1986,[1] and in 1989 merged with the Central School of Art and Design to form Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design.[2]

Eight more ministerial portfolios of Cabinet Ministers and a State Minister have also been changed today, as the much awaited cabinet reshuffle took place this morning (22) today.

The ministers took oaths in their new portfolios at the Presidential Secretariat before President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

This Cabinet reshuffle will provide a new impetus to Sri Lanka’s development,” the President said in a Twitter post.

Cabinet Ministers:

Mangala Samaraweera – Minister of Finance and Mass Media
Ravi Karunanayake – Minister of Foreign Affairs
Tilak Marapana – Minister of Development Assignments
Gayantha Karunathilaka – Minister of Lands and Parliamentary Reforms
Arjuna Ranatunga – Minister of Petroleum Resources Development
Chandima Weerakkody – Minister of Skills Development and Vocational Training
S.B. Dissanayake – Minister of Social Empowerment, Welfare and Kandyan Heritage
Mahinda Samarasinghe – Minister of Ports and Shipping
W.D.J. Seneviratne – Minister of Labour and Trade Union Relations and Sabaragamuwa Development

State Ministers:

Mahinda Amaraweera – State Minister of Mahaweli Development (in addition to existing portfolio of Fisheries)

‘US, EU meddle in other countries & kill people under guise of human rights concerns’ – Duterte

May 22nd, 2017

Courtesy RT

“There’s not even a whimper” when powerful nations bomb civilians or “invent” WMDs to invade other countries, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte told RT, arguing that the West pretends to care about human rights only when it suits its agenda.

The Philippines leader sat down to speak with RT’s Maria Finoshina ahead of his five-day visit to Moscow that is kicking off on Monday.

Maria Finoshina:Mr. President, it has been almost a year since your inauguration. Have you faced anything that you were not expecting when you took office?

Rodrigo Duterte: I did expect almost everything that came my way. I’ve been a politician for almost 40 years – excluding the term now. So I would say that on the national front I was kept informed all the time by the news and, of course, by sources in government. But I never realized the magnitude of the contamination of the Filipinos in so far as drugs are concerned.

When I became president and everything was available to me for information, I was almost appalled. I didn’t know that we have reached millions of contaminated. So, when I was mayor, I said, do not destroy my city. And do not destroy the young people of Davao City, because they are our assets. We are not rich. Most of us are poor. And we depend on our sons and daughters to feed us when we get old. We do not have any housing here for – few and between. And we need our children to buy the medicines, pay the hospitals, pay for our burial. Do not corrupt them with drugs. Do not destroy their minds.

And I said, “because I will kill you.” I was very clear with that. Do not destroy my country. Do not destroy our young people, because if you do that, I will kill you. And when I became president, I said, “Do not destroy the Filipino youth. I’m the president, I’m supposed to take care of them.” There are so many criminals walking around. They stopped it when I said that. When I was mayor, I told them: “I’m not a policeman but I build the city as mayor.” As president now, I am not a wholesale violator of human rights. I’m not the police – I just give orders. But I build the country.

My orders were very clear: Go out and hunt for them, the drug lords. Arrest them if possible, but if they confront you with violence that placed the lives of policemen or security forces in danger, kill them. Because in the past this was what really prevented policemen and the military from doing it. Why? Because they were so afraid of the human rights thing, which is a new phenomenon. Actually, in the guise of the human rights, countries like EU and America are interfering into the affairs of other nations. In the guise of human rights.

MF:The bitter irony is that, while you are trying to protect civilians, to protect the youth, you sometimes – and you admitted that in one of your interviews – innocent civilians can become victims. Do you think it is a fair price to pay?

RD: Yes. Even in war, even in your own country, if there is fighting between the police and security forces, and civilians are hit, accidentally, and they die. That is not a crime for the police or the security officer. Because they use automatic guns. And when you are confronted with automatic guns, several bullets go out of the barrel, and some of those would penetrate the walls of the houses, and some will go long way and hit another one. But it is really in connection with the fight between law and order and criminals. But you have to pay, the state has to pay. But – sorry. Just like Americans. When they drop the bomb there, it is so powerful that it also kills others there.

But we are talking about human liability. So, it doesn’t say that, because they are Americans, they are exempted. And just because I am a small time government official, I am not exempted. So, where’s the fairness there? No? When they drop bombs, they kill so many villages, and there’s not even a whimper. America invaded Iraq. What was the excuse? That there were weapons of mass destruction. And yet when they invaded Iraq, so many people were killed. So where is justice now?

MF:So you think it’s really hard to avoid civilian casualties?

RD: We need to say, justice has to be equal. It cannot be a justice for one, and another set of standards of justice for another. It has to be equal.

MF:Is that the reason why you’re turning away from America?

RD: Because they refused to understand my predicament when they knew that they were also in the same predicament, only on a larger scale. Remember Panama? Okay, they invaded Panama, a sovereign state in Central America. So what was the purpose there? They went inside, seized the country, arrested the president, brought him outside the country, placed him in a detention cell in New York. He faced a trial in the Federal Court and is convicted. What happened to the invasion? And what was the reason? Drugs.

You invade a country. Me, I’m just fighting the criminals in my country. I never invaded a country. You have to look at it this way: there is so much incongruity in the principles that are being followed by nations. The powerful ones, they can invent the weapons of mass destruction or they can invade your country. Me, I never touch anybody. I do not even go to the United States. And then they criticize me for the criminals that I have killed!

MF: Your relations with the previous US administration were far from perfect. Will you give Trump’s administration a chance?

RD: This is really on record. I said, “Mr. President, I’m President Duterte of the Philippines, I’d like to congratulate you on your election as president, on your victory.” He said, “Oh, I was expecting your call. You’re doing it alright. They are flooding my country with drugs, too.” And you must have heard three nights ago, or four nights ago, when they said he said he’s going to go after drugs harshly. And it was my word when I was campaigning. I used the word “harsh.” You know, I have to protect the innocent so that my country can prosper and live in peace. If I allow these criminals to overwhelm, and there are already 4 million [drug users], where will that put my country ten years from now? Tell me.

MF: Hard to say. And speaking about the US, Donald Trump has invited you to the White House, and you said that you don’t have time.

RD: Yes, I said I’m sorry. I cannot go because I’m busy. That’s actually the truth, as I said before. You might as well have noticed that during the election I was severely criticized by America, and it was during the election time. They ought not to have said words that would either be in favor or against a candidate, or sway the votes. Because it was an election, and you are interfering with the sentiments of the people about who to vote for. Just look what is happening now! They’re insisting that Trump – what’s all that about Trump talking about the ISIS (Islamic State, formerly ISIL)? I can talk to anybody. I can even talk to emir in Jordan and tell him about what’s wrong with the ISIS. So look at this, America.

MF:So how do you feel about that behavior?

RD: You know, they’re talking about a worldwide problem. Why can’t Trump just be open and just tell his counterpart President Putin or maybe [someone else]: “We have the same problem so what’s your strategy there?” How would it affect your national security in a bad way? Tell me. They are discussing a problem which is worldwide, the problem of terrorism, which has happened in his country, and it happened in Chechnya, and even in the theater that was captured, and you had to gas the people, because it was the only way to [do it]. It’s terrorism!

TO BE CONTINUED

Full Video

https://www.rt.com/shows/rt-interview/389163-philippines-duterte-interview/

Nationalizing SAITM would be a mistake

May 22nd, 2017

BY RATHINDRA KURUWITA AND UMESH MORAMUDALI Courtesy Ceylon Today

Former State Minister of Higher Education, Rajiva Wijesinha spoke to Ceylon Today about the current controversy regarding SAITM. During the interview he stressed that SAITM was started in good faith, and the then government was at fault in not smoothing out any contentious issues immediately. But the questions with regard to quality are specious, because similar standards are not applied to government universities.

Following are the excerpts of the interview:

?: Last week the government requested SAITM to refrain from recruiting new students amidst threats of another general strike by the GMOA and other trade unions. Do you think that the government can resolve this issue through a consensus? If so how do you think that the two sides should proceed?

A: I think a consensus is essential, but it should be preceded by setting out principles with regard to education. This should involve establishing the obligations of the State with regard to education, as well as the rights of individuals with regard to obtaining education.

This should be accompanied by revision of the acts governing education in Sri Lanka. I am sorry to say the last government, which began this process, completely abdicated responsibility and failed to fulfil either expectations or obligations. The Education Act was practically finalized, but the minister was just not interested in getting it through. With regard to Higher Education, my predecessor as Minister, S.B. Dissanayaka, had prepared a good draft, but it was killed by the Legal Draughtsman’s Department. As I took office I started work on the Act, using the previous draft as a basis, but taking into account changing social requirements. Helped by an excellent committee of Vice-Chancellors and the Colombo University Professor of Law, we finalized a draft, but none of my successors was interested. I am not even sure that Lakshman Kiriella, who sees rent seeking as an occupation, can even understand the need for a clear vision.

?: What is your opinion of SAITM and the criticism levelled against it by various actors?

A: I think that SAITM was started in good faith, and the then government was at fault in not sorting out any contentious issues immediately. But the questions with regard to quality are specious, because similar standards are not applied to government universities. When I was minister, I had regular discussions with university students, and one of the most interesting was with students of the Rajarata Medical Faculty, which was hopelessly short staffed. But I was deeply impressed by the calibre of the students, and also what they said about the dedication of the few permanent staff members they had.

I was reminded then about the criticisms of all new Medical Faculties when they were started. I returned to working in the State sector at Sri Jayewardenepura, in 1994, when the Medical Faculty was started there, and I recall the snootiness of the established universities. But through dedicated work on the part of the staff there, it soon caught up and its products are now generally admired – not least I should note because of a dynamic English programme run by Oranee Jansz, so that our students were soon on a par with those who saw themselves as an elite.

These issues should not be approached dogmatically, especially since there is a dog in the manger attitude amongst Sri Lankans, and they are resentful of any broadening of opportunities – as I found also, for instance, when I opened English degrees to those who did not have Advanced Level English, and found myself the butt of criticism from both Peradeniya and Colombo.

But certainly with regard to medicine there is need for ensuring professional capacity, and that is why the licensing of doctors should be subject to further testing, after a degree has been awarded. That is what the GMOA should concentrate on, not denying opportunities for degrees to those who cannot qualify academically through the State system.

?: One of the arguments against SAITM is that it is a profit oriented entity, whereas other private universities in developed countries, for example MIT or Harvard, while they make profits, are not mainly oriented towards making money?

A: That is simply not true, in that there are profit oriented universities also in other countries, which provide a quality education – and those which are not mainly oriented towards making money, such as those you cite, have already made enough money to allow for more philanthropy than others. But in any case even SAITM is not mainly oriented towards making money, because it also provides a social service – and certainly the hospital that was associated with it was much more reasonable in its charging than most other private hospitals.

But I would agree that the State should monitor such institutions – including all private universities – not to stop them functioning but to ensure that they also provide a certain number of scholarships. One reason Harvard and so on are so generous with their scholarships is that they know there are very bright youngsters who cannot afford their fees who will contribute immeasurably to the wider learning a university should provide. Universities that do not have a good social mix generally do not provide a rounded education, and for this reason, as private education develops in Sri Lanka, there should be mechanisms to encourage diversity – which will require a proportion of scholarships with preference to educationally deprived districts.

?: Government has decided to take over Neville Fernando Hospital, which once again makes SAITM a Medical University without a teaching hospital. Given that how do you feel about proposals to nationalize SAITM?

A: Nationalizing SAITM would be a mistake because it would tie up more government resources, which should rather be used to provide better English and maths and science in rural schools, to train up more teachers in these subjects and ensure that they are deployed where they are needed. It makes no sense to meddle with something that is working relatively well; all that is needed is to resolve the questions that have arisen with regard to quality, while also introducing a mechanism to make it clear that the country is also benefiting from the institution.

?: What do you think of government maintaining non-profit yet fee levying universities without reducing present university intakes for State universities?

A: That would be a disaster because of the appalling rent seeking that has become endemic in government institutions. You saw how Kiriella thought it his right to put people into academic positions, and he is not the only one. Even in the Vocational Training sector, where the minister is trying to stop fees for regular courses, officials are demanding massive sums for certification.

Recently the Treasury had to step in when the National Apprenticeship and Industrial Training Authority wanted to charge 1 million rupees for this, and brazenly said that the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Director General would be paid Rs 27,500 between them for one day’s supervision.

Government is seen as a bottomless pit into which the hogs dip their snouts and, when State resources run out, potential beneficiaries are charged, ruthlessly. Well, because it is claimed that education is free, they cannot question the plundering that goes on. So who can blame these hogs, when hogs such as Mahendran and his masters go scot free?

?: You were a lecturer as well as a Dean of a Government University. How do you see the approach of students in expressing their concerns over SAITM?

A: Part of our problem is simply a refusal to listen. I must confess given the sheer dishonesty of this government, I am glad that I am not part of it. But I am sorry that the type of work I did as a minister, talking regularly to the students, and trying to solve their problems immediately, had to stop, because I know that I could have led by example – and no one else in the education sector is able or willing to do that.

You know what I achieved in the various government positions I held, introducing English medium in government schools, expanding numbers in English degrees, running a very productive GELT course – I am still greeted all over the country by youngsters whom I met on those courses, since I made it a point to visit all centres – and I know that the sort of change I could accomplish is beyond other politicians. But on our present system, politicians who are qualified and can think and plan have no place – which is why the genuine talent in the UNP is squashed and prominence given to jokers such as Kiriella and Malik and Sagala and Akila Viraj and of course the delightful John Amaratunga.

During my tenure I found that most problems could be resolved very easily, and also that in most cases the students had good reason to complain, but the administration of the various universities simply had no mechanisms to look out for problems and deal with them promptly – squalid toilets in hostels at Ruhuna, long delays in establishing new departments as at Sabaragamuwa, failure to respond promptly to requests for transfers when there are vacancies. I did what I could, and in three months more I would have done much more – as I am now doing at the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission, where we have made English and Soft Skills compulsory, introduced short courses developed by industry, and produced trainer guides and quality manuals – but productivity is not what the Prime Minister and his sidekick Chandrika want.

I should add that, even with regard to SAITM, which came up often in our discussions, I found students willing to listen provided one took their arguments seriously. I still recall talking about the issue with Economics students at Sabaragamuwa – who had an antiquated syllabus, which as one of them ruefully told me was all about Adam Smith and Keynes (Friedman had been dropped after I stopped being Dean, and obviously Stiglitz was beyond the staff there). They appreciated the need for a new approach to State involvement, though obviously one needed to have mechanisms in place to prevent exploitation as well as to reduce shortcomings in the State sector.

I am sorry that now the issue has turned violent, and I am not sure, given the bitterness those who are not profiting feel about this government that it will be easy to resolve the issue amicably. I am reminded of the situation in 1988, which the UNP overcame by getting rid of its leader. I suspect that, until that happens; the problem will not be resolved. I can only hope that Karu Jayasuriya had the courage, as Premadasa did, to make it clear that he was willing to lead – but he is so nervous, that once again the chance of serving the country will pass him by.

KP exposes how MGR and Indira Gandhi supported LTTE

May 22nd, 2017

Former prominent Liberation Tigers of Eelam (LTTE) leader Kumaran Pathmanathan, who was the chief international financier and helped smuggle weapons for the terror outfit, spoke to WION in an exclusive interview. KP, as he was known, took over leadership of the LTTE following the death of Velupillai Prabhakaran and was wanted in India in connection with Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination.

Ironically, as KP revealed, it was Rajiv Gandhi’s mother Indira Gandhi who asked RAW to aid LTTE. In his heydays, KP was a reclusive, overseas financier for the LTTE based in Thailand and avoided capture by constantly changing addresses and aliases. He would later repent and become an orphanage father.

He also revealed that former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Marudur Gopalan Ramachandran, popularly known as MGR, supplied the terror outfit with money.

KP was the subject of a worldwide manhunt, with organisations including the CIA and MI-5 on his tail.

He is believed to possess crucial information about the LTTE’s vast international assets. A former CBI inspector, who took voluntary retirement in 1997, had alleged that the explosives used in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi were sent to Chennai from Singapore by KP.

– See more at: http://www.dailymirror.lk/article/KP-exposes-how-MGR-and-Indira-Gandhi-supported-LTTE-129330.html#sthash.2vsKJKlu.dpuf

ඡන්ද නොතියන කොමිසම කොස් කොටන්නදැයි මාධ්‍ය අසයි.. මැකොට මල පැන අඩි පොලවේ හප්පා යකා නටයි..[Video]

May 22nd, 2017

ලංකා සී නිවුස්

දිගින් දිගටම මැතිවරණ කල් යද්දී ස්වාධීන මැතිවරණ කොමිසමකින් ඇති පලය කුමක්දැයි මාද්‍යවේදීන් විසින් මැතිවරණ කොමිසමේ සභාපති මහින්ද දේශප‍්‍රිය මහතාගෙන් විමසූ විට ඔහු ඉතා කෝපයට පත්ව පිලිතුරු දුන්නේ මෙසේය. 

YAHAPALANA AND INDIA   Part 3

May 21st, 2017

KAMALIKA PIERIS

The Free Trade agreement with India, like everything else with India,   has also caused a rumpus. The first India-Sri Lanka FTA (ISLFTA) was signed in November 1998 with just 4 consultations within 4 months. It became effective in 2000   and has been continuing ever since. In 2017 it was observed that   the FTA has been in operation for 15 years but without any tangible benefit to Sri Lanka.

Bilateral trade agreements  are expected to provide favored trading status, expanded access to each other’s markets, purchase guarantees, and removal of  tariffs,. But with India it was not so. The FTA helped India not Sri Lanka.  The Chambers of Commerce in Sri Lanka observed that the FTA did not come up to expectation even after a decade.

In 2007, exports from India to Sri Lanka amounted to USD 2784 million, exports were USD 516 million. Records from 2003-2009 showed that India’s exports to Sri Lanka were up and Sri Lanka exports to India were down. Between 2007-2009 Sri Lanka exports to India declined from USD 515 million in 2007 to USD 324 million in 2009.  ‘If not for the controls imposed by Sri Lanka the local market would have been flooded with cheap Indian goods,’

Sri Lanka‘s industrial sector has not benefited by the FTA although there is much talk about the entry into the vast Indian market, observed critics. Sri Lanka finds it hard to compete in India. Sri Lanka does not have industries that can match the scale of Indian production. Indian factories are huge and the scale of operations is gigantic. The cost of production in India is less than in Sri Lanka. ‘Our cost of production and domestic price are higher.’ Also Indian businesses are heavily subsidized. Large Indian conglomerates can sustain a price war. They can smother competition without feeling it.  Sri Lanka exporters, on the whole, are not interested in the Indian market. ‘India is too a big market for us, elsewhere is better, ‘they said.  ‘Our exports go elsewhere, not to India’.

Sri Lanka has only a limited number of items that can be exported such as tea, rubber products, spices, and garments. Under the India-Sri Lanka FTA, limitations were imposed on these and ‘we were asked to export other things’.   ‘India loyalists’ pointed out that India had granted concession to Sri Lanka for 4000 products, but only a fraction of these were exported. Exporters replied that FTA has a huge list of duty exempt goods, certainly, but these consist of items like aircraft engines, ships and so on which are not produced in Sri Lanka.

The bulk of Sri Lankan exports to India were outside the FTA but there was considerable obstruction to those exports that did come under the FTA. There is a long list of complaints. These complaints indicate that there is an organized campaign in India to harass and discourage Sri Lanka exports. ‘There is special antagonism towards Sri Lanka goods’, said exporters. There was red tape and bureaucratic delays.

Sri Lankan products entitled to concessions were rejected, complained exporters.  Strict quotas were imposed on Sri Lankan exports. There were stringent rules on product origin criteria. Certificate of origin has to be certified by the Sri Lanka High Commission. The goods usually arrived prior to the documents but could not be cleared without this vital document.

Documents are asked for by Indian authorities which are not specified in the FTA and furthermore, when documents are submitted which are in accordance with the FTA, the officials say that these are not the proper documents and request for other documents. Different ports in India classified goods under different duties.   Different ports demand different documentation and this led to  considerable delays in shipping and logistics  Different local organizations in India had different standards and quality requirements for imported products.

The exporter also had to face many Non Tariff measures (NTM) which were outside the scope of the Agreement. There is no end to the long list of non-tariff barriers that confront Sri Lanka goods, complained exporter. There are concealed state as well as federal government trade regulations, lots of ‘fine print’ and ‘invisible’ obstructionist measures. Indian exporters to Sri Lanka do not face any Non Tariff Barriers when they export their goods to Sri Lanka.

When goods on the Open General License arrived in India, the importer is told that Special Import License is required. The licence for non vegetarian food stuffs had to be issued by the Ministry of Agriculture in Delhi. Certification by Sri Lanka Standard Institute was not accepted, despite reciprocal recognition of Indian certificate. These delayed cargo clearance, especially of perishables.

Even when the goods were accompanied by the necessary certificates, the Indian authorities insisted that further tests to be carried out in India. Exporters complained about excessive time taken for product testing. Laboratory testing of perishable exports, often took 5 days, with higher Indian food standard requirements than Japan or the EU. There was excessive spot testing of even garments.

Checking of edible items is done by laboratories situated a distance away. Imports into Chennai are sent to CFTRI Mysore, and imports into Mumbai are sent to CFTRI Pune.  If sausages are exported, the goods have to be examined in Delhi and the container sent will have to be in the harbor for four or five days.  These led to delays, sometimes well over four weeks. And the consignment incurred demurrage and product deterioration.

There is harassment at Customs, very visible at Chennai. When there is no customs duty payable, other duties are presented. The exporter, due to time and cost pays this amount under protest. In addition to central government taxes, each state also has special taxes.   Kerala taxes the tea packaging and the tea tags too. Tea Board, India has to approve the imports. There are delays in customs clearing of cargo,

Other issues faced by Sri Lankan exporters at the Indian end, included Ignorance of Indian customs officials of FTA concessions for product categories.   Complexity and difficulties in obtaining information on new regulations, especially by SME exporters, regarding say, recent new food safety regulations.  Absence of an Indian agency or ‘help desk’ to resolve problems like the above, where a quick response is critical due to ensuing high costs from delays, negating FTA benefits and discouraging Sri Lankan exporters.  Also exporters needed to make informal payments to oil the machine.  There are a myriad other loopholes and bottlenecks experienced by Sri Lankan exporters to India, especially SMEs, said exporters.

The head of Ceylon Biscuits observed that those who worked with India had sad tales to relate. Ceylon Biscuits was blacklisted at Chennai ‘claiming that we were under invoicing’ .A regular exporter of floor tiles was suddenly called on to pay duty as customs challenged the validity of the HS classification. The exporter got redress after a long drawn out court case and great expense. In marble and granite a minimum floor price was imposed to hurt Sri Lanka exports.  In the case of fresh fruit and tea, there was excessive time for lab tests.

This FTA is still in effect in Sri Lanka and in 2017 critics noted that while India has imposed various product specifications on Sri Lanka,   ‘we don’t have any product specifications for Indian goods, which is why Maruti cars are imported into Sri Lanka on a large scale even though they are not exported to any other country.’ Inferior motor vehicles made in India such as the ‘Alto’ brand, not marketed anywhere else in the world, are also imported.

In 2002, Sri Lanka and India agreed to replace the existing India Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement with a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).  When CEPA negotiations took place in 2005, the only persons who represented Sri Lanka were government officials, non-government persons were left out, complained exporters. CEPA was originally scheduled to be signed in 2008 during the SAARC summit. No one had seen the agreement.  At the eleventh hour, CEPA was shot down by angry business men, very critical of India.  ‘A secret copy came into the hands of a few people who stopped it.’  President Rajapakse then decided not to sign it, despite considerable Indian pressure to do so.

Sri Lanka’s business sector said ‘No’ to CEPA very firmly. Business concerns, such as Maubima Lanka opposed CEPA. India is not a level playing field and the local manufacturers will get hurt, the business sector said. India has not treated Sri Lanka businesses kindly. Exporters cited their experiences with the earlier FTA. India harasses the Sri Lanka exporter. Sri Lanka exports face numerous non-tariff barriers, port restrictions, customs delays and cumbersome laboratory tests. Documents not specified in the FTA are asked for.  Documents in accordance with the FTA are rejected by the Indian officials who say that they are not the proper documents and ask for additional documents, exporters said.

Trade in goods was still bleak. The volume of bilateral trade, which stood at USD 4.6 billion in 2014, was heavily in favor of India. Sri Lanka share was USD 600 million. Sri Lanka’s small size and inability to produce items in required numbers to meet the demand of the huge Indian market was one factor.

India had asked Sri Lanka to sign the agreement first, the schedules can come later.  No, said exporters, we must not sign CEPA in a hurry.  We must avoid signing an open-ended framework agreement.  We must include the schedules at least as drafts and bring in conditions preventing additions of any schedules outside the discussed areas as in India-Singapore agreement. In the India-Singapore CEPA all the schedules are very clearly attached.

We must sign CEPA only after we ensure that it will be in our interests to do so, continued exporters. We must first address all the key issues that are hindering our exports.  We must have the necessary domestic legislation for incoming imports and have a patriotic committed negotiating team that should match if not better, the Indian team.  Once agreed to, the agreement cannot be reversed. It is a bilateral agreement so there is no court to which we can go either.  If we change terms heavy penalties, including compensation, have to be paid.

Critics noted that CEPA is pushed by India not Sri Lanka.  India is actively pursuing this, critics observed. India has already established its industries in Sri Lanka. Indian business houses and their businesses thrive in Sri Lanka. They get subsidized energy.   The Sri Lanka market is too small to attract India, anyway, so why is India so keen on CEPA? Answer, to get control of Sri Lanka.  Sri Lanka is strategically important.  India cannot easily control Sri Lanka militarily, so it is best to try to control it through its economy. CEPA was intended to tie Sri Lanka’s economy firmly to that of India.

‘India Loyalists’ however, said that CEPA will help domestic industries. . There is going to be an increase in consumer demand in India and Sri Lanka can tap into this. There is a limit to how much an industry can provide for a small market such as Sri Lanka with 20 million, India population is over a billion, the scope and potential is endless. Sri Lanka industries can also expand to newer manufacturing sectors. The charge that Sri Lanka domestic industries would be affected by the influx of cheaper Indian goods was dismissed as ‘protectionism.’   ‘India Loyalists’ said that there are safeguards in place.

‘India Loyalists’ said that the Indian firms like CEAT and Piramal have taken over sick units in Sri Lanka and turned them around. They said Lanka IOC, was a notable achievement, which has revolutionized the petroleum sector. LIOC has plans for further expansion. Bhareti Airtel has led to a drastic reduction in mobile call rates.   Finally, that Ceylon Biscuits, Carson Cumberbatch, Brandix, John Keells, Hayleys, and the Aitken Spence hotels have done well in India.

Pathfinder Foundation defended CEPA.  Pathfinder said that the charge that due to the asymmetry of the two economies CEPA would inevitably be detrimental to Sri Lanka is not   correct. There were provisions in the agreements as safeguards.  And we have trade negotiators to handle this.  India has trade agreements with countries that are less developed than Sri Lanka. If they can why not Sri Lanka.  CEPA can offer benefits to Sri Lanka of getting into bigger markets.

The persons urging CEPA within Sri Lanka appear to be  ‘non-business’ men,  particularly economists, including certain named economists. These persons do not have businesses to export to India, but are urging business men to support CEPA. Exporters charged that these economists were disinterested in the welfare of local business.  I attended a discussion on CEPA, where the economists held forth, not letting anybody else speak, except a high official of the Department of Commerce, who defended CEPA.  The exporters, who had come to speak of their experiences with India, left in disgust.

CEPA included not only goods, but also professional services, investment and free moment of persons. The reserved list for Sri Lanka was only pawn broking, small and medium industries below one million, and coastal fishing, not deep sea fishing. Opponents of CEPA had much to say about this.

This means that Indians can come and start state trading organizations here and repatriate profits abroad. If they start industries here, they will kill the local ones by undercutting for a few years, and then they will start to increase prices.   Existing Sri Lanka companies will also then have to raise their prices. No foreign exchange will come in, it will only go out, they declared.

If CEPA goes through Sri Lanka will be swamped by Indian labor in all spheres of work, professional, skilled, and semi skilled. Under CEPA India can bring down technical staff  from 10% of total staff cadre up to   50% Through this, India will be able to bring all  their technical staff from India.

That was not all. Any Indian can bring his family into Sri Lanka and they can work anywhere they want. Family alone can take up about 5 jobs. There are some 56 million unemployed in India compared to Sri Lanka’s 470,000. So they will come in droves for lesser salaries, while Sri Lankans, whose standard of living is higher, will not easily, go to India. Under CEPA there is no ‘business visa’ so there is no time limit for the stay either.

Our culture will also be affected, noted critics. According to CEPA there will be 50% Indian ownership of 25 cinemas, each of which could hold multiple cinema halls.  In these cinemas, 40% cinema time would be for Tamil and Hindi films. Film makers when alerted objected.

The professions also objected to CEPA. CEPA was most undesirable, they said. India’s professional standards are different to ours. Engineers said that there are many unemployed engineers in India who will flood Sri Lanka through CEPA.  India’s degree for engineering is only three years, ours is four years.

In health and medicine, India was   asking Sri Lanka to recognize the qualifications of Indian doctors.  30 or so categories of paramedical professionals were also included in the CEPA.    CEPA  could also be  used to bypass a number of health laws including those associated with quality control (CDDA no 27 of 1980)and the monitoring of the private health sector ( PMIR no 21 of 2006).   Sri Lanka regulatory bodies are weak, stressed the professionals, and if we open up the service sector without regulation Sri Lanka will be swallowed up by Indian companies and services.

Yahapalana government of 2015 announced that they will not sign CEPA but will enter in to an Economic/Technical Co-operation Framework Agreement (ETCFA) with India. This ECTA was drafted in great secrecy. The agreement was not made public and an attempt was made to sign it quickly. But this too was stopped. This time by the professionals, led by architects, engineers and doctors.

The agreement was poorly drafted, observed critics. It had ‘many irreversible loopholes’ that will trap Sri Lanka into a ‘helpless situation.’ The clauses are vague and open ended, such as ‘shall include but shall not be limited to’. Opponents of ECTA questioned whether it had been properly negotiated.  Also the competence of those drafting it. .

ECTA   they said was CEPA all over again in a more virulent form. Something akin to match fixing was   going on, they declared. Even the people who were supposed to represent Sri Lanka were actually representing the other side. ECTA is not about trade, it is about politics, they concluded. ECTA is intended to please India.

ECTA involved goods, professional services, investment and free movement of persons. Analysts were not surprised. ‘What India really wants is to get at Sri Lanka‘s goods and services,’ they said. In ECTA as in CEPA, India had opened up only few jobs to outsiders but Sri Lanka had opened up all sectors except a few unimportant ones. All services and trades were open to India except pawn broking, money lending, small time retails trade, personal services and coastal fishing. GATS guidelines specified that after a country had agreed to open up specific sectors, they cannot thereafter apply any new licensing and qualification requirements to those professions.  That is prohibited. it is reliably learned that the Indian side have requested that the laws relating to  registering professional not be changed after signing ECT framework agreements, which is a preliminary to the proper ECTA.

But the  main concern in ECTA  was about the ‘movement of  persons ‘  from India into Sri Lanka  for trade and services,  using Modes 3 and 4 of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (WTO 1995). Governments are generally reluctant to  include modes 3 and 4  in trade agreements, because GATS commitments are one-way and cannot be  withdrawn once entered into.

Mode  3  gives the foreign supplier the right to be present in the  country and Mode 4 says the  foreign supplier can be represented by a natural person. This is supposed to be only temporary, for the duration of the contract. But GAT does not define ‘temporary’. WTO members are free to interpret the term as they wish, and to set varying definitions for different categories of service providers.  Sri Lanka professionals observed that persons could  come in on  Mode 3  also, through companies.

Using Mode 3 and 4,  Indians can come in and set up their own companies in Sri Lanka. They could for instance, set up their own tourist companies and Indian tourists will come to those. Also these companies can siphon off the clients from the local brands. Substandard Indian business will thrive in Sri Lanka  and this in turn will result in a massive elimination of local SMRs and exporting companies and a great increase in Indian companies, commodities and employees in  Sri Lanka .

But what worried  the professionals most was India flooding Sri Lanka with professionals and workers through  these two Modes.. The fear was mostly that this could lead to sub standard persons from India entering the Sri Lankan workforce. High unemployment pressure in India and lower salary expectation of Indian workers would make them seek job opportunities in Sri Lanka. Movement of persons will be one sided, India to Sri Lanka.

Unlike Sri Lanka , India  has carefully defined and limited the scope of movement of natural persons under Modes 3 and 4. Also  India has controls for all its professions.   In architecture, there was Architects Act of 1972 and the Council of Architects. India   had a very sophisticated system of professional registration as well   and no foreigner can practice there. Therefore   Sri Lanka professionals cannot enter India.  And if they try, India can do to them, what they are doing to the Sri Lanka exporters.

Sri Lanka unlike India,  has  no legally empowered bodies which  require professionals to be registered with them. Only exceptions are Sri Lanka Medical Council and Institute of Chartered Accountants. Sri Lanka does not have a regulatory system in place for monitoring  its own professionals let alone any that arrive from India.  Indian professionals will be able to flood Sri Lanka  without any restrictions as there are no accrediting requirements at  the Sri Lanka end, said professionals..

Island-wide protests were initiated by diverse professional associations, political entities and businesses, to stop ECTA. A  Professionals National Front, a consortium of a dozen professionals’ associations,  was formed to combat ECTA. It included among others, the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA), the Electrical Engineers’ Association, the Customs Officers’ Union and the National University Teachers’ Association.

This Association held a meeting at SLAAS to oppose ECTA. The auditorium was packed to capacity with standing room only at is first meeting. Five speakers, one after the other all rejected  ECTA.  The speakers said  ECTA was detrimental to Sri Lanka.  They drew attention to  the utterly weak regulatory framework in  Sri Lanka . And said that   necessary safeguards must be provided for all  professions before ECTA is signed.

India plans to use ECTA, in the first instance to get into Sri Lanka’s  Information Technology (IT)   and naval engineering sectors (dockyards). There is little discussion so far on shipyards and   naval engineering  but clearly, India is interested in getting a  foothold in  this  sector.

Sri Lanka ‘s IT sector is flourishing.  It is the strongest area of Sri Lanka ‘s knowledge industry sector. Global Information Technology report for 2015,  ranks Sri Lanka  No 65 in Network Readiness Index.. The Network Readiness Index indicates how well an economy is poised to gain the benefits of ICT.  Sri Lanka is within the top ten countries from Asia and is the only south Asian country in the list. Sri Lanka is  three places below China.

India’s position in Network Readiness has been declining  India was ranked at  89 in 2015. IT standards in India are not  as high as in Sri Lanka and   if India comes here the domestic IT  industry will  get weakened.    Through ECTA Indian IT persons will be able to arrive here even without being employed by a company and once in, will  rank  equal to the Sri Lanka IT  personnel. Sri Lanka’s standing in the world in IT will be affected. Since India has a high rate of unemployment,  Indian IT workers will  be prepared to work here for lesser wages   and this will lower  salaries  too.

IT professionals have   mobilized against ECTA. The Society of Information Technology professionals  of Sri Lanka (SITP) warned government against signing ECTA. They say the pact will be very harmful to Sri Lanka. They said at a press conference that they would everything possible to prevent government from going ahead with this.  A large number of Sri Lanka processionals will be unemployed if this is signed.

The Computer Society of Sri Lanka   (CSSL)urged the government to ensure     safeguards to protect the IT professionals of Sri Lanka. The speakers said that it is not true that there is dearth of IT professionals in Sri Lanka.  We have enough to meet the demand now and  for the next several years. Why was IT selected as a service that India could provide?  If ECTA comes then IT wages will be reduced, as cheaper labor will come from India, it will also tarnish Sri Lanka image as a centre of excellence and Sri Lanka will lose its state as a niche software developer centre for investors.

If  Indian IT persons  are allowed to come, their qualifications must be checked and  limited period visas issued. Also they must get CSSL membership.  Working visas must be linked to a  letter from a  Sri Lanka company  and  visa must be linked to that company . The  company must be incorporated in Sri Lanka.  They must first try to recruit locally.   There must be a minimum level of Sri Lanka employees in the company. ‘That must be set down’.  The foreign nationals must pay tax to  Inland Revenue here,  also Sri Lanka must prevent  IT freelancers coming  in.  ( continued)

Tamil Eelam War 8th Anniversary Statement

May 21st, 2017

Asoka Weerasinghe Kings Grove Crescent . Gloucester . Ontario. K1J 6G1 Canada

19 May 2017

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, K1A  0A2

ATTENTION: Kate Purchase, Director of Communications – Kindly brief the PM on this letter of utmost concern to many non-Tamil Sri Lankan-Canadians

Dear Prime Minister  Justin Trudeau:

Today, 19th May of 2017, is the day that all of  Sri Lanka should be celebrating for  winning the 30-year long Tamil Tiger terrorist war, almost single handed.

These were the Made in Indira Gandhi’s India’s,  Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam  (LTTE) aka Tamil Tigers, who hemorrhaged that democratic island nation for 30 blooding years, which was aided and abetted  among other western countries, Canada.  You knew it, didn’t you?  If you didn’t, then you know it now.

These were the Tamil Tiger terrorists who perfected the art of suicide bombing having perfected the suicide body pack, and detonated 388 human bombs killing not only the targeted victim but also many scores of innocent unarmed  people who happened to be close to the targeted victim.  It was a Tamil Tiger  suicide bomber, a young Tamil woman who assassinated the former India’s Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi  by detonating a body pack while garlanding him during  a husting  near Chennai.  So did they get Sri Lanka’s President Ranasinghe Premadasa during the May Day rally  in Colombo in 1993.  And, of course, several Cabinet Ministers and politicians who did not toe their line of ‘Tamil separation’.

You know what Prime Minister Trudeau, it were your Liberals under Prime Ministers Jean Chretien  and Paul Martin  that the Tamil Diaspora collected two million dollars a month for 13 long years, while you all looked aside, to stuff the Tamil Tiger war- chest to purchase  sophisticated war weapons to fight their separatist Eelam war and kill thousands of innocent unarmed people for  the want of their mono-ethnic, racist, separate Tamil State Eelam in the North and East of that  beautiful island with beautiful people that your Dad, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau loved.

It were your Liberal ‘backbencher’ MPs lead by two Cabinet Ministers, Paul Martin (Finance) and Maria Minna (CIDA) who patronized a $60-a-plate Tamil Tiger Fund Raising Dinner in Toronto on 6 May 2000, is proof that your Liberal  Party supported the Tamil Tiger terrorist movement in Sri Lanka.  The Chief Guest of Honour of the Tamil Tiger fund raiser was none other than a Cabinet Minister of the Liberal Government, Paul Martin.  If you did not know it, you know it now.

On 4 February 2009, when the Tamil Tigers  were running for cover, gasping for breath on the road to the Nandikadal Lagoon in Mullaitivu to gasp their last breath before their annihilation ( they were militarily defeated on 18 May

2009), the Canadian parliament had an Emergency Meeting in its Parliamentary Chambers called by NDP’s Jack Layton, trying to save the Tamil Tigers, with the Gallery sardine-packed with the  Tamil Tiger separatist supporters from Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.  At this Tamil Tiger Blarney Gong Show several of your  Tamil Tiger supporting MPs spoke.  But the most disingenuous, lying lot were the  LIBERAL TERRIBLE  LYING 6 – Jim Karygiannis, Judy Sgro, Maria Minna,  Robert Oliphant, Albina Guarnieri and Derek Lee, who charged Sri Lanka with “Genocide” of the Tamils.

You know what Prime Minister Trudeau, as my Crystal Ball had  predicted 103 days later your Liberal Terrible Lying 6, found themselves uncomfortable in twisted knickers and underpants, having had their ‘Genocide’ charge boomerang at them with the howling whistle crying out “You 6 bloody Liars.”  They couldn’t figure out  how these Sri Lankan ‘Genocide Wallas’ had the most generous hearts ready  to face death at the hands of the Kalashnikov trigger happy Tamil Tigers, for saving 295,873 Tamils  from their clutches who were used by the Tamil Tigers as human shields for 30 months herding them along from the West coast to the East coast under the Jaffna’s scorching sun like unwashed cattle to their death. It would have been easy to be brutal  and disregard the right-to-life of these 295,873 Tamil refugees and let them starve to death.  But that didn’t happen.

Not only that Prime Minister Trudeau, these Tamil refugees who were housed in special camps were provided  with a million hearty breakfasts, lunches and dinners each day, cooked and prepared by the majority Sinhalese that the Tamils let you believe who had discriminated and persecute them.. No Liberal from your caucus still do not have the will to admit that textbook example of a superior humanitarian act by the majority Sinhalese who wanted to guard the 295,873 Tamil refugees and sustain their lives by feeding them and so they cooked and prepared their million meals a day. This amazing act proved that your Liberals were a bunch of liars who charged Sri Lanka with Tamil  “genocide”.  That was a load of codswallop!.  If you didn’t know it, Prime Minister, then you know it now.

Now I understand your mindset, and where you are coming from, why you said what you said, in the Statement by Prime Minister on the Eighth Anniversary of the End of the War in Sri Lanka.   It was skewed, pompous, arrogant and unfair towards non-Tamil Sri Lankans and their Government when you extend your deepest sympathy and support to Canadians of Tamil descent.

I take umbrage to what you said.  Just a reminder that I am a Sinhalese-Canadian who has lived in Canada since 1968, since  three years before you were born,  and contributed immensely to promote the Canadian cultures, especially of the indigenous peoples in the North, the Peoples of the First Nations, through the National Museums by placing my stamp in the Inuit, People of the Longhouse (Iroquois), The Buffalo Hunters (The Plains Indians) and Children of the Raven (Haida and other west coast indigenous cultures Exhibition Halls), and most importantly, I TOO HAVE A VOTE and once upon a time, long, long time ago I too voted for the Liberals during your Dad’s (Pierre Trudeau) time as the Prime Minister of Canada.

You said, “I reiterate my call to the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure that a process of accountability is established that will have the trust and confidence of the victims of the war.  To this end, Sri Lanka should fulfill its international commitments by ensuring the involvement of Commonwealth and international investigators, prosecutors and judges.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, that statement of yours should go into the Canadian political archives as “ a  Masterpiece of a Canadian Prime Minister’s bullying with a petence of a  White Colonial Master on puny Sri Lanka.”

Permit me to address the Prime Minister of Canada, Rt.Hon. Justin Trudeau, as a learning curve for you, Sir,  as you have overlooked the Fact that  the Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka is a sovereign nation, and a sister member of the Commonwealth, just like Canada.

My Grade 5 Civic Lesson says that Sri Lanka has to act within the provisions of her national constitution  just like would Canada on the subject of accountability and cannot and should not accommodate  Commonwealth and International investigators, prosecutors and judges in her judicial system, just like Canada.  Not even as a knee-jerk reaction because the  Prime Minister of Canada wants Sri Lanka to do to satisfy the eyes and ears of his Liberal Party Tamil constituents, especially in the Greater Toronto Area.  That is indeed the rub, Prime Minister Trudeau. This is sound constitutional criteria and advice.

In case you are not familiar,  Sri Lanka’s judiciary has the capacity to review matters of accountability in respect of any violation of human rights or international humanitarian laws or commision of war crimes if any, in the Tamil separatist war that ended on May 19, 2009, in which one party in conflict, the Tamil Tigers were aided and abetted by foreign nations like India, Norway, Canada and several others.

Just a few comments for you to ponder before you make more misguided comments on Sri Lanka and its war with the separatist Tamil Tiger terrorists, the most ruthless in the world according  to the UN.

  1. When the Tamils want to live by the gun, there ought to be  no cry of “Foul” when they die by the gun;
  2. This war was between two factions, the Tamils who have been fighting for their mono-ethnic, separate, racist Tamil state Eelam, and the Sri Lankan armed forces who were trained to safeguard Sri Lanka’s sovereign territory from foreign invaders and, terrorists who were homemade or trained by a foreign country to destabilize Sri Lanka, the democratic island nation;
  3. In this war 26,000 members of the Sri Lanka’s Security Forces were killed defending Sri Lanka, from the separatist Tamil Tigers who were funded surreptitiously by Canada;
  4. If violations of Human Rights in this war is a concern of Canada, be sure that you keep this fact in your memory bank. Eliminating the Tamil Tiger terrorists on 19 May 2009, gave back the most sacred and  paramount human right of a person, the right-to-life to 21 million people in Sri Lanka which had been hijacked for 30 years by the ruthless terrorists, the Tamil Tigers;
  5. Canada ought not to forget that when the WAR MEASURES ACT, with Draconian powers were invoked by your Dad, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau on 16 October 1970, to stop the FLQs separatist movement, Canada had to deal with the FLQ’s armoury of a grand total of 33 firearms, and 21 other offensive weapons including 3 smoke grenades, 9 hand knives and 1 sabre compared to the Tamil Tiger terrorists conventional army trained by India in 33 army camps in South India and at the foothills of the Himalayas, that the Sri Lankan forces had to deal with.  The Tamil Tigers  had an armoury of thousands of M-16s, AK-47s, rocket launches, millions of landmines, hand grenades, SAMs and millions of rifle shells and an army of young female  Black Tiger suicide bombers;  11 shiploads of armoury sneaked in at night off  the Mullaitivu eastern shores in fast moving fiberglass boats from the Mother Armoury ships anchored in international waters during the Ceasefire period of February 22, 2002 and 2 January 2008; the Sea-Tigers and Air Tigers, an air force with 5 Czech-built ZLIN Z 143s for night bombing.  It was no cake walk to deal with such a formidable well trained and well funded terrorist group, and now to be harassed and bullied by western countries like Canada for having won this terrorist war, almost single handed;
  6. If the numbers killed during this war bothers you, Sri Lanka has every right to apply strictly the mighty Americans formula and tell you “it was collateral damage,” as Sri Lanka had no way to find out like in a Dummies Manual – How to go to War and win without killing anyone;
  7. And did you ever wonder why National Post’s Stewart Bell quite rightly say in his book Cold Terror, “Perhaps, Canada is in effect the LTTEs state sponsor, and the Sri Lanka conflict is Canada’s dirty little war.”

Having established the above facts  about the Tamil Tigers separatist war, we all know that your statement was all about seeking the Tamil votes, especially in the Greater Toronto Area.  And perhaps it is not asking too much from you Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, to be an honest human being to be more impartial in your stance and policies towards Sri Lanka.  It were not only the Tamil who died in this unnecessary cruel war, the Sinhalese and Muslims were massacred  in the thousands by the Tamil Tigers, And  all who died from both camps were the sons and daughters of the same God, that I think you believe iin and just not the Tamils.

Sincerely,

Asoka Weerasinghe (Mr.)

Cc. Hon. Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety

Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Hon. Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Yasmin Ratansi, MP for Don Valley East

Chandra Arya, MP for Nepean

 

Sri Lanka’­s middle-income status preserved by housemaids and unskilled labour

May 21st, 2017

by Sanath Nanayakkare Courtesy The Island

Migrant worker remittances have mainly contributed to the surplus in the nation’s secondary income account which is earned by unskilled and housemaid categories, the Central Bank’s Annual Report 2016 reveals.

CBSL Annual Report further notes that the surplus in the secondary income account mainly backed by these worker remittances have helped in cushioning the deficit in the trade and primary income accounts of the current account to a certain extent.

According to statistics housemaids and unskilled workers account for 56 per cent of total Sri Lankan expatriate workers. Worker remittances which account for the majority of inflows to the secondary income account as the key source of private transfers have grown at a modest rate of 3.7 per cent to US dollars7,242 million, as against the decline of 0.5 per cent observed in 2015.

The Central Bank, however, states that a shift in skill levels of migrant labour can be observed over the years due to the steps taken in a strategic direction by the authorities since 2008 towards the concept of “Safe, Skilled Migration”.

Still, according to 2016 foreign employment statistics only 2.7 per cent of worker departures were under the professional categories, which is a marginal improvement compared to 2.4 per cent recorded in 2015.

Meanwhile, middle level manpower categories have increased by 12.2 per cent although departures in all other categories recorded a decline in 2016 due to the global economic slowdown.

Although a notable increase in departures to South Korea was also observed in 2016, still 97 per cent of these departures were unskilled workers.

These developments reflect the scope for continued efforts towards encouraging and increasing ‘Safe, Skilled Migration’ of skilled categories pushing for a decline in housemaid and unskilled categories. Such efforts will lead to a healthy trend of inward remittances from skilled categories, the Central Bank states.

ආයෙත් යම් දවසක කොටි ගැහැව්වොත් 

May 21st, 2017

ධර්මසිරි සෙනෙවිරත්න 

            ප්‍රභාකරන් කොටියා ,බෙදුම් වාදියා ,තමන්ගේ ආරක්ෂාවට  සාමාන්‍ය ජනතාව ලක්ෂ ගණනක්  ආරක්ෂක වළල්ලක් සේ  තියාගෙන   ඒ මැදට වෙලා තමය්  සටන්ක ලේ .එනිසාම අපේ හමුදාවට හෙමින් හෙමින් සීරුවෙන් සටන් කරන්න සිදුවුනා ඒ සිවිල් ජනතාව ආරක්ෂා කරගන්න .  එහෙම කරනකොට  unp   කාරයෝ කින් ඩි  දැම්මා පාමංකඩ අලිමංකඩ ,,…..කියකිය .පුළුවන් තරම්  හමුදාවේ අ යට පාච්චල් කළා මහින්දට කෝචෝක් කළා .බටහිරයන්ටය් ඉන්දියාවටය් ගතු කේලම් කිව්වා මහින්දට විරුද්ධව . 

                                                                ඉතින් ආයෙත් දවසක කොටි ගැහැව්වොත්  අපේ හමුදාව කල යුත්තේ තමන්ගේ ආරක්ෂාවට  ඔය කිඳී දාපු නරුමයෝ ලක්ෂ ගණනක් අල්ලලා  ඉස්සරහින් තියල තමන්ට ආරක්ෂක පවුරක් හදාගෙන  සටන් කරමින් ඉදිරියට යන එකය් .බලමු  කොටි එතකොට  සිවිල් ජනතාව ගැන හිතයදා කියල .කමක් නැහැ නොහිතුවත්  ද්‍රෝහියෝ වෙදිකාපුදෙන්  .උන්ට ආනන්තරිය පාප කර්මේ පලදෙන්න ඉඩ දෙමු .උන්ට වෙඩි වදින කොට ”’කොටිගහල මදි තොපිට ”” කියල අපි සිංදුවකුත් කියමු 

            කවදා හරි මේකනම් කලයුතු  මය්    

 

ජයවර්ධනපුර රෝහලේ පැවති පූජ්‍ය පක්‍ෂය සඳහා නිදහස් ප‍්‍රතිකාර ලබාදීම නවතාදැමීම

May 21st, 2017

රධාන ලේකම් ජාතික භික්ෂු පෙරමුණ

ගරු ජනාධිපතිතුමා

ජනාධිපති මන්දිරය

කොළඹ 01.

ජයවර්ධනපුර රෝහලේ පැවති පූජ් පක්ෂය සඳහා නිදහස් රතිකාර ලබාදීම නවතාදැමීම

ජයවර්ධනපුර රෝහලේ පැවති පූජ්‍ය පක්‍ෂය සඳහා නිදහස් ප‍්‍රතිකාර ලබාදීම 2017 අපේ‍්‍රල් 06 දින නිකුත්කර ඇති අභ්‍යන්තර චක‍්‍රලේක අංක 15/2017 අනුව මේ වන විට නවතා දමා ඇත. පැවති එම යහපත් පිළිවෙත වෙනුවට කිලෝමීටර් 05 ක සීමාවක් පනවා ඉන් පිටත සිට පැමිණෙන පූජ්‍ය පක්‍ෂයේ අයගෙන් සම්පූර්ණ මුදල් අයකර ප‍්‍රතිකාර කිරීම මේ වන විට අරඹා ඇත.

මෙය ඉතා කණගාටුදායක තීන්දුවකි. ඉහත චක‍්‍රලේඛනයෙන් පසු රෝගීව, අසාධ්‍යව රෝහලට පැමිණෙන පූජ්‍ය පක්‍ෂයේ ඇත්තන්ගෙන් වෛද්‍යවරු, රෝහල් කාර්යමණ්ඩලය පළමුව විමසන ප‍්‍රශ්නය රෝගී තත්වය පිළිබඳව නොව වාසය කරන්නේ රෝහලේ සිට කිලෝමීටර් කීයක් දුරින්ද යන්න විය යුතුය.

ගරු ජනාධිපතිතුමනි,

ඔබතුමන් ජනාධිපතිව සිටින මේ රට මිනිසුන් නොව තිරිසන් සතුන්ටත් නිදහසේ ප‍්‍රතිකාර කළ බුද්ධදාස රජතුමන්ලා රජකළ රටකි. මේ පෙන්වා ඇත්තේ එවන් රටක නිදහස් සෞඛ්‍ය සේවයේ තරමද? දෙකෝටි තිස් ලක්‍ෂයක ජනතාවක් ඇති මෙරට සියලූ ආගමික නායකයින් සංඛ්‍යාව ලක්‍ෂයක්වත් නොමැත. ලක්‍ෂයක් යැයි සිතුවත් එය සමස්ත ජනගහණයෙන් 0.43% කි. එයිනුත් ජයවර්ධපුර රෝහලට ප‍්‍රතිකාර සඳහා පැමිණෙන්නේ ඉතාමත් සුළුතර පිරිසකි. එය 0.001% ටත් අඩුවිය හැකිය. එවන් අල්ප ප‍්‍රමාණයකට නිදහස් ප‍්‍රතිකාර කිරීමක් කළ නොහැකි තරමට මෙරට ආර්ථිකයත්, සෞඛ්‍ය සේවයත්, සදාචාරය හා සංස්කෘතියත් පිරිහී ඇතැයි යන්න අප මෙයින් තේරුම්ගත යුතුද යන්න ඔබතුමන් අපට වටහා දිය යුතුය.

පූජ්‍ය පක්‍ෂය යනු සමාජයට ආගමික හා සදාචාරාත්මක, සංස්කෘතික අංශයන්ගෙන් මගපෙන්වීම සිදුකරන සමාජය වෙනුවෙන් සිය ජීවිතය පූර්ණකාලීනව කැපකළ පිරිසකි. ඒ අතර භික්‍ෂූන් වහන්සේ යනු සිය පවුල් පරිසරයන් හැරදා, දේපළ සබඳතා අතැර ආ පිරිසකි. ඒ බව මෙරට පාලයින්ට වඩා හොඳින් ජපන් රජය තේරුම්ගත් නිසාදෝ මෙම රෝහල ජපන් ආධාර මත ගොඩනංවා 1984 වර්ෂයේ ලංකාවට ලබාදුන්නේ පූජ්‍ය පක්‍ෂයට ප‍්‍රතිකාර කිරීම සම්පූර්ණ නිදහස්කොට කි‍්‍රයාත්මක කරන එගඟතාවද ඇතුවයි.

ජාත්‍යන්තර වෙසක් දින සමරා බෞද්ධකම ගැන ලෝකෙට පරකාසෙ පෙන්වන ආණ්ඩුව ගෙදරට පෙන්වන මරගාත කෙතරම් හාස්‍ය උපදවන්නේ දැයි සිතේ. ජපනාට ශී‍්‍ර ලාංකික බෞද්ධ භික්‍ෂුව පිළිබඳව ඇති හැඟීමවත් නැති වත්මන් ආණ්ඩුව ගත් මෙම කි‍්‍රයාදාමය පිළිබඳව මහා සංඝරත්නය ප‍්‍රමුඛ පූජ්‍ය පක්‍ෂයේ අප‍්‍රසාදය හා පිළිකුළ පළකර සිටින්නෙමු.

තවද ඉහත චක‍්‍ර ලේඛනය වහා අහෝසිකර පූර්වයේ තිබූ පරිදි පූජ්‍ය පක්‍ෂය සඳහා නිදහස් වෛද්‍ය ප‍්‍රතිකාර ක‍්‍රමය නොපමාව නැවත කි‍්‍රයාත්මක කරන මෙන් ඉතා  ඕනෑකමෙන් යුතුව ඉල්ලා සිටිමු. මේ සම්බන්ධව ඔබතුමන් ගන්නාවූ කි‍්‍රයාමාර්ගය කල් නොඉක්මවා දන්වනු ඇතැයි අපේක්‍ෂා කරන්නෙමු.

මෙයට,

 

පූජ් වකමුල්ලේ උදිත හිමි

රධාන ලේකම්

ජාතික භික්ෂු පෙරමුණ

 

පිටපත් :- 01. අධ්යක්ජයවර්ධනපුර රෝහල

  1. සියලූ ජනමාධ්යා

 

සම්බන්ධීකරණය සඳහා :- 0718082647

අල්ලස් කොමිසම, මහා පරිමාන දුෂණ කොමිසම, දුෂණ ලේකම් කාර්යාලය  දැන් බෝඩ් ලෑලි විතරයි. එෆ්.සී.අයි.ඩී.ය ට වහන්න එදා හොරුත් මෙදා හොරුත් සැදී පැහැදී ඉන්නවා

May 21st, 2017

– දුෂණ විරෝධී පෙරමුණ උපදේශක කීර්ති තෙන්නකෝන් කියයි

ලැසිල් ද සිල්වා ලේකම් ධූරයෙන් ඉවත් කරලා මාසයක් යනකොට ‘බරපතල වංචා දුෂණ විමර්ශන ජනාධිපති කොමිෂන් සභාව බෝඩ් ලෑල්ලක් වුණා.  දිල්රුක්ෂි ඩයස් ඉවත් කිරීමෙන් පසුව ‘අල්ලස් හෝ දුෂණ විමර්ශන කොමිෂන් සභාවේ නඩු පැවරීම් සම්පූර්ණයෙන්ම පාහේ නැවතී තිබෙනවා.  දුෂණ විමර්ශන ලේකම් කාර්යාලයේ ප්‍රතිපාදන කැපුවාම ‘එෆ්.සී.අයි.ඩී.ය’ නිකම්ම පූස් පැටියෙක් බවට පත් වෙනවා.  යහපාලන රජයේ අල්ලස් හෝ දුෂණ විමර්ශනය දැන් බෝඩ් ලෑල්ලක් විතරයි.  එදා ආණ්ඩුවෙත්, මෙදා ආණ්ඩුවෙත් හිටපු අන්ත දුෂිතයින් දැන් එකම පිගානේ දුෂණය වලදනවා යැයි දුෂණ විරෝධී පෙරමුණේ උපදේශක කීර්ති තෙන්නකෝන් මහතා පවසයි.

රාජගිරියේ අද පැවති පුවත්පත් සාකච්ඡාවක් අමතමින් තවදුරටත් අදහස් දැක්වූ තෙන්නකෝන් මහතා ‘බරපතල වංචා, දුෂණ, විමර්ශන ජනාධිපති කොමිෂන් සභාව’ හිටපු ජනාධිපති මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ, ගෝඨාභය, බැසිල්, නාමල්, ශෂින්ද්‍ර, මහින්දාන්නද, විමල් විරවිංශ, සරත් කුමාර, ජගත් පුෂ්පකුමාර, සේමසිංහ වැනි තෝරු මෝරු ගැන විමර්ශන කළා. කැදවා ප්‍රශ්න කළා. දමයන්ති ජයරත්න අතිරේක ලේකම්වරිය කැබිනට් අමාත්‍යවරයෙකුගේ පිහිටෙන් රටින් පනින්නේ ජනාධිපති කොමිසමේ කැදවීමට බිය වූ නිසයි. රිෂාක් ගේ ලක්සතොස නිසා කොමිසමේ ලේකම් ලැසිල් ද සිල්වා ඉවත් කලා. අද එය බෝඩ් ලෑල්ලක් විතරයි.  එකම නඩුවක් වත් පවරලා නෑ. මුදල් ගිලින, විශ්‍රාමිකයින්ට පඩි ගෙවන ජනතා බදු මුදල් ගිලින වැඩ නැතිව පඩි ලබන තැනක් වෙලා. බෝඩ් ලෑලි කොමිසමක් වෙලා.

ඊලගට දිල්රුක්ෂි ඩයස් වික්‍රමසිංහට අල්ලස් කොමිෂන් සභාවේ වැඩ කරන්න බැරි තැනට පත් කලා. ඉල්ලා අස්වෙන්න සැලැස්වුවා. දේශපාලනික වශයෙන් සංවේදී විමර්ශන 22 ක් ඇය අවසන් කර තිබුණා. ඇය ඉවත් කාලාට පස්සේ අද මහින්ද ගේ අල්ලස් කොමිෂන් සභාවෙත්, මෛත්‍රී ගේ අල්ලස් කොමිසමෙත් කිසිම වෙනසක් නෑ. දෙකේම වැඩ නෑ සද්දේ විතරයි. 

දැන් මේ සන්තෑසියම දුෂණ විමර්ශන ලේකම් කාර්යාලයට සිදු කරලා තියෙනවා.  විමර්ශන නිලධාරීන්ට වාහන නෑ. ගමන් වියදම් නෑ. එහි සෘජු බලපෑම සිදු වුණේ ‘එෆ්.සී.අයි.ඩී. එකටයි.  තව ටික කාලෙකින් එයත් බෝඩ් ලෑල්ලක් විතරයි. 

යහපාලනය හොරු අල්ලන්නේ මෙහෙමයි. ලොකු කථා වේදිකාවල කියනවා. දක්ෂ අවංක නිලධාරීන් තමන්ගේ උපරිමය කරලා හොරු අල්ලනකොට ඒ ආයතන අක්‍රීය කරනවා.  එජාපයට මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ පවුල රකින්නට අවශ්‍යයි. ඔවුන් සමග සිටි නිලධාරීන් රකින්න අවශ්‍යයි.  දේශපාලන පළිගැනීම්වලට ලක් වුණු එක්සත් ජාතික පාක්ෂිකයින් සහන නැති වුනාට ඔවුන් පීඩා කරපු නිලධාරීන් ඉහළම තැන්වල දැන් හොදින් වැජඹෙනවා. 

යහපාලන ආණ්ඩුවක් කියලා මහින්ද රජයේ හොරකම් උපරිමයෙන් සිදු කරපු අන්ත දුෂිතයෝ රැසකට ශ්‍රීලනිප වෙනුවෙන් කැබිනට් අමාත්‍යාංශය ලැබුණා. ඔවුන් තමන්ගේ මිතුරන්, පරණ ස්වාමියන් රැකගන්න දැන් සියළු දේ කරනවා.  මේ ආණ්ඩුව දැන් වංචා දුෂණ ගැන කථා කරන්නේ ‘අනේ උඹලා වගේ මෝඩයෝ රැලක්’ කියන්නා වගේ ජනතාවට හිනාවෙන ගමන් යැයි ද තෙන්නකෝන් මහතා පැවසීය.

මෙම අවස්ථාවට ලංකා බැංකුවේ හිටපු සභාපති රැසිරිපාල තෙන්නකෝන් හා ක්‍රිෂ්මාල් වර්ණසුරිය යන මහත්වරුන් ද සහභාගි විය.

මාධ්‍ය ඒකකය/දුෂණ විරෝධී පෙරමුණ

2017 මැයි 21

Remembering L.H. Mettananda : Colonialism, nationalism and Buddhist revivalism

May 21st, 2017

By Janaka Perera

 L.H. Mettananda : 1945 – 1953, Principal Ananda College

The watershed in Sri Lanka’s post – independence period i.e. 1956, which led to the socio-cultural emancipation of the vast majority of the people of this country would not have been possible if not for the invaluable contribution of L.H. Mettananda. Though front line politicians grabbed the lions’ share of the power and glory for the nation’s huge turn around in 1956, posterity is likely to concede a much greater share of credit to Mettananda and the Buddhist movement that he led in the first two decades following independence in 1948, for the sweeping changes that took place in the religious, educational and cultural spheres.

Colonial oppression

To understand the underlying reasons for the radical change of the order and the post ’56 reforms, we must re-visit the period of our history under the western powers i.e. Portuguese, Dutch and British. The colonial era is nothing but an indefensible tale of oppression, exploitation, religious and racial discrimination, and using the modern parlance a vast catalogue of human rights violations. Mass murder, crimes against humanity, slavery and exploitation of natural resources occurred without any moral remorse or compunction on the part of the occupiers.

A culture of impunity enveloped all wrongdoing initiated by the colonial administrators. Underpinning this evil system of conquest and subjugation of the weak was the doctrine of differing rights i.e. one set of rules for the white man and another for the governed. These are well documented.

The irony of this sordid saga is that the colonial nations who should accept responsibility and account for the crimes and compensate the victims and their descendants to restore their dignity and return the country’s wealth that was robbed at virtually gunpoint, are the very countries today that are pointing the accusatory finger at the descendants of the oppressed. The name of the game is Human Rights. Its pseudo – justice framework is meant to trap and punish the living in de – colonized states while allowing the principal perpetrators of human rights violations during the last five hundred years to get away scot free.

Not one European has been brought to justice for colonial crimes; not one red cent has been paid by the European nations to poor third world countries as compensation for colonial exploitation and crimes. The only exception to this inflexible position in international law is the example of the Jews being paid enormous sums for being victims of the ‘Holocaust’, while the claims of all other victims of ‘white colonial crimes’ have been thrown into the dustbin.

While the Japanese are being hounded by the Western media for attempting to erase text in their history books that pin the blame on the Japanese for atrocities committed in China in the period immediately preceding and during World War Two, school textbooks on history in European countries are conspicuously silent on European crimes committed in their colonies. History has been white washed to provide a simple and guilt free view of the past for the younger generation of Europe.

The struggle for national liberation

The colonial injustices in Sri Lanka had their outcome in the production of a range of national heroes spread over a couple of centuries who fought against the foreign invaders to liberate this country. They include Mayadunne, Vidiye Bandara, Sithawaka Rajasinghe, Wimala Dharma Suriya I, Nikapitiye Bandara, Senarat, Rajasinghe II, Veera Keppetipola, and Puran Appu. These are names that every Lankan should be able to re-call with ease and pride. Anagarika Dharmapala’s name easily lends itself to be included in this group despite the fact that he adopted a distinctively non – violent albeit combative approach to free this country from foreign occupation and imitative living by his compatriots largely influenced by decadent cultural influences of the west.

Among the many contenders to shoulder the mantle of Anagarika Dharmpala’s legacy and to continue his work to restore Buddhism to its due place in Lankan society particularly in the difficult transitional phase of the country’s history is L.H. Mettananda.

He gave voice to the calls of the Buddhists to re-establish a Buddhist Social Order as existed in the pre-colonial period. A compassionate society governed on Buddhist principles which encouraged simplicity in living, frowned on acquisitive greed, appreciated high moral standards and ethical conduct, and accepted without qualification what the economist E.F. Schumacher was to describe based on his experience in later day Buddhist Burma as ‘small is beautiful’.

Mettananda’s role in the Buddhist Revival Movement

Lokusathu Hewa Mettananda – better known as L.H. Mettananda – was born on March 19, 1894 at Kalawadumulla, Ambalangoda. He was the guiding spirit behind the Buddhist Commission Report that accelerated the United National Party’s ignominious defeat in the 1956 Parliamentary Elections, reducing that party’s number of seats in Parliament to eight.

The call to appoint such a Commission of Inquiry was based on the need to remedy the injustices done to the Buddhists under three colonial regimes which were continued in the post –independence period by local rulers subservient to colonial interests. The undertaking the British gave to protect and maintain the Buddhist religion had been grossly betrayed before the ink was dry in the Kandyan Convention of 1815 signed 194 years ago this month.

Buddhism in consequence of the terms of the Convention enjoyed the same position as the Anglican Church in England. But even after 1948 not only was this fact ignored but attempts to marginalize Buddhists in the State sector, in the armed forces and elsewhere continued as before.

Mettananda noticed that the Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake’s Government was neither prepared to give Government patronage to Buddhism as in the pre-colonial days nor was it keen to give to the Buddhists the same rights the Christians enjoyed in all spheres of society. Had the UNP rulers been far-sighted enough to enforce at least the latter policy this country would have been spared of the many upheavals that followed. It is very unfortunate that UNP election manifestos failed to focus on the restoration of the rights of the majority which were trampled en masse by the British Raj.

In contrast the Indian Govt. soon after independence passed special laws to change all discriminatory policies that the British colonialists had set in motion and implemented.

When a team led by Professor Gunapala Malalasekera proposed to D.S. Senanayake the need to establish a Buddhist Commission the Prime Minister at first agreed to accede to the request but subsequently backed out, saying that it would be a violation of the Soulbury Constitution. But it was really the pressure from the Catholic Church – a strong supporter of the then government – that made Senanayake change his mind.

Consequently the Buddhist leadership had no alternative but to appoint a Commission of Inquiry themselves to probe into the continuing system of education and other areas that denied Buddhists their rightful place. Unlike today, Sri Lanka in the 1950s had a strong lay Buddhist leadership that campaigned relentlessly against the powerful anti-national elements that relegated the island’s traditional religious values and Sinhala language virtually to the dustbin.

A Buddhist Committee of Inquiry was established by the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC) on April 2, 1954 in accordance with the resolution adopted at the 33rd annual conference of the ACBC held at Kegalle on December 27, 1953.

The `Buddhist Commission’ as it came to be popularly known, held its sittings throughout the length and breadth of the country beginning at Ratnapura on June 26, 1954 and concluding at Anuradhapura on May 22, 1955. It gathered evidence from organizations and individuals representing all sections of Buddhist society.

In addition to Prof. Malalasekera and L.H. Mettananda, the Committee comprised the Venerable Abanwelle Siddhartha, Ven. Haliyale Sumanatissa, Ven. Balangoda Ananda Maitreya, Ven. Palonnaruwe Vimaladhamma, Ven. Madihe Pannaseeha, Ven. Henpitagedera Gnanaseeha, Prof. G.P. Malalasekera, P.de S. Kularatne, Dr.Tennekoon Wimalananda and D.C. Wijayawardena. But the chief responsibility of preparing the report lay with Mettananda. It was presented to the Maha Sangha at Ananda College, Colombo on February 4, 1956.

That year while Sir John Kotalawala’s UNP government was dawdling over the Committee’s proposals, the MEP (Mahajana Eksath Peramuna) comprising the SLFP and several other Opposition parties endorsed the recommendations, thus paving the way for S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike’s electoral victory that became a watershed in the country’s history,

An abridged English version of the report was published under the title, The Betrayal of Buddhism. After recording in detail the injustices done to Buddhists laity and clergy since the Western colonial occupation right through the immediate post independence years, the report noted the following in its concluding chapter titled ‘Tolerance’:

“Almost every page of this report bears witness to the extent and duration of Buddhist tolerance (in the colonial era). And yet fully eight years after this country is alleged to have gained independence, when Buddhists ask for some of that justice which has been denied to them for centuries, they are characterized as a truculent majority and asked to show tolerance. By a flagrant disregard of historical fact and contemporary reality, the Buddhists are made to appear in the light of domineering tyrants…”

Amazingly this allegation is repeated even today – over five decades after the report was first published – by those who want to conceal some of the root causes of the crisis facing Sri Lanka.

He was also the leader of the Bauddha Jathika Balawegaya (Buddhist National Force) then popularly known as the BJB, and the Dharma Samaja Party. However, the failure to build up this party as a national political movement created a vacuum that unfortunately paved the way for the rise of JVP militancy.

Giving evidence before the Press Commission appointed by the Sirima Bandaranaike Government in 1963, Mettananda and other members of the BJB, vehemently condemned the anti-Sinhala and anti-Buddhist stance of so-called national newspapers. At the same time they expressed their strong opposition to the government takeover of any newspaper company. The BJB under Mettananda published a tract called ‘Catholic Action in Sri Lanka’ which proved vital reading soon after the abortive Army Officers Coup in January 1962.

Mettananda was the first educationist who proposed to the Official Languages Commission that every Sri Lankan child should be given the opportunity of becoming proficient in all three languages – Sinhala, Tamil and English. His desire was to see that we become a 100 percent English speaking population – in addition to proficiency in our native tongue.

Commemorative Postage Stamp

L.H. Mettananda passed away in Colombo at the age of 73, on November 1, 1967. Addressing a ceremony held at Ananda College, in October 2006 to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Buddhist Commission Report, Speaker of the House W.J.M. Lokubandara called upon the UNP to have a fresh look at the 50-year-old Buddhist Committee report. There are lessons to be learnt from it – he said -since many of the points raised in the report are valid now as then.

Many lesser personalities have been honoured for much lesser achievements. The least the State can do as a posthumous farewell tribute to Mettananda is to issue a commemorative postage stamp in his honour. The old boys of Ananda College which Mettananda steered as its Principal should ensure that this duty is discharged by the State.

Constitution making would not be delayed: PM

May 21st, 2017

 Courtesy The Daily Mirror

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday that he had informed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other world leaders that the constitution-making process would not be delayed.

He said this at the opening of the new District Secretariat Office in Mannar and underscored the fact that Mr. Modi and other world leaders including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had hoped Sri Lanka would resolve the national question through a constitutional process.

“Prime Minister Modi discussed this matter with me, President Maithripala Sirisena, the Leader of the Opposition and with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. I told Mr Modi that the steering committee of the Constituent Assembly will submit their report within in two months to be followed by enacting the new constitution after discussions,” he said. “We cannot drag the constitution-making process anymore. President Sirisena was elected in 2015 to fulfil this purpose.”

He said economic development would include the North as well, when permanent peace was established in the area with a fair proportion of power devolution.

“This is a time when Sri Lankans are commemorating those who died during the armed conflict. Those on both sides of the divide are Sri Lankans. However, the important factor is to ensure that there won’t be another war in the future,” the Prime Minister said.

Industries and Trade Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said it was important to include the North in the Government’s development plans and that the northern people should also enjoy the benefits of GSP plus which the country re-gained yesterday.

Deputy Chairman of Committees, MP Selvam Adaikkalanathan said issues pertaining to resettlement and employment should be addressed by the government. He said President Sirisena has been invited to visit the North on another day other that on the day tha war heroes were being commemorated. (Yohan Perera)

– See more at: http://www.dailymirror.lk/article/Constitution-making-would-not-be-delayed-PM-129291.html#sthash.qT2XNI3I.dpuf

දොවාල් දෙවියො

May 21st, 2017

නලින් ද සිල්වා

මෝදි ලංකාවට ඇවිල්ල කරපු ප්‍රධාන ම කාර්යය තමයි මහින්ද හා ගෝඨාභය හමුවීම. ඊළඟට දික්ඔය දෙමළ ජනතාව ඇමතීම. ඊනියා ජාත්‍යන්තර වෙසක් දිනය අප රැවටීමක් හා රැවටීමක් පමණයි. කෝ එහි සමාප්ති උත්සවයට පැමිණි නේපාල රාජ්‍ය නායිකාව. ඇය තවම ලංකාවේ ද? ප්‍රබුද්ධ ජනමාධ්‍යවේදීන් ඇය ඉන්දියන් පයිසෙකට ගණන් ගෙන නැහැ. මෛත්‍රිපාල ඇය හමුවන්න ඇති. ඇය මහින්ද හමු වුණේ නැහැ. ඇය ජී එල් හමු වුණෙත් නැහැ. ගෝඨාභය හමු වුණෙත් නැහැ. ඇය ගැන කිසිම ආරංචියක් නැහැ. ඊනියා ජාත්‍යන්තර වෙසක් උළෙල තවමත් සමාප්ත වුණේ නැද්ද? ප්‍රබුද්ධ ප්‍රවෘත්ති සංස්කාරකවරුන් අපට යමක් කියනවා ද? පැහැදිලිව ම ඊනියා ජාත්‍යන්තර වෙසක් උත්සවය මෝදිගේ මගෝඩියක්
මෝදි දික්ඔය කළ කතාව අන්තිම භයානකයි. අප ඒ ගැන කලින් සඳහන් කළා. ජාතික ව්‍යාපාරයෙනුත් ඒ කතාවට ඒ තරම් විරෝධයක් එල්ල වුණේ නැහැ. විදේශීය රාජ්‍ය නායකයකු වෙනත් රටක එක් ජනවර්ගයක් පමණක් ඇමතීමත් ඒ ජනවර්ගය තම රට සමග ඇති සම්බන්ධය, සංස්කෘතික සන්තතිකබව ආදිය ගැන මෙරට ජනාධිපති හා අගමැති ළඟ තබා ගෙන කීම ඇතැමුනට නම් ප්‍රශ්නයක් නොවන්නට ඇති. එය කිසිසේත් ම උතුරු පළාතේ දෙමළ නායකයන්ට කළ අවවාදයක්වත් දුන් පණිවුඩයක්වත් නො වෙයි. මෝදි තවත් උතුරක් රට මැද හදන්න ලැහැස්ති වෙනවා. මෛත්‍රිපාල හා රනිල් බලා ගෙන ඉන්නවා.
බණ්ඩාරනායක සම්මන්ත්‍රණ ශාලාවෙදි මෝදි කියා ඇත්තේ ඉන්දියාවෙ හා ලංකාවෙ ආරක්‍ෂාව බෙදා වෙන් කරන්න බැහැ කියලා. එයත් භයානක කතාවක්. එයින් කියන්නෙ මොකක් ද කියන එක පැහැදිලියි. ලංකාවෙ ආරක්‍ෂාවත් ඉන්දියාව භාර අරගෙන. වෛද්‍ය සංගමයේ අය (වෛද්‍යවරුන් නොව) අපට නිකමට කියනව ද ඔවුන් ඉන්දියාවෙ වෛද්‍ය උපාධි කීයක් පිළිගෙන තියනවා ද ඒ පිළිබඳ අදාළ ප්‍රමිති වාර්තා ප්‍රසිද්ධ කරන්න පුළුවන් ද කියා. ඉන්දියාව තම ආරක්‍ෂාව වෙනුවෙන් කියලා හමුදා එවන කොට නිවට ආණ්ඩුවටවත් බටහිර වෛද්‍යවරුන්ටවත් ඒ වළක්වන්න පුළුවන් ද?
මහින්දත් මෝදිගෙ කතා ගැන වැඩි යමක් කී බව වාර්තා වුණේ නැහැ. ඔහු ළඟදි ම ඉන්දියාවට යනවළු. අද ඉන්නේ 2009 සිටි මහින්ද නො වෙයි. එදා තිබූ එඩිතර ගතිය අද දකින්නට නැහැ.  මහින්ද මෝදි හමුවට ගියේ ගෝඨාභය හා ජී එල් පීරිස් සමග. ඒක මහින්ද මෝදි හමුවීමට  කළ ඉල්ලීමකට අනුව සිදු වූ බවයි පේන්න තිබුණෙ. ඒත් ඒක ඉන්දියාවෙ විදේශ අමාත්‍යංශෙ ඕනකමට සිද්ධ වෙච්ච දෙයක්. අද ඩේලි මිරර් පත්‍රයේ ඒ ගැන විස්තරයක් තියෙනවා. එහි සමහර දේ ව්‍යංගයෙන් කියැවෙන්නෙ.  මහින්ද ලවා ආරාධනය කරවා ගැනීමට ඉන්දියාව වෙනුවෙන් ජී එල් හා බැසිල් මැදිහත් වෙලා තියෙනවා. මහින්ද මෝදි හමුවන්න ගිහින් තියෙන්නෙ ඒකාබද්ධ විපක්‍ෂෙ අනෙක් නායකයන්ට නොදන්වා.
එතනදි තවත් වැදගත් පුද්ගලයන් දෙදෙනකු සාකච්ඡාවට සහභාගි වෙලා තියෙනවා. ඒ ඉන්දීය විදේශ ඇමති හා ජාතික ආරක්‍ෂක උපදේශක අජිත් දොවාල්. ඒ ඩොවාල් ද කියා දන්නේ නැහැ. අපි දොවාල් කියමු. ඒ දෙවොල් නම් නොවෙයි. ඒ නැතත් දොවාල් වැඩ කරන්නෙ දෙවියෙක් වගේ. ගෝඨාභයත් සහභාගි වූ සාකච්ඡාවකට දොවාල් සහභාගි වීම පසුපස බොහෝ දේ කියන්න තිබෙනවා. මේ පිළිබඳ විස්තර දි අයිලන්ඩ් පුවත්පතේ  ෂමින්ද්‍ර ෆර්ඩිනැන්ඩු සඳහන් කර තිබුණා. දොවාල් හම්බන්තොට වරායට චීනය සම්බන්ධ කර ගැනීම පිළිබඳ විරෝධය පළ කර තිබෙනවා. කොළඹ වරාය හා චීනය ගැනත් ඔහුට ප්‍රශ්න තියෙනවා. චීන සබ්මැරීන කොළඹ වරායට පැමිණීම ගැන ඒ දිනවල ඔහු විරෝධය පළ කරලා. ඉන්දියාවවත් චීනයවත් නිස්සරණාධ්‍යාශ්‍යයෙන් අපට ආධාර කරන්නේ නැහැ. චීන ගැත්තන්ට නම් චීනය වරදක් කරන්නේ නැහැ. ඒත් පහුගිය දා බෙයිජිං නුවර තිබූ එක් තීරුවයි ඒක් මාවතයි සම්මන්ත්‍රණය ආසියා කලාපයේ ආධිපත්‍යය තමන් අතට ගැනීමට චීනය මාන බලන බව කදිමට පෙන්නුම් කරන්නක්.
එයට ඉන්දියාව සහභාගි වුණේ නැහැ. රනිල් නම් සහභාගි වුණා. ඔහුට එහි එතරම් තැනක් ලැබී නැහැ. ඉන්දියාව අද බටහිර පිළේ. බටහිරයන් චීන කොලනි ගැන කියන කතා බොරු ම නොවෙයි. චීන ගැත්තන්ට නම් ඒ බොරු. චීනය හෙට බටහිර පිළේ වෙන්න පුළුවන්. දැනට චීනයට එරෙහිව බටහිරයන් ඉන්දියාවට ආධාර කරනවා. අද වෙනත් ආසියාතික රටවලට ඇති ප්‍රශ්නය චීනයටවත් ඉන්දියාවටවත් ගැති නොවී ඉත්තන් නොවී තම ස්වාධීනත්වය ආරක්‍ෂා කර ගැනීම. ඉන්දියාවෙත් චීනයෙත් ඔත්තු සේවා මේ සියලු රටවල ක්‍රියාත්මක වෙනවා. ඒ රටවල ඇතැමුන් මේ ඔත්තු සේවාවල සේවකයන්. ඇතැමුන් සේවය කරන්නෙ ඉන්දියාවෙ හරි චීනයෙ හරි ඉඳන්.
දොවාල් කොළඹ වරාය නගරය පිළිබඳවත් තම විරුද්ධත්වය එකල ගේඨාභයටත් දක්වා තිබෙනවා. ඔහුත් මෙරට සිටි ඉන්දීය මහා කොමසාරිස්ලා හා ඉන්දීය විදේශ අමාත්‍යාංශයේ නිලධාරීනුත් විවිධ අවස්ථාවල හම්බන්තොට හා කොළඹ වරාය පිළිබඳ මහින්දටත් ගෝඨාභයටත් තම විරුද්ධත්වය පළ කර තිබෙනවා. චීනයේ සහභාගීත්වය අයින් කිරීමට කියා තිබෙනවා. මෝදි දොවාල් සමග මහින්ද හා ගෝඨාභය හමු වූයේ කුමකට ද යන්න ගැන ජී එල් අපට කිසිවක් නොකිව්වත් හිතා ගන්න පුළුවන්. ජී එල් බටහිරට හා ඉන්දියාවට සේවය කරන්නෙක්. ඒත් මහින්ද ජී එල් විශ්වාස කරනවා. ඉන්දියාවත් අද බටහිර පිළේ. අද ආණ්ඩුව චීනයටත් යනවා. ඉන්දියාවට ඒක වළක්වන්න ඕන.
ඉන්දිරා ගාන්ධිගේ කාලයෙත් ඉන්දියාව මෙරට අස්ථාවර කරන්න පියවර ගත්තා. දෙමළ ජාතිවාදීන්ට අවි පුහුණුව ලබා දුන්නා. අදත් ඔවුන් ලංකාව අස්ථාවර කරන්න උත්සාහ ගන්නවා. ඉන්දියාවට උතුරු පළාතේ හා කඳුකරයේ දෙමළ ජනයාට ගෙවල් හදලා දුන්නට, ගිලන් රථ කිහිපයක් දුන්නට වෙනත් ආධාරයක් කරන් ශක්තියක් නැහැ. ඒත් ත්‍රිකුණාමලේ තෙල් ටැංකි හරහා චීනයේ එක් මාවතට (සමුද්‍ර මාවතට) අකුල් හෙළන්න ඕන. එට්කා හරහා පමණක් නොව බටහිර වෛද්‍යවරුන්ගෙ අදූරදර්ශී ප්‍රතිපත්ති හරහාත් ඉන්දියාව මෙරටට වෛද්‍යවරුන් ඇතුළු වෘත්තීයකයන් එවන්න කටයුතු කරාවි. සමුද්‍ර පාළම තනා අප ඔවුන්ගේ කොටසක් බවට පත්කර ගන්න උත්සාහ කරනවා. මෝදිටත් දොවාල්ටත් අවශ්‍ය මහින්ද හා ගෝඨාභය චීන බලපෑම්වලින් ඉවත් කරන්න. ඒ අතර ව්‍යවස්ථාව සම්පාදනය කර දෙමළ ජාතිවාදීන්ට කප්පන් දීමට මහින්ද හවුල් කර ගැනීමට. හැකිනම් මහින්ද හා ගෝඨාභය දේශපාලනයෙන් සම්පූර්ණයෙන් ඉවත් කිරීම. ඒ සඳහා ඔවුන් දෙදෙනාට බල කිරීම. ජී එල් ඉන්දියාව හා බටහිර වෙනුවෙන් ඒ කාර්යය කරනවා.
අද අවාසනාවකට රටේ ස්වාධීනත්වය ආරක්‍ෂා කර ගනිමින් ඉන්දියාවට හා චීනයට එක්වර මුහුණ දිය හැකි දේශපාලනඥයන් අපට නැහැ. අද ඔවුන් දන්නේ රටේ කොටසක් චීනයට දීමටත් අනෙක් කොටස ඉන්දියාවට දීමටත්.

 

නලින් ද සිල්වා

2017 මැයි 20

රොයිටර් ගේ චීන කොළණිය

May 21st, 2017

වරුණ චන්ද්‍රකීර්ති ෴

1977 අවුරුද්දේ යුනෙස්කෝ සංවිධානය කොමිසමක් පත්කළා. ඒකේ ලොක්කා විදිහට පත්කළේ 1974 දී නොබෙල් සාම තෑග්ග දිනාගත්ත ශ්වොන් මැක්බ්‍රයිඩ් ව. මේ කොමිසම පත්කරන්න හේතුවුනේ ඇමෙරිකානු ජනපද සංගමයත් බ්‍රිතාන්‍යයත් ප්‍රංශයත් මුල්කරගත්ත ප්‍රවෘත්ති ඒකාධිකාරියට විරුද්ධ ව ඇතිවෙච්ච කලබලය.

මේ කලබලය ගැන කියන්න කලින් තව පොඩි කාරණයක් පැහැදිළිකරන්න ඕන. යුනයිටඩ් ස්ටේට්ස් ඔෆ් ඇමෙරිකා කියන එක සිංහලෙන් කියන්න ඕන ඇමෙරිකානු ජනපද සංගමය කියලා නෙවෙයි ද? සෝවියට් සංගමය කියලා එකකුත් තිබුණානේ. ඉතින් ඒ හින්දා මේක අපිට ආගන්තුක යෙදීමක් වෙන්න විදිහක් නෑ. ඇමෙරිකා එක්සත් ජනපදය කිව්වා ම ඒකෙන් කියැවෙන්නේ එක ජනපදයක් ගැන. ඒත් තියෙන්නේ ජනපද පනහකුයි තව තව මොනවා ද ගොඩකුයි එකතුවෙලා හදාගත්ත සංගමයක්නේ. ඉතින් ඒකට අපි ඇමෙරිකානු ජනපද සංගමය කියමු.

ඇසෝසියේටඩ් ප්‍රෙස්, රොයිටර්, ප්‍රංශ පුවත් සේවය තමයි ලෝකයට ප්‍රවෘත්ති බෙදන වැඩෙන් සියයට 80 කට ම වගකියන්නේ. මේ කතාව ලේසි කරගන්න ඕන හින්දා අපි මේ අයට රොයිටර්ලා කියලා කියමු. අපේ රටවල් ඇතුළේ සිද්දවෙන දේවල් ගැන නම් ප්‍රවෘත්ති ලියන්නේ අපේ ම අය. ඒත් අපේ හපන්කම් මේ දේශසීමාවලින් එහාට යන්නේ නෑ. අපි ගැන ලෝකයට කියන්නේ රොයිටර්ලා. අනෙක් රටවල්වල වෙන දේවල් ගැන අපිට කියන්නෙත් රොයිටර්ලා. ඉතින් මේ කාරණයට විරුද්ධ ව තමයි මුලින් කියපු කලබැගෑනිය ඇතිවුනේ. ඒ කලබලේ ඉහළින් ම සාකච්ඡා කෙරුණේ කොළඹ දී. ඒ, 1976 නොබැදි රාජ්‍ය නායක සමුළුව පවත්වපු වෙලාවේ. ඉතින් ඒ කලබලය මුල්කරගෙන පත්කරපු මැක්බ්‍රයිඩ් කොමිසම 1981 දී වාර්තාවක් නිකුත්කළා. ඊට පස්සේ? ඊට පස්සේ මොකුත් නෑ.

අදටත් අර පරණ විදිහ ම තමයි. අන්තර්ජාලය තිබ්බත්, ෆේෂ්බුක් වගේ සමාජ ජාල සෙල්ලම් තිබුණත් ඒවා හරහා පැතිරෙන්නෙත් රොයිටර්ලා කියන දේවල් ම තමයි. ඉතින් අපි බාහිර ලෝකය ගැන දැනගන්නේ, තේරුම්ගන්නේ රොයිටර්ලා ගුලිය අඹරලා දෙන විදිහට තමයි. උදාහරණයක් කියමුකෝ. මේ ලෝකයේ වැඩියෙන් ම වායු දූෂණය තියෙන නගරය මොකක් ද කියලා මේ ලිපිය කියවන පාඨකයන්ට තමන්ගෙන් ම අහන්න පුළුවන්. අතිබහුතරයක් කියාවි චීනයේ පෙයි-චිං කියලා. මොකද රොයිටර්ලා ඒ ගැන දවල් රෑ නැතුව කියනවා. ඒත් වායු දූෂණය ගැන 2015 අවුරුද්දේ ලෝක සෞඛ්‍ය සංවිධානය නිකුත්කරපු වාර්තාවෙන් පෙයි-චිං නගරයට දීලා තිබුණේ 59 වැනි තැන. ඒ වාර්තාවේ මුල් තැන දිනාගෙන තිබුණේ නවදිල්ලිය. ඒත් ඒ ගැන රොයිටර්ලා කියන්නේ නෑ. ඉතින් අපිට දැනගන්න විදිහකුත් නෑ.

චීනයයි ජපානයයි අතර සෑහෙන්න ආරවුල් තියෙනවා. තායිවානය පේන මානයේ තියෙන තියාඕ-යූ දූපත් සම්බන්ධ ආරවුලත් ඒ අතරින් ප්‍රධානයි. 2012 අවුරුද්දේ මේ කලබලේ බොහොම සද්දේට නැගලා ගියා. අපේ ආණ්ඩුවේ ඉංග්‍රීසි පත්තරේ පෙරලා පෙරලා ඒ කලබලය වාර්තාකරලා තියෙන හැටි මේ ලේඛකයා හෙව්වා. මොකද ඒ කාලේ තිබුණු ආණ්ඩුව චීනයත් එක්ක බොහොම ඇයි හොඳයිකම් පැවැත්වුවානේ. ඒත් ඒ පත්තරේ මේ ආරවුල ගැන පළකරපු හැම වාර්තාවක් ම ලබාගෙන තිබුණේ ප්‍රංශ පුවත් සේවයෙන්. ඒ අයගෙන් මිසක් ශින්-හුවා එකෙන් ප්‍රවෘත්ති ගන්නේ නෑ කියලා ගිවිසුමක්වත් තියෙනවා ද දන්නේ නෑනේ. ඉතින් ඒ ගැනත් මේ ලේඛකයා හෙව්වා. එහෙමත් නෑ. ශින්-හුවා එකෙන් ගත්ත ඒවාත් ඒ පත්තරේ පළකරලා තිබුණා. හැබැයි ඒ වෙන වෙන ප්‍රවෘත්ති. ඉතින් අපි තියාඕ-යූ දූපත් ආරවුල ගැන දැනගත්තේ රොයිටර්ලාගෙන්.

දැන් දැන් අපේ රටේ චීන කොළණියක් හදන බවට කතාවක් තියෙනවා. චීන්නු ආයෝජනය කරන්නේ අපේ රටේ විතරක් නෙවෙයිනේ. ඉතින් මේ වගේ ම කතා තව තව රටවල්වලත් පැතිරෙනවා. පැරැණි සේද මාවත් මුල් කරගෙන ආරම්භ කරලා තියෙන “මාවතක් හා තීරයක්” වැඩපිළිවෙලට ලෝකයේ රටවල් හා ප්‍රදේශ 65 ක් සම්බන්ධ කරගෙන තියෙනවා. පැරැණි මුහුදු සේද මාවතේ සන්ධිස්ථානයක් හින්දා අපේ රටත් මේ වැඩේට හවුල්. මේ වැඩේ ගැන රොයිටර්ලා කියන දේවල් ඇහුවොත් නම් පෙනෙයි චීන්නු ලෝකය පුරා ම යටත්විජිත හදන බවක්. ඒත් ඒක ද මේ වෙන්නේ?

දැනට ලෝකයේ වැඩි ම විදේශ විනිමය සංචිත තියෙන්නේ චීනයට. ඒ ප්‍රමාණය ඩොලර් ට්‍රිලියන තුනකටත් – ඒ කියන්නේ ඩොලර් බිලියන තුන්දාහකටත් වඩා වැඩියි. මේ විදිහේ සල්ලියක් ලෝකයේ වෙන රටකට නෑ. රටේ දළ ජාතික නිෂ්පාදනය වගේ දෙගුණයකටත් වඩා – සියයට 250 කටත් වඩා; ජපාන ආණ්ඩුව ණය වෙලා. ජපානය කියන්නේ ලෝකයේ තුන්වැනියාට දළ ජාතික නිෂ්පාදිතය තියෙන රටනේ. ඉතින් ඒ ආණ්ඩුවේ ණය බර ගැන අපිට හිතාගන්න පුළුවන්. ඉතින් හුඟක් දියුණු රටක් වුනාට ලෝකේ වටේ සල්ලි ආයෝජනය කරන්න පුළුවන්කමක් ජපන් ආණ්ඩුවට නෑ. ඉන්දියාව කියන රටේ රාජ්‍ය ණය නම් එච්චර ලොකු නෑ. දළ ජාතික නිෂ්පාදියෙන් සියයට 70 ක් විතර ඇති. ඒත් චීනයේ තරමට ම ජනගහනයක් ඒ රටේ ඉන්නවානේ. ඒ වුනාට, ඒ රටේ දළ ජාතික නිෂ්පාදිතය චීනයේ ප්‍රමාණයෙන් පහෙන් පංගුවක් විතරයි. ඉතින් ලොකුවට සද්ද බද්ද කළාට මේ අය ළඟ එහෙමකට සල්ලියක් නෑ.

ඉතින් ඉන්දියාවේ තියෙනවා වගේ අට ගුණයක් විතර විදේශ විනිමය සංචිත තියෙන චීන්නුන්ට ඕන ඒ සල්ලි කොහෙ හරි ආයෝජනය කරන්න. වැරැදිලා හරි අපි ළඟ ලොකු මුදලක් ඉතුරුවුනොත් අපි වුනත් කරන්නේ ඒ සල්ලි පැටව් ගස්සවන විදිහක් හොයන එකනේ. අපේ සමහරු සක්විතිලා පස්සෙ පවා ගියානේ. “මාවතක් හා තීරයක්” වැඩේ හරහා කෙරෙන්නේ මේ ආයෝජන වැඩේ. මේ විදිහට කරන ආයෝජනවලින් අපේ රටට ලැබුණු ලොකු ම දේ තමයි කොළඹ වරාය නගරය හදන වැඩේ. ඒකට ආයෝජනය කරන්නේ අර කියපු ඩොලර් බිලියන තුන්දාහකටත් වැඩි සංචිතවලින් ඩොලර් බිලියන 1.5 ක් විතර මුදලක්. ඒ කියන්නේ චීන්නු ළඟ තියෙන විදේශ විනිමය සංචිතවලින් කොළඹ වරාය නගරය වගේ ඒවා දෙදාහක් විතර හදන්න පුළුවන්!

මේ විදිහට ආයෝජනය කරන්න හදන සල්ලිවලින් අපිට වැඩක් ගන්න බැරි ද? ඇයි අපි චීන කොළණි කතා කිය කියා ඉන්නේ? පකිස්ථානයේ හදන ආර්ථික මාවත කියන ව්‍යාපෘතියට චීන්නු ආයෝජනය කරලා තියෙන මුදල ඩොලර් බිලියන 46 ක්. ඒ කියන්නේ, වරාය නගර තිහක් හදනවා තරම් ලොකු මුදලක්. ඒත් පකිස්ථානයේ ඇතුළේ වැඩවලට ඇඟිලි ගහන්න අල්ලපු වත්තේ ලොක්කාට බෑ. ජපානය වුනත් ඒ ගැන මොකුත් කියන්නේ නෑ. ඉතින් පකිස්ථානයේ චීන කොළණියක් හදනවා කියලා කියන කෙනෙක් නෑ. ඒත් අපේ රටේ එහෙම නෙවෙයි. අපේ රටට ආවොත් එළුවෙක්ට වුනත් රැවුල කපාගෙන යන්න පුළුවන්.

වැදගත් ම කාරණේ තමයි මේ ආයෝජන සෙල්ලම්වලට පිටපත් ලියන්නේ කවුද කියන එක. කවුද මේවාට ඕන කරන සැලසුම් හදන්න ඕන? චීන්නු ද? නෑ! අපේ රටට ඕන ආයෝජන මොනවා ද කියලා තීරණයකරන්න ඕන අපි. ගෙයක් හදන්න සල්ලි නැතිනම් අපි බැංකුවලින් ණය ගන්නවානේ. හැබැයි ගෙදර පැලෑන අදින්නේ බැංකුවෙන් නෙවෙයි. ඒක කරන්න ඕන අපි. කලින් ලිපියෙන් කියපු විදිහට මහවැලිය හදන්න අපිට සැලසුමක් තිබුණා. ඒක කරන්න ඒ කාලේ හැටියට නම් සමහර රටවල් ආධාර උපකාර කළා. එහෙම කවුරුවත් සල්ලි දෙන්නේ නැති වුනා ම අපි ණය ඇරගෙන ඒ සැලැස්ම ක්‍රියාත්මක කරනවා. සැලැස්ම අපේ – සල්ලි ඒ අය ගේ.

හැබැයි ආයෝජනය කරනවා කියලා කියන්නේ පිනට සල්ලි දෙනවා කියන එක නෙවෙයිනේ. අපි වුනත් සල්ලියක් යටකරන්නේ ප්‍රතිලාභයක් බලාගෙන. ඉතින් මේ “මාවතක් සහ තීරයක්” වැඩපිළිවෙල චීන්නු හඳුන්වන්නේ වින්-වින් වැඩක් කියලා. ඒ කියන්නේ, මේ සල්ලිවලින් අපිටත් යමක් ලැබෙනවා. ඒ අයටත් යමක් ලැබෙනවා.

දැන් බලපු බලපු තැන චීන්නු ඉන්නවානේ කියලා කාට හරි කියන්න පුළුවන්. ඒක ඇත්ත. මොකද ඒ බව අපිට පේනවානේ. මේ ළඟ දී එක හාදයෙක් කසිප්පු පෙරලාත් අහුවුනේ. හැබැයි අපිට පේන්නේ නැති කට්ටියකුත් මේ රටේ ඉන්නවා. ඒ, ඉන්දියාවෙන් ඇවිල්ලා අපේ රටේ වැඩකරන අය. ඒ ප්‍රමාණය ලක්‍ෂ දෙකකටත් වඩා වැඩියි කියලයි කියන්නේ. අක්කරපත්තුව දිහා කුඹුරු කපන වැඩ පවා කරන්නේ ඒ මිනිස්සු. එක දවසක් මේ ලේඛකයා ගිය බස් එකට ගිරිඋල්ල නගරයෙන් ටිකක් අමුතු පෙනුමක් තියෙන හාදයෙක් ගොඩවුනා. මේ ලේඛකයා ළඟමයි වාඩිවුනේ. ඉතින් ටිකක් කතාකරලා බැලුවා. මනුස්සයා ඒ පැත්තේ කඩේක වැඩකරන කෙනෙක්. කැඩිච්ච සිංහල කතාකරන්නත් පුළුවන්. ඇවිල්ලා තියෙන්නේ ඉන්දියාව කියන රටේ හර්යානා ප්‍රාන්තයට අයිති ෆරීදාභාද් නගරයෙන්!

ඉතින් අපි වදවෙන්න ඕන අපේ එකෙක් නෙවෙයි කියලා ඇහැට පේන අය ගැන ද? එහෙම නැතිනම් අපෙන් වෙනකරලා අඳුරගන්න බැරි අය ගැන ද? අපි කොහොමත් ඔය කොළණි ප්‍රශ්න විසඳගත්ත ජාතියක්නේ. ඉතිහාසය පුරා ම අපි ඒ වැඩේ කරගෙන ඇවිල්ලා තියෙනවා. ඒ හින්දා දකින දකින තැන චීන්නු වැඩකරනවා දැක්කා කියලා බයවෙන්න ඕනකමක් අපිට නෑ. අපි බලන්න ඕන අපේ ප්‍රශ්න විසඳගන්න විදිහක් ගැන. ඒ වැඩවලට මේ “මාවතක් හා තීරයක්” වැඩෙන් උදව්වක් ගන්න පුළුවන් ද කියන එක ගැන. එහෙම පුළුවන් නම් අපි ඒකට පැකිළෙන්න ඕන නෑ. චීන කොළණි කතාව රොයිටර්ලා දිගට ම කියයි. ඉතින් අපිට මොකද?

දැන් අපේ කවුරු හරි අහන්න පුළුවන් මේක ලියන්න කීයක් හම්බවුනා ද කියලා. ඒක ගැනත් හොයලා බලන එක වටිනවා.

වරුණ චන්ද්‍රකීර්ති ෴

YAHAPALANA AND INDIA Part 2

May 21st, 2017

KAMALIKA PIERIS

The relationship between Sri Lanka and India has always been very uneasy. Instead of falling down and worshipping India as the creator of everything, the Sri Lankans are wary and doubtful. They know that India has regional ambitions and clearly wishes to dominate Sri Lanka. They also know that India would like to control some at least of Sri Lanka‘s important territory. Therefore certain projects are looked at with suspicion.

To start with, Sri Lankans do not welcome a physical link with India. A land bridge (‘Hanuman Bridge’) has been mooted linking Rameswaram and Talaimannar at Palk Strait. This is to be an extension of the UN-ESCAP Trans Asian Highway    which was originally going to stop at India. There would also be two roads from Talaimannar, one to Colombo, the other to Trincomalee.

There is strong opposition to this. Such a link with Tamilnadu is dangerous said one critic. It will be suicidal for our survival and integrity. There is enough coming and going already, and a bridge will only open the flood gates for more Indian nationals into Sri Lanka said another.  A   land bridge would bring a special type of malaria mosquito into Sri Lanka, said doctors. So far it has not come here.  What keeps it away is the ocean. So land bridge will help it come here.  We have eradicated malaria here.

The railway line constructed by India thorough Mannar Island does not end at the Talaimannar station but goes beyond and has been raised to marry with a possible future bridge head at Talaimannar.  The railway should have been terminated on the main land. This would have left the sea open to Sri Lanka naval movement from north to south and easy movement for other seagoing craft as well, said critics. The introduction of a rail bridge between the mainland and the island of Mannar would block this. The railway is to continue from Talaimannar to Medawachchiya, for doubtful reasons.

In 2008 there was a proposal to lay an undersea power line with submarine cable under the Gulf of Mannar. In 2010 there were plans to set up interconnection of electricity grid between India and Sri Lanka to enable Sri Lanka to source electricity from India. Critics observed that India had the world’s biggest ever electricity blackout in 2012, where three regional grids, serving half the 1.2.billion population collapsed entirely. When power transmission lines are interconnected there is a possibility of cascade failure when one major power plant trips for some reasons.  Undaunted Yahapalana said in 2017 that it plans to connect Sri Lanka’s power grid to the Indian power grid to boost power generation within the next five years.

India has always had a deep interest in the Northern Province. India   signed an agreement in 2011 to develop the Kankesanturai port and roads in Jaffna. But India’s main concern was with Trincomalee. Everybody knows this.

The Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987, signed during UNP rule, included conditions for Trincomalee .The letters exchanged between India and Sri Lanka specified that Trincomalee or any other port of Sri Lanka will not be made available for military use by any country in a manner prejudicial to India’s interest and that the work of restoring and operating the Trincomalee Oil Tanks will be undertaken as a joint operation between India and Sri Lanka.

In 2002, during the UNP government, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe, together with a team of advisors, including Chairman, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and the Minister for Petroleum industries, visited India. India wanted to take over the Sri Lankan petroleum trade, ‘lock stock and barrel’.  Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe was agreeable .However, Chairman CPC had vehemently protested against the proposal, supported by his Minister and the proposal fell through. India had failed in its attempt to grab the Sri Lankan petroleum trade in its entirety. (Island 25.4.17 p 9)

But in the same year, 2002, the UNP government set up the Lanka India Oil Corporation (LIOC), a subsidiary of Indian Oil Corporation, and handed over one-third of the petroleum business in Sri Lanka to LIOC. Thereby removing the monopoly enjoyed by the CPC. It was done by a cabinet paper without any competitive bidding process. LIOC thereafter started a string of fuel stations countrywide and provided marine bunkering at Trincomalee   and Colombo. In 2016, LIOC owned 189 filling stations in the country LIOC made a profit of 4.73 billion in 2014-2015. The profits go to India, because 75% of the shares are held by India Oil Corporation.

No assessment has been made whether there was any real economic benefit gained by LIOC coming into Sri Lanka, said critics. ‘All that happened was that 100 of the best filling stations were given to LIOC for USD 35 million’ Critics also observed that the price of oil  declined these last few years and the profit from one litre of diesel increased from Rs. 5 to Rs. 39. LIOC made an additional profit of over Rs. 8 billion. This windfall profit had not taxed by the government.

In 2003, the UNP government divided up the operations of the CPC into three segments. One was sold to Indian Oil Company, and one was kept with the Treasury to be sold to some other party in the future.  The CPC was left with the remaining one third. The sale of distribution rights to Indian Oil Company was ‘the biggest disaster to CPC’, said critics.  The Indian Oil company only paid USD 40 million though 70 million was promised.  In 2004, the government tried to sell the Treasury one third to Bharat Petroleum .  There were strong objections from the CPC and trade unions, the sale was stopped and CPC succeeded in getting that one third also back to the CPC. If that sale had taken place, India would have   controlled our oil distribution.

The UNP government thereafter set up a company called Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals Ltd (CPSTL) for oil storage and distribution, using CPC pipeline network.  The Muthurajawela and Kolonnawa storage facility and 11 depots went to this company. One third of the company was sold to LIOC for USD 15 million, while the CPC owns the remaining two thirds.  The oil brought by LIOC as well as the CPC was distributed by this company.

A large oil storage tank farm of 850 acres was built in China bay, Trincomalee by the British, during World War II, to provide diesel for Britain’s South East Asia Command ships.  Made of the best Manchester steel,  99 of these tanks, each with a capacity to hold 12,100 metric tons of oil remained in good condition. Britain retained ownership of this tank farm even after independence.   In 1957 Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike paid compensation of 250,000 Sterling pounds   and secured ownership.

The tank farm remained unused until, in 2003, CPC had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Indian Oil Company to lease the facility and the land for a period of thirty five years   on the payment of a sum of USD 100,000. This gave India a significant presence in the strategic Trincomalee port. Why was the tank farm handed over to India instead of the highest bidder? Why was it was not left in the hands of the Sri Lanka navy, critics asked.

Of these 99 tanks the IOC used only 15. Indian Oil Company had failed to execute a proper lease agreement.   The MOU became invalid after six months and India’s presence in the China Bay Tank Farm illegal. Since a formal lease agreement had never been entered into between the CPC and IOC for these oil tanks, CPC argued that the ownership and right to use these tanks still lay with the CPC. He stated that there was an unresolved issue as to whether the lease of the 14 oil tanks to the IOC was legal at all. Petroleum trade unions agreed. Supreme Court was petitioned   to declare that the China Bay Installations and the adjoining land held by the LIOC is illegal and arbitrary.

Petroleum officials also said that Lanka IOC had violated the agreement. According to the agreement, the LIOC is entitled to market only 1/3rd of 5% of total throughput via China Bay Tank Farm. The pricing formula for petroleum products is based on products being imported through the Colombo Port and marketed via the Common User Facility of the CPSTL. Some of the costs included in the pricing formula do not apply for operations through the China Bay Tank Farm and some costs are lower. For example Jetty and pipeline charges and Port Development Levy are not applicable to the China Bay Tank Farm. Several other items, disadvantageous to Sri Lanka can be highlighted if necessary, said the former Chairman/Managing Director, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. (Island 25.4.17 p 9)

On 6th December 2016, Cabinet approved the proposal that the oil tanks used by India be vested totally with the CPC, three of them to be taken over immediately and the rest within three months.  When CPC engineers visited the China Bay Tank Farm to implement the Cabinet decision, they were locked up. Four officials, including a deputy manager had been held captive by officials of the Indian Oil Company (IOC). They had been locked up for about one hour. The two vehicles the officers had come in had also been held by the IOC officials

Senior vice chairman of the Indian Oil Company complained to the police that the CPC officials had been given permission to enter the area only on one particular day, December 28th, but the officials had come on the 29th. So they were trespassing. There was a bilateral agreement and no one was allowed to enter the site without the permission of higher officials.

In the meantime, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe  had   submitted a Cabinet memorandum  on December 6, 2017 requesting the Cabinet to withdraw the earlier decision and  give approval to hand over the China Bay Tank Farm to a joint venture between the CPC and the LIOC.   He stated that the government had decided to overcome disputes on the lease agreement of the tank farm with a new agreement.

Prime Minister informed Parliament in March 2017 that a policy decision had been made to develop Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm as a joint venture between the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and the Lanka IOC. 50 percent shares will be held by the Government of Sri Lanka. The land of the Upper Tank Farm, which is currently in possession of Lanka IOC PLC, is to be leased to this joint venture by Lanka IOC. Ten tanks in the Upper Tank Farm will be reserved for the exclusive use of Sri Lanka. The land of the Lower Tank Farm, which is also in possession of Lanka IOC, will be leased to Lanka IOC directly.  Yahapalana government stated that it is only leasing these tanks, not selling them. The period of all the leases will be 50 years, extendable up to a maximum of 99 years.

It was pointed out, by Yahapalana, that the Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm is a national asset which was left to decay. Is it our duty to leave such a national asset to gather rust or to make use of them to develop our country?  It is a crime to leave such an asset to the elements, babbled Yahapalana. There would be a huge demand for oil in the next 50-60 years in India. Our plan is to make use of this storage facility to enable the CPC to enter the Indian market. We plan to export oil to India, while catering to our domestic needs as well. Now who in Sri Lanka can object to that?

When the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation gets 10 oil tanks for exclusive use, continued Yahapalana. Sri Lanka will have a guarantee of more oil stocks. ‘All this time, we had only a stock which is enough for 10 days. Once the facility is jointly developed, we will be entitled to 50 percent of the joint venture company, which is involved in both storage and sale of oil, We will not only be able to sell oil stocks within the country but outside as well.’

Critics did not agree. The proposed agreement will only benefit the IOC and will help the Indian Oil Company to expand further in the island, they said. Petroleum trade unions threatened to strike against the Memorandum. The underlying purpose of the MoU, said critics was to iron out any shortcomings in the paperwork that was done between the Sri Lanka and India when the UNP was in power in 2003 and to fully legalize India’s hold over this prime asset and the land it stands on.  Also, up to now India only used the tanks in the lower level. Under the new agreement India gets 30 oil storage tanks in the upper level as well.

Sri Lanka can earn huge revenue from its oil tanks alone said critics, why sell to India?   The oil tank farm should be used by Sri Lanka to build up buffer stocks of fuel when prices are low without leasing it out. At present only 42 days supply of fuel could be stored in the existing facilities but if the Trincomalee oil tank farm is fully utilized, a buffer stock of four months’ supply could be built up.

Ceylon Petroleum Corporation has calculated that if the distribution of fuel to the surrounding districts is done from Trincomalee instead of Kolonnawa using these tanks, the distribution cost of fuel could be reduced by Rs 618 million a year. It takes about two weeks to unload a shipment of fuel in Colombo, but in Trincomalee the operation can be completed in one week. Hence by using these oil tanks, the CPC could save over a Rs. one billion a year.

For the past 14 years, IOC has paid lease charges of US$ 100,000 for the tank farm in accordance with the agreement even though the lease deed had not been executed by the IOC and the government due to unknown reasons, said apologists. Critics replied that IOC was paying Sri Lanka only a paltry rental. During the 15 year period it had controlled the oil tanks, the government had received Rs. 75 million as rental from the IOC and during the same period the Sri Lankan government had paid the IOC Rs 650 million for utilizing the same tanks to store oil being carried to the Jaffna peninsula during the war.

Critics noted that LIOC sells only 15% of the fuel sold in Sri Lanka, CPC handles the other 85%. LIOC does not have enough sales in Sri Lanka to justify leasing out all the  oil tanks in Trincomalee. India was entering into this agreement to  stop other countries   getting into Trincomalee. What they were after was not the oil tanks but the land on which the oil tanks stand.

The Prime Minister    obtained  the necessary approval   from Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) and the Cabinet and  entered into a MoU with India  on his visit in April 2017. Malik Samarawickrama signed  the MoU while Indian Foreign Minister represented  India. This Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka for Cooperation in Economic Projects,  was signed at New Delhi, on  26th April 2017.

The projects agreed on were  a 500 Megawatt LNG Plant in Kerawalapitiya.  50 MW (extendable to 100 MW) Solar Power Plant in Sampur. Joint investments to develop the Trincomalee Port and establish a petroleum refinery and other industries there.  Roads in Sri Lanka including Mannar-Jaffna and Mannar-Trincomalee Highways and Dambulla-Trincomalee Expressway. Upgrading  of tracks and purchase of rolling stock for railways. A Container Terminal in Colombo Port as a Joint Venture. Setting up Industrial Zones/Special Economic Zones in identified locations in Sri Lanka.

The sheer number of projects in this list is a clear indication that it was never meant to be implemented in full, said ‘Political Watch’. Many projects have been included to disguise the main target, the Trincomalee oil tank farm and the environs of the Trincomalee port.   This MOU is intended to carve out India’s sphere of influence, a geographical area which includes  Trincomalee port, the  oil tank farm, and a railway link between Mannar and Trincomalee.

The land  bridge, between Mannar and India, giving India access by land to the Trincomalee port, was also discussed  by  our Prime Minister and the Indian Minister of Transport, Gadkari. This Palk Strait Bridge will connect Mannar with Trincomalee by a highway and facilitate  India’s grand plan, complained critics.

India is also interested in the commercial use of Trincomalee.  In 2006 NTPC Ltd of India  was prepared to set up a 500 MW coal based thermal power plant in Trincomalee as a joint venture with Ceylon Electricity Board. In 2017, India and Sri Lanka  will jointly develop Trincomalee  port,  with  a petroleum refinery and other industries in Trincomalee. A joint working group will be set up to   plan this. Indian Oil Corporation was looking at the feasibility of a refinery to be run jointly with the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation . Indian Oil Corporation is  also  planning to set up its first overseas petroleum hub at Trincomalee, also an Indian LNG plant in Trincomalee. India  has  already  launched a housing project in Trincomalee

The absence of a dialogue at political level with India’s southern most states, Tamilnadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, even Maharashtra has been a major flaw in Sri Lanka’s  foreign policy, said the Editorial, Sunday Times 18.10.09  Yahapalana is going to rectify this.

Yahapalana plans to have a   separate trade  arrangements with the five southern states of India- Andhra, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. This region is a US$ 500 billion regional economy and has the prospect of even going up to a trillion US dollars. ‘There must also  be economic link between  Sri Lanka ,Gujerat and other Indian states.’   Just outside Hambantota, there is another very good block of land, closer to Galle than Hambantota. It is fully developed. We want to work on that together with the Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation, said Yahapalana   Does  Yahapalana seriously wish to tie up this country with five South Indian states including a hostile Tamil Nadu which has been supporting Sri Lanka‘s Tamil separatism for decades, asked critics.  ( Continued)

 Why one law for Sinhalese and another for Tamils by this Government?

May 21st, 2017

Sudath Gunasekara  Mahanuwra 20.5. 2017.

The Government allowed the TNA (living proxy of LTTE) headed by Sambandan Leader of Oppositio , Vigneswarana the CM, NPC and MK Sivajilingam ( Brother  in Law  of Prabhakaran) to commemorate alleged genocide against  LTTE Tigers a terrorist  outfit, who waged a war against the Legitimately elected Government of the Sri Lankan  State  for 30 years to establish a separate state within this country called EELAM. They are reported to have held these commemorations at Mullevaikal, Kilinochchci, Velvatiture and many other places. All were allowed often with even police protection.

Ironically on the other hand in Colombo the public rally organized by the Joint Committee  of National Organizations to be held at the Independence Square to commemorate the war heroes who fought and died in the war against the LTTE terrorists to liberate this country for posterity, to be presided over by the EX-President Mahinda Rajapaksa is reports to have been banned by the same Government while it has turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the  anti -Government rallies in the North. This act of treason on the part of the yahapalanaya Government of the TRIO My3, Ranil and Chandrika is just like condemning Dutugemunu and commemorating Elara.

Does it means this Government wants the LTTE to resurrect and it supports the Tamil aspiration of separation and the formation of the EELAM in the North and East, to satisfy India and the Western colonial powers that supported it in 2015 regime change and further to wipe out the Sinhala Nation and Buddhism from this land bury the them forever?

This clearly shows the ant- Sinhala and anti- Buddhist policy of this Government. The whole nation must rise against this discrimination by this Government against the Sinhala nation and the war heroes who died in war to liberate the country from the LTTE terrorists. If we don’t arrest this extremely dangerous trend the day Ranil will sell Trincommallee harbor and the 100 oil Tanks along with the 85 acres,  sign the ECTA, allow the construction of Hanuman bridge and the Mannar –Trinco super Highway the same way he conspired to bring Modi to Dikoya hood-winking the President and got him to say  what Ranil wanted and thereby killing two birds a) getting his voter base firmly established in the plantation sector and b) Modi’s aim of keeping first, the Tamilnadu politicians happy and second his long term aspiration of establishing Malayanadu, right at the center of Sri Lanka  finally leading to making this country the newest State of the Modian Indian empire.

Are the Sinhala Buddhists in this country going to keep silent until Ranil and his horde of anti-Sinhala and anti-Buddhist Colombo seven gang make their dream a reality?

Meanwhile I am asking the ordinary Tamils in the North and East  to openly question  Sambandan, Vigneswaran and Sivajilingam  as to why they did not commemorate tens of thousands of  those Tamils, including child solders forcibly recruited  and men and women  brutally murdered by the LTTE in the name of liberation  for Tamils and pushed the country’s economy by hundreds of years behind  just to satisfy their vanity and blood thirst, instead of lighting lamps to commemorate the brutal killer Prabhakaran and his criminal outfit who not only brought misery and doom to this Island Nation but also  to the Tamil community at large.

Also why don’t they get organized with other communities in the area and chase out these self- seeking mad communal politicians like Sambandan, Vignesvaran and Sivajilingam at the next elections if they truly love this country and want to have a bright future for their posterity at least, as proud citizens of this country?

No ministers to even offer almsgiving for war heroes – Dullas

May 21st, 2017

Courtesy The Island

UPFA Parliamentarian Dullas Alahapperuma today charged that thousands of disabled war heroes are suffering in the country and that none of the current Cabinet Ministers remembered to even offer an almsgiving on their behalf.

However, they very eagerly gave the opportunity for the people in the North to remember their dead relatives, he said, speaking at a press conference held at the Abhayaramaya Temple, Narahenpita.

The former minister also condemned the alleged suppression of university students. He charged that politicians who used violence to suppress university students in the past are in the incumbent government.

Alahapperuma stated that he strongly objects to the manner in which university students engaged in the freedom struggle were attacked during a recent protest.

He stated that they also oppose the “Indianisation” of Trincomalee being carried out by the government.

OH! WHAT A MESS WE ARE IN?

May 21st, 2017

By Dr. Tilak S. Fernando

People in this country have read in newspapers, until their eye balls go hexagonal, listened to the Radio/TV discussions of various government officials, eminent intellectuals and Police spokesmen commenting, criticizing and suggesting ways and means of reducing road accidents and ever mounting traffic jams, until the listeners go deaf in their ears, but has there been any encouraging results except everyone getting emotional with ideas all the time? Sri Lanka is one of the countries inundated with umpteen numbers of rules and regulations, which have confined only to the statute book.

Towards the end of 2016, the government announced its intentions to increase heavy traffic related fines. Many seemed agitated while some applauded the move and even suggested to increase the penalty up to Rs 50,000, to save human life from road accidents.

Proverbially speaking, new brooms sweep well. Everything appeared to work like clockwork at first while motorists got alarmed, thus “lane discipline” was beginning to be a reality, with “no overtaking from the left.” However, within months, everything seems to have gone in the reverse gear, while the same old habits of “overtaking from the left” are becoming a common feature.

Bus lanes

The introduction of bus lanes was announced a few weeks ago to reduce traffic congestion. It was considered by some as a blessing in disguise to see buses ‘restricted’ to the nearside lane only. In May 2017, the Lanka Bus Owners’ Association pointed a finger at the government officials for the inordinate delay in implementing the regulation. With the announcement of bus lanes, motorists too were thrown into confusion with regard to what action they should take when they have to turn off to a side road on the left.

Finally, when bus lanes come into force there will be chaos and confusion with motorists having no option but compelling to use the bus lanes, if and when they have to turn off to their left. In such a backdrop, what actions will the traffic Police take is not crystal clear? Will there be a Police officer to monitor traffic at every junction where there is a left turn along bus lanes? Or will the motorist get a fine (dada kolaya) for violating traffic laws by driving into a bus lane, even for a few metres?

In the Sri Lankan motor scene, the majority of drivers display only a selfish attitude and never allow another to enter into the main road from a side road, or even to cross a lane after indicating properly well in advance. Only the bold and daring drivers manage to put their “nose” forward and manage. In such circumstances, rarely one comes across a courteous driver allowing another vehicle to get in front of him!

Staggered hours

In developed countries there are especially designed lanes restricted for bus and tram travel. Bus lanes in the UK operate on staggered hours (during peak traffic periods); taxis too are permitted to use bus lanes. Unlike in Sri Lanka, nowhere else in the world buses are seen overtaking vehicles in a mad rush tooting ear-splitting horns. CCTV cameras in the UK take over traffic Police or traffic warden’s responsibilities as these units are fixed onto double-decker buses also. If and when a motorist violates the bus lane regulation, a penalty notice will reach his home address within a week, with exact time of the offence and photographs of his vehicle showing clearly how the wrongdoing has been committed, supported by CCTV photographs.

24/7 special traffic plan

The latest news issued by the Police Headquarters to resolve traffic problems appears to be the introduction of another 24/7 special traffic plan covering the whole of the metropolis with the aid of private unmarked vehicles with Police officers in civvies.

If the government is serious about building a disciplined motorist society, few changes become compulsory. Firstly, fundamental regulation in the High Way Code – i.e. overtaking from the right has to be implemented to the letter. Equally, it is not going to be a simple task either with the country’s infrastructure of roads, built by Colonials, are increasingly getting overflowed with vehicles on a daily basis. Equally, vehicles parked adjacent to pavements on main roads compel drivers to hug middle and overtaking lanes. Therefore, allocation of parking bays becomes necessary prior to resolving all such problems. Due to these circumstances one cannot blame some drivers hugging the middle lane at crawling speeds or others blocking the overtaking lanes continuously. It really is a vicious circle!

Motorcyclists and tuk tuks

Motorcyclists’ belief that roads are their own domains needs to be nipped in the bud with relentless booking and heavy fines. Heavy goods vehicles and container movements need to be confined to night travel only, while motorcyclists and three wheelers should not be allowed to come to the middle of any lane and block the traffic flow.

Looking sympathetically at traffic Police, one needs to be sensible to understand that they start work at 6 a.m. and carry on non-stop till 6-7 p.m. getting baked in the scorching sun or drenched in the rain. Some vital suggestions made by several senior Police superintendents to stagger traffic Police officers’ working shifts from 6 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 2 p.m. – 10 p.m. would appear to have been regarded as ‘verbal diarrhoea’ by the policy makers. It would be interesting to note how this new 24/7 scheme is going to be effective.

Other areas

Leaving traffic problems and road deaths aside, if the government’s aim is to boost tourism, then at least the country should live up to the advertising image of a ‘Paradise Island’. In this regard remedial action to maintain cleaner streets, buildings free of indecorous and political graffiti painted by undesirable elements need to be taken into account, along with stray dogs, cattle and professional beggars.

Sri Lanka always expects and forecasts a tourist boom without concentrating on basic nitty gritty of problems, but focusing only on the foreign exchange out of tourism. The public at large has been constantly writing letters and feature articles to the editors of newspapers pointing out various weak expanses in the system where repulsion of tourists takes place rather than attraction. Some such areas highlighted are about exorbitant two-tier system of charging from tourists at prominent tourist attractions such as Sigiriya and Pinnawela. It is seen as downright discrimination. Considering the fact that extra money for maintenance for these places is vitally important, some eyebrows are raised as to where such collected funds at Sigiriya are going to, definitely not to government coffers or to the Tourist Board. (The writer is unable to confirm this though).

Public washrooms are a major issue when it comes to tourism. While astronomical charges are being levied from the public and tourists for the use of such amenities, many toilets remain absolutely below par, some without toilet paper, broken bidet showers and the worst being the unbearable stench that emanates out of urinals. Recently Kataragama came into heavy criticism for charging money out of tourists for the use of washrooms in the absence any toilet paper.

Trivial mishap

There is no point blaming the government or the Tourist Board for every trivial mishap when there are responsible government officials appointed to supervise and ensure that the system works like clockwork. Equally, it becomes the responsibility of the toilet cleaners to do an honest day’s work for the wages they earn. The big wigs by just sitting back in air-conditioned rooms in plush offices and engaging in a pecking order too will not help, instead they too have to shift their backsides, visit some of these places and inspect for themselves to understand the reality of the situation, for which supposedly they can claim handsomely, as circuit rounds.

We, Sri Lankans, are so proud of our culture and customs and keep on bragging often about our century’s old civilization, but there exists a problem whether we should encourage vulgarity along with tourism! Certainly, Sri Lanka needs foreign exchange but, should it be done at the expense of a few dollars tourists are expected to spend here? Down South beaches and some of the luxury hotel grasslands are often infested with half naked female bodies sunbathing. Hikkaduwa is the most popular area for tourists where odd white muscular pieces of humanity are often seen either scouting for boys, or shapely bonds in G-string bikinis, walking on the main road making it an entertainment and a free show for the unsophisticated villager who follows these characters in pied pier fashion, observing how white buttocks move like two rabbits in a sac! This happens despite Sri Lanka having laws to curb indecent behaviour in public places with a special tourist Police force.

“A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking”. – Dan Chaon

tilakfernando@gmail.com

පර පීඩක සමාජය

May 20th, 2017

වෛද් රුවන් එම් ජයතුංග 

ශ්‍රී ලාංකික සමාජය පර පීඩක සමාජයක් බව පෙනේ. මෙම පර පීඩකත්වය  ශ්‍රී ලාංකික සමාජය පුරා පැතිරී තිබේ. පර පීඩකත්වය මුලින්ම ආරම්භ වන්නේ පාසලෙනි. පාසල් ළමයාට අවශ්‍ය වනුයේ ආදරය , ආරක්‍ෂාව සහ මග පෙන්වීමයි. නමුත් මේ ත්‍රිත්වය දීමට නොහැකි ගුරුවරු රාශියක් අපගේ අධ්‍යාපන ක්‍රමය තුල සිටිති. ඔවුන් අධ්‍යාපනයේ නාමයෙන් ළමුන්ව වධයට පත් කරති.

මොන්ටිසෝරියේ සිටම නැතහොත් එක වසරේ සිටම ගුරුවරියන් බොහෝ දෙනකු ළමුන්ව කායික මානසික පීඩාවන්ට පත් කරති. ඉහල පන්ති වලට යාමේදී ළමයාට දරුණුව කායික වධයන් පැමිනවීමද ඔහුව හෝ ඇයව  ශික්‍ෂණය  යන පදයට මුවාවී අවමානයටද පත් කරති. ඔවුන් ගේ ආත්ම අභිමානය බිඳ දමති. මේ නිසා අපගේ පාසල් පද්ධති වලින් පිට වන  ළමුන් බොහෝ දෙනෙකු  චිත්තාවේගී අසමබරතාවයෙන් පෙලේ.  සංවර්ධිත රටවල අධ්‍යාපන ක්‍රමය සකස් වී තිබෙන්නේ පාසල් දරුවාගේ නිර්මාණශීලීත්වය ,ආත්ම අභිමානය ඉහල නැංවීම සඳහාය​. එහෙත් ලංකාවේ දැකිය හැක්කේ මෙහි විලෝමයයි.

පාසලෙන් සරසවියට යන සිසුවා තව දුරටත් පර පීඩක සමාජයේ ගොදුරක් වෙයි. සරසවියට යන නවකයා නවක වධය නම් පර පීඩාවට ලක් කෙරෙන අතර එය පසුව විශම චක්‍රයක් වී නවකයා ජ්‍යෙෂ්ඨයෙකු වූ ඔහුද පර පීඩක නවක වධකයෙකු වෙයි. තවද ඔහු නවක වධය සොඳුරු අත් දැකීමක් කියමින් පර පීඩකත්වය සාධාරණීකරනය කරයි. බොහෝ සරසවි ආචාර්‍යවරුන් ද සරසවි සිසුන්ව පාගා දමා පීඩනයට ලක් කොට  වින්දනයක් ලබති. සරසවි ආචාර්‍යවරයෙකු සමග නෝරොක් වූවහොත් උපාධිය ලබාගෙන ඉවරය​. පන්න පන්නා පලි ගැනීම දක්නට තිබේ.

විශ්ව විද්‍යාලයෙන් පිටවන උපාධිධරයා බොහෝ විට රජයේ සේවයට එක්වේ. රජයේ සේවයේදී ඔහුගේ පරපීඩක මානසිකත්වය නැවතත් එලියට එයි. තම  ආයතනයේ කණිෂ්ඨයන්ට මෙන්ම සේවය ලබා ගැනීමට එන ජනතාවද පරපීඩනයට ලක් කිරීම සිදුවේ. මිනිසුන් බොහෝ දෙනෙකු රජයේ දෙපාර්තමේන්තු තුල ආයතන තුල අනවශ්‍ය ලෙස පරි පීඩනයට ලක් කෙරෙන අතර මෙම පර පීඩාවන් වසන් කර ගැනීම සඳහා බොහෝ විට ආයතන රෙගුලාසි යොදා ගැනේ. මිනිසුන් රස්තියාදු කොට සාටර් කිරීමට රජයේ ආයතන වල සිටින වධකයන් අති දක්‍ෂය​.

ලාංකිකයාගේ එදිනෙදා ජීවිතයද පර පීඩකත්වය සමග බැඳී ඇත​. නිවසේදී ගෘහස්ථ ප්‍රචණ්ඩත්වය ද මග තොටේද ප්‍රචණ්ඩත්ව තදින් තිබේ. පොදු ප්‍රවාහනයේදී කාන්තාවන්ට එදිරිව ලිංගික හිංසනය මුදා හැරේ. ලිංගික හිංසනයට ලක් නොවී  කාන්තාවන්ට බස් වල දුම්රියේ යෑම අතිශයින්ම අසීරු කරුණකි.

තැපැල් කාර්‍යාලයකට යන්න එහි කවුන්ටරයේ සිටින්නාට ඔබව පෙනෙන්නේ තමන් ගේ ඇසක් ගලවාගෙන යාමට පැමිනි අයෙක් ලෙසටය​. ලිපියක් තැපැල් කිරීමට , පාර්සලයක් යැවීමට අවශ්‍ය ගම් , කොල , කතුරු සියල්ල ඔබ නිවසින් ගෙන ආ යුතුය​. රස්තියාදුව උපරිමය​.  ප්‍රාදේශීය ලේකම් කාර්‍යාලයකට වැඩක් කරවා ගැනීමට යන්න අදිසි පීඩකත්වය තිබේ. මෙම පීඩකත්වයෙන් බේරීම සඳහා සමහරු අල්ලස් දෙති. අල්ලස් නොදී අලුතින් ගොඩ නගන නිවසක ප්ලෑන් එකක් පාස් කරවා ගැනීම අසීරු කටයුත්තකි. නැතහොත් ඔවුන් ඔබව වසර ගනනක් රස්තියාදු කරනු ඇත​.

රෝහලේදී රෝගීන් සහ ඔවුන් ගේ ඥාතීන් පිලිවලින් රෝහල් සෙකුරිටියන්ගෙන් ද , ඇටෙන්ඩන්ලාගෙන් ද , හෙදියන්ගෙන් ද අවසානයේදී වෛද්‍යවරුන් අතින් ද පර පීඩනයට ලක් වෙති. හැඳුනුම් කමක් නොමැතිව රෝහලකට ගිය විට නොතකා හැරීම , බැනුම් ඇසීම මෙන්ම රස්තියාදු කරවීමද සුලබය​. මේවා ගැන පැමිනිලි කිරීමට ශක්තිමත් ප්‍රජා අනුකූල ආයතනද නොමැත​.

උසස් නිලධාරියෙකුගේ, දේශපාලකයෙකුගේ දුරකථන පනිවිඩයකින් තොරව පොලිසියට ගිය විට අනාතය​. සරමක් හැඳගෙන ගියහොත් සංවාදය ආරම්භ වන්නේ ඕයි හෝ යකෝ කියාය​. පරපීඩකත්වය උපරිමයේදී පොලිස් ගුටි මෙන්ම ජීවිත හානියද සිදු විය හැකිය​.

හමුදාවට යන නවකයා පිලි ගැනෙන්නේ දරුණු වධයකට ලක් කිරීමෙනි. මෙම වධ දීම් පුහුණුවීමේ අංගයක් ලෙසට අර්ථ කථනය කෙරේ. සොල්දාදුවා කෝප්‍රල් අතින් ද  කෝප්‍රල් සාජන් අතින් ද සාජන් ආර්.එස් එම් අතින් ද ආර්.එස් එම් ලුතිනන් අතින් ද ලුතිනන් කපිතාන් අතින් ද   මෙසේ ඉහලට යන තෙක් අනු පිලිවෙලින් වධයට ලක් කෙරේ. සමහර විට ලිංගික හිංසනයන් ද කෙරේ.

උසාවියේදී මිනිසුන් නීතීඥයන් අතින් ද නඩු කාරයන් අතින් ද උසාවි වල සේවය කරන නිලධාරීන් අතින් ද නොයෙකුත් හිංසනයන්ට ලක් වෙති. මෑත කාලයේදී විත්තිකරුවන් ගේ බිරින්දෑවරු දූෂණය කල නඩුකාරයෝ අපගේ අධිකරණ පද්දතිය තුලින් වාර්තා විය​.

පන්සලේ පල්ලියේද පර පීඩකත්වය මුදා හැරේ. වැඩිහිටි භික්‍ෂූන් / පූජකයන් අතින් කණිෂ්ඨයෝ පහරකෑම් වලටද ලිංගික අපයෝජන වලට ලක්වීමද නිබඳව සිදුවේ. පර පීඩකත්වයට ලක්වූ භික්‍ෂූන් / පූජකයෝ ඉන් පසු සමාජයට වයිරය දේශනා කරති.

මේ අනුව බලන කල මුළු ලාංකික සමාජයේම පර පීඩකත්වය උතුරා යයි. මේ රෝගී වූ සමාජය සුවපත් කිරීම සුළු පටු කරුණක් නොවේ.

වෛද්‍ය රුවන් එම් ජයතුංග 

ශ්‍රී ලංකාව පසුකර පැමිනි සහ ඉදිරියේ දිග හැරෙන ගමන් මග

May 20th, 2017

තේජා ගොඩකන්දෙආරච්චි

සයිටම් විරෝධී උද්ඝෝෂණය සඳහා විහාර මහා දේවී උද්‍යානයට එක්රැස් වූ විශ්ව විද්‍යාල ශිෂ්‍යයන්ට යලිත් සුපුරුදු ප්‍රහාරය එල්ල විය. මේ පිලිබඳ රජයේ මැති ඇමතිවරු තම අදහස් ඉදිරිපත් කලේ මෙසේය. 

‘උසාවි නියෝගයකින් තහනම් කරල තියෙද්දි මේ වගේ විරෝධතා කරන්න ආවම පොලිසියට ‘අවම බලය’ යොදවන්න වෙනව’

‘ජනතාව තම ජන ජීවියතට බාධා කරන විරෝධතාකරුවන්ට වෙඩි තියන්න කියල ඉල්ලද්දි මේ ආණ්ඩුව ඉවසනව’ (ඒ කියන්නේ මුන්ට වෙඩි තියල දමල ඉවරයක් කරන්න තිබුන නම් කියන එකද?)

මේ සම්බන්ධව සමාජ වෙබ් අඩවිවල හුවමාරු වන විවිධ අදහස් අතර වූ, වහාම සිතට වැදෙන එක් කියමනක් දුටිමි. එහි තිබුනේ ‘රාජපක්ෂ යුගයේ මර්ධනය, රනිල් – මෛත්‍රී රජය යටතේත් දිගටම’ වැනි අදහසකි. එනම් හරියට මර්ධනය දියත් වුනේ රාජපක්ෂ රජය යටතේ පමනක් වැනිය. මට හිතෙන හැටියට මේ පාඨය ජනතා විමුක්ති පෙරමුණට සම්බන්ධ පිරිස් වෙතිනි. මෙයින් ගම්‍ය වන්නේ ඔවුන් රනිල් – මෛත්‍රී ආණ්ඩුවේ සිටින බබාලාගෙන් මෙවන් දෙයක් අපේක්ෂා නොකල බවද? වෙන්නටත් පුලුවන. මන්ද මෛත්‍රීපාල සිරිසේන ජනාධිපති කරවීම සඳහා ඔවුන්ද සෑහෙන කාර්යභාරයක් ඉටු කලහ. මෛත්‍රී සන්ධාන ගත වුනේ රනිල් ප්‍රමුඛ එජාපය සමග බවද ඔවුන් දැන සිටියහ. මෛත්‍රී ජනාධිපති වූ විගස සිදුවන දේද ඔවුන් නොදැන සිටියා නොවේ.එක්තරා කාලයකදී රනිල්ලා තමන්ට සැලකූ හැටි මොවුන්ට අමතක වීම ගැන නම් සමාව දිය නොහැකිය. දැන් ඉතින් වෙන කරන්නට දෙයක් නැති නිසා ජවිපෙ විසින් වැදගත් කරුණු දෙකක් සිහිපත් කල යුතුය. පලමු දෙය නම් රනිල් – මෛත්‍රී ආණ්ඩුවේ සිටින පිරිසෙන් බාගයක්ම වාගේ, ජනාධිපතිද ඇතුලුව, රාජපක්ෂ ආණ්ඩුවේම කොටසක්ය යන කරුණයි. දෙවැන්න රනිල්ලා හෝ සවිස්තරාත්මකව කිවහොත් එක්සත් ජාතික පක්ෂය පමනක් ආණ්ඩු කරවූ යුගයන්හිදී මොන මොනවා සිදුවීද යන්නයි. 

මෙසේ ඉතිහාසය පුරා යම් යම් තැන්වල සටහන් වූ, සන්ධිස්ථාන ගතවූ විරෝධතාවන් සහ ඒවා සමග ඈඳුනු දේශපාලන පක්ෂයන් පිලිබඳ සිහිපත් කරයි නම් නිකම්ම රාජපක්ෂලා පමනක් පෝරකයට යැවීමට තැත් කිරීම එතරම් සාධාරණ නැතැයි ඔවුන්ට වටහා ගත හැකි විය යුතුය. මෙතැනදී වරද කවුරුන් කලත් වරදක්මය. එක කොටසක් වැරදි කල පමනින් ‘අපටත් ඒ දෙයම කල හැකිය’ යන මතයේ සිටීම වැරදිය. ඒත් ජනතා විමුක්ති පෙරමුණ වරින් වර මේ එක් එක් කොටස් සමග පවත්වන ඇයි හොඳයිකම් නිසා අදාල පරිදි ඉතිහාසයේ ඒ ඒ කොටස් කපා හැර දමයි නම් එහි අයහපත් ප්‍රතිඵල බලපාන්නේ තමන්ටම බව සිහියේ තබා ගන්නේ නම් මැනවි. මේ ප්‍රතිපත්ති ඔස්සේ කටයුතු කරන ගමන් ‘උනුත් එකයි මුනුත් එකයි’ කියා තමන්ට බලය ලබාදෙන ලෙස ජනතාවගෙන් ඉල්ලා සිටින්නේ කෙසේද? එයට උන් සහ මුන් යන දෙගොල්ලන්ගේම ඉතිහාසය ජනතාවට මෙන්ම ‘තමන්ට’ද මතක තිබිය යුතුය. 

ඉතිහාසය පුරා ශ්‍රී ලාංකික ජනතාවගේ විරෝධතාවන් වරින් වර පුපුරා යනුයේ විවිධ මුහුණුවරිනි. බ්‍රිතාන්‍ය අධිරාජ්‍යවාදීන්ට එරෙහිව 1818 දී සහ 1848 දී පැන නැගුනු කැරළි කෝලාහල හැරුනවිට නිදහස් ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ පළමු මහජන විරෝධතාව ඉතිහාසයට එක් වන්නේ 1953 හර්තාලය නමින්ය. 

මේ මහජන විරෝධතාවන් වැදගත් වන්නේ එසේ විරෝධය පෑමට හේතු වූ කාරණාත්, ඒ කාරණා පැන නැගුනේ කවුරුන් විසින් කෙසේ ගත්  තීන්දු තීරණ නිසාද යන්නත් මෙන්ම, ඒ ඒ තීරකයන් මේ විරෝධතාකරුවන්ට ප්‍රතිචාර දක්වන ලද ස්වරූපයත් නිසාය. ජනතාව බහුතරයක් යම් දෙයකට විරෝධතාවයක් දක්වයි නම් එතැන ජනාවට අහිතකර වන යම් හේතුවක්ද ඇත. එබැවින් එම විරෝධතා රැලි, මර්ධනය තුලින් හෝ එකඟතාවයන් තුලින් තුනී වී ගියා නම් එ්වාට හේතුවූ කරුණු සමථයකට පත් වුනාද, තිරසාර විසඳුමක් ඊට ලැබුනිද, නැතිනම් කිසිවක් සිදු වුනේ නැත්ද යන්නත් සොයා බැලිය යුතු කරුණුය.

විරෝධතාවන්හි ඉතිහාසය ගැන සිහිපත් කිරීමේදී මුලින්ම මතකයට නැගෙන්නේ 1953 අගෝස්තු මස 12 සහ 13 දෙදින තුල සිදුවූ හර්තාලයයි. අද රාජපක්ෂ පතුරු ගැසුවත් ඒ කාලයේ ඔහු වයස 8 ක් වත් නොවූ දරුවෙකු බව සිහි තබා ගත යුතුය. ඔහුගේ පියා නම් ශ්‍රීලනිප මන්ත්‍රීවරයෙකු වූ අතර ශ්‍රීලනිපය හර්තාලයට එක් නූනත් ඊට හේතු පාදක වූ ප්‍රශ්නවලට විරෝධය පාමින් එවකට පාර්ලිමේන්තුව ඉදිරිපිට ගෝල්ෆේස් පිටියේ පැවැත්වූ මහා ජන රැළියේ කොටස්කරුවෙකුව සිටියේය. 

නිදහස් ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ප්‍රථම අග්‍රාමාත්‍යවරයා වූයේ ඩී. එස්. සේනානායක මහතාය. 1952 දී ඔහු හදිසියේ මරණයට පත් වූ පසු පක්ෂයේ නායකත්වය වෙනුවෙන් බල අරගලයක් ඇතිවිය. ඒ ඩී. එස්ගේ පුත්‍රයා වූ ඩඩ්ලි සහ ඥාති පුත්‍රයෙකු වූ සර් ජෝන් කොතලාවල අතරය. නමුත් අගමැති තනතුරට පත් වූයේ ඩඩ්ලි ය. එවකට ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ නොහොත් සිලෝන් හි අග්‍රාණ්ඩුකාර වරයා වූ සෝල්බරි සාමි මෙතැනදී ඩඩ්ලිගේ පැත්ත ගත් බවටද චෝදනාවක් එල්ල විය. ඩඩ්ලි රජයේ මුදල් අමාත්‍යවරයා වූ ජේ. ආර්. ජයවර්ධන 1952 දී සිදුවූ කොරියානු යුද්ධය පිට දමමින් එවර අයවැයෙන්, ජනතාවට අහිතකර වූ තීන්දු රැසක් ගත්තේය. ඒ අතර සහල් සහනාධාරය කපා හැරීම, සහල් සේරුවක මිළ තුන් ගුණයකන් වැඩි කිරීම, පාසල් දරුවන්ට නොමිලයේ සපයමින් තිබූ දිවා ආහාරය කපා හැරීම කැපී පෙනුනි. ප්‍රවාහන ගාස්තුද ඉහල ගියේය. මේ අයවැය තුල තදබල පහරක් වැදුනේ පහල මධ්‍යම පාංතික සහ දිළිඳු ජනතාවටය. එකලද එජාපයේ මේ ක්‍රියාවන් තුල ධනපති සහ ඉහල මධ්‍යම පාංතිකයන්ට සිදු වූ දෙයක් නොවීය. එදා තිබූ දේශපාලන අර්බුද අනුව මේවාද මොන මොන විදියේ කුමන්ත්‍රණද කියා කවුරුන් දනිත්ද?

53 විරෝධතා රැළියට පාදක වූ කාරණා මෙසේ වුවත් හර්තාලය සඳහා තවත් හේතුවක් බල පෑවේය. එයද වැදගත් වන්නේ මේ දිනවල අප 2009 දී අවසන් වූ යුද්ධය සහ රණවිරුවන් ගැන කතා කරන බැවිනි. 

මහා බ්‍රිතාන්‍යය විසින් අපේ රට ආණ්ඩු කල සමයේ තමන් ඇරඹූ කෝපි, තේ සහ රබර් වගාවන්හි කම්කරු සේවය සඳහා ඔවුන් දකුණු ඉන්දියාවෙන් ජනතාව රැගෙන ආහ. මේ වතු වැවිලි ක්ෂේත්‍රයේ සිටින දෙමළ ජනගහනය 1948 වනවිට රටේ සමස්ත ජනගහනයෙන් 11.7% ක් එනම් 780,000 ක් දක්වා වර්ධනය විය. 1948 දී බලයට පත් වූ රජයට අවශ්‍ය වූයේ මේ පිරිස රටින් ඉවත් කිරීමටයි. මේ සඳහා රජය නො. 18 දරන පුරවැසි පනත බලයට රැගෙන ආවේය. ඊට අනුව යමෙකුට ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ පුරවැසිභාවය අවශ්‍ය නම් තමන්ගේ පියාද ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ උපත ලද බව ඔප්පු කල යුතුය. මේ ඉන්දියානු සම්භවය ඇති ජනතාව මේ වන විට තෙවන පරම්පරාව වුවත් ඔවුන්ට ඒ බවක් ඔප්පු කරන්නට නොහැකි වූයේ මේ වැසියන්ගෙන් වැඩි දෙනෙක් දරු උපත් ලියාපදිංචි කිරීමේ ක්‍රමවේදයකට හුරුකර නොතිබුනු නිසාය. ඒ අනුව පුරවැසි බව ලබා ගැන්මට සුදුසුකම් ලද්දේ 1% ක පමන පිරිසක් පමනි. 53 හර්තාලයට උතුරු නැගෙනහිර ජනතාව එකතු වූයේ මේ කාරණය සලකා බලමිනි. මෙය ඉස්මතුකලේ වාමවාදී පක්ෂයක් වූ ලංකා සම සමාජ පක්ෂයයි. එය සාධාරණය. මන්ද ඒ වන විට ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ අපනයන ආර්ථිකය පූර්ණ වශයෙන්ම රැඳී තිබුනේ තේ, පොල් සහ රබර් යන වැවිලි මතය. මේ වැවිලි ක්ෂේත්‍රයේ වැඩිම බරට කර ගසා සිටියේ, පරම්පරා තුනක් තිස්සේ මේ වතු වැවිලිවල තම දහඩිය කඳුලු වැගුරූ මේ ජනතාවයි. ඉතින් වැඩ කරන ජනතාව වෙනුවෙන් හඬ නැඟූ වමේ පක්ෂවල විෂය ක්ෂේත්‍රයට මේ ප්‍රශ්නයද ඇතුලත් වීම අනිවාර්යය. 

මෙය අපේ ප්‍රශ්නයක් බවට පත් වූවත් සැබැවින්ම මේ ප්‍රශ්නය ඇතිකලේ සුද්දන්ය. මේ අසරණ මිනිසුන්ගෙන් මරව මරවා වැඩ ගත්තා මිස දරු උපතක් ලියාපදිංචි කරන්නට තරම්වත් අධ්‍යාපනයක් ලබා ගැන්මේ අවස්ථාවක් නොසැලසුවේ ඔවුන්ය. ඒ කෙසේ වුවත් මේ තත්වය දෙස සාධාරණව බැලීමේ වගකීම පැවරුනේ එවකට සිටි සිංහල පාලකයන්ට නිසා, සුද්දන් ඉදිරියේ සාමාන්‍ය ප්‍රශ්නයක් වූ මෙය අපට භාරදී ගිය පසු ජාතික ප්‍රශ්නයක් බවට පත් විය.

කෙසේ වුවද 53 හර්තාලය නිසා රජය විසින් හදිසි නීතිය සහ යුද නීතිය රට තුල ප්‍රකාශයට පත්කල අතර රටේ හතර දිග් භාගයේ පැන නැගුන කලබල නිසා 10 දෙනෙකුට වැඩි පිරිසක් මිය ගියහ. ඒ හේතුවෙන් අගමැති ඩඩ්ලි සේනානායකට ඉල්ලා අස් වන්නට සිදු වූ තර සර් ජෝන් කොතලාවල අග්‍රාමාත්‍ය තනතුර භාර ගත්තේය. මෙතැනදී මතුව ආයේ මුදල් ඇමති ජේ. ආර්. ජයවර්ධනගේ හිතුවක්කාර ක්‍රියාකලාපය සහ දෙමළ ජනතාවද ඈඳුනු පුරවැසි පනතේ වූ ගැටලුය. පසුගිය කාලය පුරාම වත්මන් මුදල් ඇමති රවි කරුණානායකගේ බදු ප්‍රතිපත්ති නිසා ජනතාව පාරට බැස්ස විටද එහි මූලික වරද රාජපක්ෂ රජය පිට පටවන්නට රජය ක්‍රියා කලේය.

මේවා එකක්වත් එකිනෙකාට වැරදි පටවමින් විසඳා ගත නොහැකිවන අතර එදා සිටම අප රටේ පාලක පන්තියට පොදු ජනතාව ගැන දැනීමක් සහ හැඟීමක් නොමැතිකම නිසා සිදුවූ සහ සිදු වන දේය.

ඊලඟට පුරවැසි පනත ඔස්සේ ඇදී ආ සිංහල දෙමළ ප්‍රශ්නය තුල, සිංහලයන් තම නිජ භූමිය තුල පදිංචි කරනවාය කියමින් ඩී එස් ගෙනගිය ගොවි ජනපද ව්‍යාපාරය විවේචනය කරමින් කරලියට ආ තමිල් අරසු කච්චි නායක චෙල්වනායගම්ලාගේ චෝදනා 1956 දී බණ්ඩාරනායක රජය විසින් සිංහලය නිළ භාෂාව බවට පත් කිරීම තුල උග්‍ර විය. එතැනදී ඔවුන් අගමැතිවරයා සමග එලැඹුන සුප්‍රකට බණ්ඩාරනායක – චෙල්වනායගම් ගිවිසුම ඔබට අන්තර්ජාලය ඔස්සේ කියවිය හැකිය. ෆෙඩරල් පාලනයක්ද, දෙමළ බසට සම තැනද, ජනපද කරනයද මෙහි අඩංගු වූ ප්‍රධාන කරුණු තුනයි. පසුව අගමැතිවරයා සහ චෙල්වනාගම් අතර සිදුවූ සාකච්ඡා තුලින් ඔවුහු යම් එකඟතාවනට එලඹුනහ. මෙතැනදී දෙමළ භාෂාව, රාජ්‍ය භාෂාවක් ලෙසත් උතුරු නැගෙනහිර පරිපාලන භාෂාව ලෙසත් පිලිගැනීමට එකඟවීම සාධාරණය. නමුත් ජනපදකරණයේදී ඔවුන් ඉදිරිපත්කල කරුණු මඳක් පරස්පර විරෝධීය. ඔවුන්ගේ යෝජනාවල තිබූ ඉඩම් නොමැති පුද්ගලයන්ට ජනපද ඉඩම් ලබා දෙනවිට ප්‍රදේශයේ පදිංචිකරුවනට ප්‍රමුඛතාවය ලබාදිය යුතුය යන්න වටහා ගත හැකිය. නමුත් ජනපද ඉඩම් නිකුත් කරනවිට ප්‍රදේශයෙන් පිටත සිටින ඉඩම් නොමැති අය ගැන සලකා බැලීමේදීද දෙමළ ජාතිකයන්ට ප්‍රමුඛස්ථානය දිය යුතුය යන්න අසාධාරණ විය. එය තම වර්ගයාට රටේ වෙනම කොටසක් වෙන්කර ගත යුතුය යන බිජු බඩේ තබාගෙන කල ජාතිවාදී සහ දේශපාලනික වූ ඉල්ලීමකි. ඔවුහු එසේ ඉල්ලන ගමන්ම ඉන්දීය සම්භවයක් ඇති ජනයා උඩරට පදිංචි කිරීම ගැනද බලපෑම් කලෝය. මෙය පරස්පර විරෝධී ඉල්ලීම්ය. 

කෙසේ වුවද එවර 1958 දී බණ්ඩාරනායක – චෙල්වනායගම් ගිවිසුමට එරෙහිව පාරට බැස්සේ ජේ. ආර්. ජයවර්ධන රජයයි. 

මේ බරපතල විරෝධතාවන්හි ප්‍රතිඵල සමස්ත ශ්‍රී ලාංකික ජනතාවම දශක ගණනාවක් තිස්සේ විඳෙව්වේ මේ ප්‍රශ්නවල ඇරඹුම හා ප්‍රශ්න නිර්මාණකරුවන්ගේ අරමුණ වටහා නොගෙන එහි අග කෙලවරේ පමනක් එල්ලෙන්නට ගිය නිසාය. වතු දෙමළ ජනතාවගේ ප්‍රශ්නයත් භාෂා ප්‍රශ්නයත් මුලට ඇදගත් ද්‍රවිඪ නායකයන් කරන්නට ගියේද නිදහසින් පසු ඉන්දියාවේ සිදු වූ ක්‍රියාවලියමය. ඔවුන් මහා බ්‍රිතාන්‍යය වෙතින් නිදහස ලබා ගන්නට එකා වන්ව සටන් කලහ. මේ සටනට ඉංග්‍රීසි භාෂාව හොඳින් හැසිරවිය හැකි සුද්දාගේ ඇවතුම් පැවතුම් දන්නා පිරිසක් ඕනෑ විය. නමුත් නිදහස ලබාගත් පසුව මේ සිංහල, දෙමළ හෝ මුස්ලිම් වර්ගයන් නියෝජනය කල ධනපති පෙලැන්තියේ අයට තමන් අතර එකෙක් පමනක් රජ කරවා ඒ රජාට යටත්ව ඉන්නට අවශ්‍යතාවයක් නොතිබුනි. සැබැවින්ම අප රටේ තිබුනේ මේ පෙලැන්ති පාලනයයි. නමුත් අද සිදුවන දේට ගිරුවාපත්තුවේ වලව් පෙලැන්තිය පමනක් වගකිව යුතු යයි කිසිවකු කිව හොත් එය සත්‍යයක් නොවේ.   තමන්ට රජ කරන්නට වපසරියක් කඩා ගන්නට නම් පහසුම මාර්ගය ජන වාර්ගිකත්වය බව ඔවුහු දැන සිටියහ.

ඉපදී මිය යන තෙක් කාලය සාමකාමීව ගත කිරීමේ අවශ්‍යතාවය ඇති සාමාන්‍ය ජනතාවට ඒ ඒ කාල වකවානුවල පත්වන පාලකයන් ඒ පසුබිම සලසා දුන්නා නම් මේ මේ ප්‍රශ්න මෙතරම් දුරදිග යන්නේ නැත. මේ ප්‍රශ්න තුල සැමදාම ජනතාව දුක් වින්දා මිසෙක පාලකයන්ට අත්වූ දුකක් නැත. 2009 දී යුද්ධයේ අවසන් අදියරේදී හෙලිදරව්වූ තොරතුරු අනුව එල්ටීටීඊ නායකයන් පවා මෙයින් නොමිදුනේ වෙයි. මන්ද ඔවුන්ද දකුණු ආසියාතික දේශපාලන ෆැක්ටරියේම නිෂ්පාදන වන බැවිනි. 

එදා මෙදාතුර සිදු වූ අරගල අතර 1971 දී සිරිමා බණ්ඩාරනායක රජයට එරෙහිව සිදු වූ තරුණ නැගිටීම (තෙැනදී 20,00 කපමන ජනතාවකට දිවි අහිමි විය), 1980 දී රු. 300 ක වැටුප් වර්ධකයක් ඉල්ලමින් ජේ ආර් ජයවර්ධන රජයට එරෙහිව කල දීප ව්‍යප්ත වැඩ වර්ජනය ( මෙහිදී රාජ්‍ය හා පෞද්ගලික අංශයේ  43,000 ක ට අධික පිරිසකට රැකියා අහිමිව ගියේය.), 1987-90 යුගයේ ජීවිත 60,000ක ට වඩා වනසමින් ඇතිවූ තරුණ නැගිටීම 1987දී මැයි රැලි පැවැත්වීම තහනම් කිරීම නිසා ඇතිවූ තත්වයන් ආදිය ප්‍රධානය. ඒ හැර සියලුම රාජ්‍ය නායකයන්ගේ පාලන සමයන්හිදී සරසවි තුල සහ ජන සමාජය තුල නැගුනු උද්ඝෝෂණ සහ විරෝධතා එමටය. එම ක්‍රියාමාර්ගයන්ට බල පෑ හේතු විසඳූ ක්‍රම සහ විධ විශ්ලේෂණය කලහොත් රාජපක්ෂගේ පමනක් නොව කාගෙ කාගෙත් කිල්ලෝටවල තිබෙන හුණු එලියට පෙනෙනු ඇත.

ප්‍රධානම දේ අප ඉතිහාසය ඉගෙන ගත යුතුය. ඒ ඈත ඉතිහාසය නොව මෑත ඉතිහාසයයි. ඒ දෙස විග්‍රහශීලීව බලමින් පසුගිය රජයත් දැන් තිබෙන රජයත් පමනක් සන්සන්දනය කිරීමේ පුරුද්ද අත හැරිය යුතු අතර මීට වඩා දුර දිග බලා වැඩ කල යුතු වෙමු. අප තවදුරටත් කාගේ හෝ අතේ නැටවෙන රූකඩ නොවිය යුතුය.

සිහින නොදකින ජාතිය ලොවැ නො නඟී!

May 20th, 2017

වරුණ චන්ද්‍රකීර්ති

දවල්ට නින්ද යන්නේ නැති ලෙඩක් මේ ලේඛකයාට තියෙනවා. මේක පොඩි කාලේ ඉඳලා ම එක දිගට ම තියෙන ලෙඩක්. දවල් නිදා නොගත්තාට හීන දකින්න බැරිකමක් නෑ. ඉතින් හොඳින් ඇස් ඇරගෙන මහ දවාලේ හීන දකින හැකියාව මේ ලේඛකයා උරුම කරගෙන. “මමත් මිනීමරුවෙක්”, “නළාවේ අයිතිය හොඳහිතට”, “බස් කඩ දෙකක් සහ දුම්රිය කඩයක්”, “දකුණු ලකේ අගනගරේ – මාගම” ලිපි කියැවූ පාඨකයන්ට මේ දුර්වලකම දැනටමත් පැහැදිළි වෙලා ඇති. ඇත්තෙන් ම මේ ලේඛකයා වගේ පුඟුලෝ දකින හීනවලින් රටට වැඩක්වෙන්නේ නෑ. ඒවා නිකම් ම නිකම් හීන විතරයි. රෑ දකින හීන නම් ඉක්මනට අමතකවෙනවා. හුඟක් වෙලාවට උදේට නැගිටිද්දිත් මතක නෑ. දවල් හීන එහෙම ම නෙවෙයි. අපිට ඒවා අමතකකරන්න ටිකක් අමාරුයි. ඒ විතරක් නෙවෙයි. ඒවා ගැන ආඩම්බරෙන් කතාකරන්නත් අපි කැමැතියි. මේ ලියන ලිපිත් ඒ ව්‍යාධියේ ම රෝග ලක්‍ෂණයක් කියලා හිතාගත්තම ඇති. කොහොම වුනත් තව තව හීන දකින්නත්, ඒවා ගැන කියන්නත්, ලියන්නත් මේ ලේඛකයා කැමැතියි.

අද ලියන්නේ හීන ගැන.

“අලුත් අලුත් දෑ නොතනන ජාතිය ලොවැ නො නඟී” කියලා කුමාරතුංග මුනිදාස මහත්තයා කියලා තියෙනවා. අලුත් දේවල් හදන්න නම් ඒ වැඩේට අදාළ සිතිවිලි පහළවෙන්න ඕන. එක විදිහකට ගත්ත ම මේ විදිහට සිතිවිලි ඇතිකරන්න එක හීන දැකිල්ලකට දෙවැනි නෑ. මුලින් ම ඒවා නිකම් ම නිකම් හීන විතරයි. හදන්න හදන දේ මේ මහ පොළොව උඩ දකින්න නෑ. ඒක තියෙන්නේ ඒ ගැන හිතන මනුස්සයා ගේ ඔළුවේ. ඊට පස්සේ තමයි ඒක ඇත්තක් කරගන්න විදිහක් ගැන හිතන්නේ. ඉතින් හරි හමන් දැනුමක්, අවබෝධයක් තියෙනවා නම් ඒ විදිහේ හීනයක් හැබෑවක් කරගන්නේ කොහොම ද කියලා හිතන්න පුළුවන්. ඉතින් මේ විදිහේ හීන දකින වැඩේ කරන්න ඕන උගත්තු. එහෙම නැතිව, මේ ලේඛකයා වගේ අය හීන දැක්කාට වැඩක් වෙන්නේ නෑ. ඒවා නිකම් ම නිකම් දවල් හීන විතරයි.

අපේ රටේ උගත්තු හීන දකින බවක් අපිට හීනෙන්වත් පේන්නේ නෑ කියලා කාට හරි කියන්න පුළුවන්. මොකද සෑහෙන ප්‍රමාණයක් ඉන්නේ සද්ද කරන උගත්තු. බොහෝ දෙනෙක් කරන්නේ රොයිටර්ලා කියන දේවල් කියවලා ඒ ගැන අපිට කියන එක කියලා වෙලාවකට හිතෙනවා. ඒ වැඩ කරන්න මේ උගත්තු විවිධාකාර සංවිධානත් හදාගෙන ඉන්නවා. නම් ගම් නොකිව්වාට ඒවා ගැන අපේ පාඨකයෝ දන්නවා.

ඔය අස්සේ මහ විප්‍රකාර වැඩකරන අයත් ඉන්නවා. දළ ජාතික නිෂ්පාදිතයෙන් සියයට 6 කට සමාන මුදලක් ආණ්ඩුවේ අයවැයෙන් අධ්‍යාපනයට වෙන්කරන්න ඕන කියලා ඒ වගේ කට්ටියක් මීට අවුරුදු පහකට විතර ඉස්සර කිව්වා. එහෙම කිව්වා විතරක් නෙවෙයි. බෝඩ් ලෑලි උස්සගෙන ඒ ගැන කිය කියා පාර දිගෙත් ගියා. ආණ්ඩුවේ සම්පූර්ණ ආදායම ම දළ ජාතික නිෂ්පාදිතයෙන් සියයට 12 කටත් අඩුයි. ගිය අවුරුද්දේ ඒක සියයට 11.5 යි. ඉතින් ආණ්ඩුවට පුළුවන් ද ලැබෙන ආදායමෙන් සියයට 50 ක් අධ්‍යාපනයට වෙන්කරන්න?

උසස් පෙළ විතරක් පාස්වෙච්ච ළමයි බෝඩ් ලෑලි උස්සගෙන පාරට බැහැලා කලබලකරනවා තමයි. ඒ ළමයි එහෙම කරන්නේ නොතේරුම්කමටනේ. තවත් අවුරුද්දක් දෙකක් ඉගෙනගෙන, උපාධියත් ඇරගෙන, රටේ තොටේ තියෙන එදිනෙදා ප්‍රශ්නවලට මුහුණදීලා සමාජයෙනුත් යමක් ඉගෙනගත්තට පස්සේ තමයි ඒ ළමයි උගත්තු බවට පත්වෙන්නේ. ඉතින් ඒ අය කරන කලබැගෑනි ගැන ඕනවාට වඩා කල‍බලවෙන්න හොඳ නෑ. ඒත් දැන උගත් අයට බෑ ඒ විදිහට හැසිරෙන්න. අපි උගත්තු කියලා කියන්නේ උසස් පෙළ පාස්වුනාට පස්සේ අපේ රටේ අවුරුදු ගානක් ඉගෙනගෙන, උපාධියකුත් ඇරන්, ඊට පස්සේ රට රටවල ගිහිල්ලා ඒ රටවල්වලිනුත් උපාධි ඇරගෙන, ඒ රටවල්වල ‍වැඩ කෙරෙන විධිත් බලාකියාගෙන ආපු අයටනේ. ඊට අමතර ව ඒ අය කසාදත් කරගෙන, ළමයිනුත් හදාගෙන, උන් ලොකු මහත්කරගන්න මහන්සිවෙන ගමන් විවිධාකාර සමාජ අත්දැකීම්වලට මුහුණදීලා ඒවායෙනුත් දැනුම්වත් වෙලානේ ඉන්නේ. ඉතින් ඒ අයට කරන්න පුළුවන් දේවල් මෙච්චරයි කියලා කියන්න බෑ.

මේ මහ පොළොවේ තියෙන හොඳ ම අධ්‍යාපන ක්‍රමය තියෙන්නේ අපේ රටේ කියලා සමහරු කියනවානේ. අපේ උගත්තු ලෝකයේ අනිත් අයට දෙවැනි නෑ කියලාත් කියනවානේ. ඉතින් අපි ඒ ගැන ආඩම්බර වෙන එකේ වැරැද්දක් නෑ. ඒත් ඇයි මේ රටේ ප්‍රශ්න ඉවරවෙන්නේ නැත්තේ? ප්‍රශ්න ඉවරවෙච්ච රටවල් කොහෙද තියෙන්නේ කියලා කාට හරි අහන්න පුළුවන්. ඒ ඉතින් විවිධාකාර අලුත් ප්‍රශ්න ඇතිවෙන හින්දානේ. මේ අපේ රටේ තියෙනවා වගේ සයිටම් ප්‍රශ්න, කුණු ප්‍රශ්න, සියයට හයේ ප්‍රශ්න වෙන රටවල්වල දකින්න අමාරුයිනේ. අපේ රටේ වෛද්‍යවරු පවා ස්ට්‍රයික්කරනවා. විශ්වවිද්‍යාලවල ළමයි සතියකට වතාවක්වත් පාරට බහින්නේ, වෛද්‍යවරු ලෙඩ්ඩු බලන එක නවත්තන්නේ ඒ ඒ වෙලාවට ඇත්වෙන ප්‍රශ්නවලට විසඳුම් නැති හින්දානේ.

ඉතින් මේ ප්‍රශ්නවලට විසඳුම් හොයන්න ඕන කවුද? හැම දෙනා ම වගේ කරන්නේ දේශපාලනඥයන්ට බැන බැන ඉන්න එක. දේශපාලනඥයෝ කියලා කියන්නේ ඒ විදිහට විසඳුම් හොයන විශේෂඥයෝ පිරිසකට නෙවෙයිනේ. ඒ අය කරන්නේ විසඳුම් ක්‍රියාත්මක කරන්න නායකත්වය සපයන එක. ප්‍රශ්න අඳුරගෙන, ඒවාට ගැලපෙන විසඳුම් හොයන එක කරන්න ඕන උගත්තු. “අපි කියන ඒවා ආණ්ඩුව කරන්නේ නෑනේ” කියලා උගත්තුන්ට කියන්න පුළුවන්. ඒත් මේ විදිහේ විසඳුම් සංවිධානාත්මක ව ඉදිරිපත්කරන බවක් අපි දැකලා නෑ. උගත්තුන්ට පුළුවන් නම් සියයට හයක් ඉල්ලලා සංවිධානය වෙන්න, ඇයි ඒ අයට බැරි මෙන්න මේ ප්‍රශ්නයට විසඳුම මේකයි කියලා සංවිධානාත්මක ව කියන්න?

“මමත් මිනීමරුවෙක්”, “නළාවේ අයිතිය හොඳහිතට”, “බස් කඩ දෙකක් සහ දුම්රිය කඩයක්”, “දකුණු ලකේ අගනගරේ – මාගම” කියන ලිපිවලින් මේ රටේ තියෙන ප්‍රශ්න කිහිපයක විසඳුම් මේ ලේඛකයා ඉදිරිපත් කළා. ඒත් ඒවා නිකම් ම නිකම් හිතලු විතරයිනේ. මේ විදිහට තමන් දකින දවල් හීන ගැන නොකියා තියෙන ප්‍රශ්නවලට විධිමත් විසඳුම් යෝජනාකරන්න අපේ උගතුන්ට පුළුවන්. ඒ වැඩේ තනියම කරන්න බැරි නම් උගතුන්ට සංවිධානය වෙන්න පුළුවන්. සංවිධාන හැදිල්ල අපිට අමුතු දෙයක් නෙවෙයිනේ. ඒක අපේ සංස්කෘතියට ආවේනික කටයුත්තක් කියලායි මේ ලේඛකයාට හිතෙන්නේ. ඉතින් අපේ උගතුන්ට පුළුවන් තව තවත් සංවිධාන හදාගන්න. එහෙම එකතුවෙලා ප්‍රශ්නවලට විසඳුම් ඉතාමත් සැලසුම් සහගත ව, සංවිධානාත්මක ව ඉදිරිපත්කරන්න. ආණ්ඩු පෙරළන, සමාජ සාධාරණත්වය ඇතිකරන, දූෂණ පිටුදකින කතා කියන අය නම් සෑහෙන්න ඉන්නවා. අපි ඒ ගැන ආඩම්බරවෙන්න ඕන. ඉතින් ඒ විදිහට ම, අපේ මිනිස්සුන් ගේ එදිනෙදා ප්‍රශ්න විසඳගන්න විධික්‍රම ටිකකුත් කිව්වා නම් හොඳයිනේ.

ඇයි මේ පොඩි ළමයි පාරට බැහැලා කලබල කරන්නේ? ඇයි හැම එකා ම දොස්තර කෙනෙක් වෙන්න දඟලන්නේ? ඇයි වැඩියෙන් දොස්තරලා බිහිවෙන එක වළක්වන්න තව කට්ටියක් මහන්සිවෙන්නේ? ඇයි අපේ ළමයි ආණ්ඩුවෙන් ම රස්සා ඉල්ලන්නේ? හොඳින් ජීවත්වෙන වෙන ක්‍රමයක් දන්නේ නැති හින්දානේ. ඉතින් මේක දැනුම පිළිබඳ ප්‍රශ්නයක්. එහෙම දැනුමක් නිකම් ඇතිවෙන්නේ නෑ. යන්න පුළුවන් පාරක් ළමයින්ට පේන්න ඕන. එහෙම පාරවල් හදලා දෙන්න දැන උගත් වැඩිහිටියෝ දැනගන්න ඕන. දැන උගත් වැඩිහිටියෝ කියන්නේ කවුද?

චීනයේ විශ්වවිද්‍යාලවලට අදාළ කරුණු කාරණා ගැන යම් ප්‍රමාණයක අවබෝධයක් මේ ලේඛකයාට තියෙනවා. මොකද මේ ලේඛකයා මේ දවස්වල ඉන්නේ චීනයේ පෙයි-චිං නුවර. ලෝකයේ වැඩි ම ජනගහනයක් ඉන්නේ මේ රටේනේ. ඉතින් මේ රටේ තියෙනවා විශ්වවිද්‍යාල 2600 ක් විතර. 2015 අවුරුද්දේ විතරක් චීනයේ විශ්වවිද්‍යාලවලින් ළමයි 68 ලක්‍ෂයක් උපාධි ලබාගත්තා. ශාස්ත්‍රපති මට්ටමේ උපාධි ලබාගත්ත ගණන ලක්‍ෂ 5 කට ආසන්නයි. ඒත් මේ එක ළමයෙක්ටවත් රස්සා දෙන්න චීන ආණ්ඩුව බැඳිලා නෑ. ඒත් චීනයේ උපාධිධාරීන්ගෙන් සියයට 92 ක් ම රස්සාකරනවා. මේක වෙන්නේ කොහොම ද? මේක වෙන්නේ මේ සමාජය විසින් රැකියා අවස්ථා ඇතිකරන හින්දා. ඒ හින්දා මේ කටයුත්ත සළකන්න ඕන සමාජයේ කටයුත්තක් විදිහට. ඉතින් ඒකට උවමනා කරන මාර්ග පෙන්නලා දෙන වැඩේ උගත්තු භාරගන්න ඕන. එහෙම නැතුව ආණ්ඩුවට බැන බැන හිටියා කියලා ලැබෙන දෙයක් නෑ.

අපේ උගතුන්ට දැනුම නෑ කියලා කියන්න බෑනේ. ඒත් මොකක්දෝ අඩුවක් තියෙන බව නම් හිතෙනවා. අපේ උගත්තු හීන දකින්නේ නැති ද? එහෙම නැති නම් දකින හීන ඇත්ත කරගන්න විදිහක් ගැන හිතන්නේ නැති ද? ඒ විදිහේ ක්‍රම ගැනත් හිතනවා නම් ඒවා විධිමත් ව ප්‍රකාශකරන්න ක්‍රමයක් හොයාගෙන නැති ද? මේ වගේ වැඩ සංවිධානාත්මක ව කරන්න අපේ අය අකැමැති ද? මෙන්න මේ ප්‍රශ්න ගැන හිතන්න කාලය ඇවිල්ලා කියලා මේ ලේඛකයාට හිතෙනවා. ඒත් තමන් ගේ හීන දැකිල්ල නවත්තන අදහසක් නම් ඔහුට නෑ.

ඒ විදිහට දැකපු තවත් හීනයක් ගැන මී ළඟ ලිපියෙන් කියන්නම්.

වරුණ චන්ද්‍රකීර්ති

Eighth  Annual Ranaviru Commemoration By United Sri Lanka Association (USLA) Wellington NZ

May 20th, 2017

Dr Chula Rajapakse MNZM Spokesperson USLA.

The 8th annual Ranaviru commemoration was observed by USLA Wellington at it’s premises in Lak Madura , Tawa  Wellington, at 7pm on the 19thof May 2017,  with over one hundred in attendance at  the packed hall.

Ms Manori Hettiarachi , President USLA, inaugurating the commemoration observed that USLA Wellington may be the only organization  world wide that had held an annual Ranaviru commemoration  without a break since Sri Lanka’s liberation from Tiger Terror eight years ago to the date and reaffirmed USLA’s commitment to continuing to do so based on  that of her predecessors and her personal commitment based on considerable family associations with the security forces.

Following the singing of the National Anthem , she led the observance of  a two minute silence in memory of the fallen heroes and invited attendees to partake of a simple candle lighting ceremony.

This was followed by the President sighting some of the many activities done by USLA,  since the Ranairu  liberation of SL, to support the fallen heroes , their families and done as ongoing support for  war disabled members of  the security forces.

A video prepared by the USLA committee on the Ranaviru followed. This showed some of the supporting activities by the rehabilitation services and at the several “Seth Madura’s” spread throughout Sri Lanka, .

Dr. Chula Rajapakse , Spokesperson USLA  speaking next acknowledged  the privilege of being able to contribute to USLA Ranaviru Remembrance yet again and began by remembering all of the security services persons who paid the ultimate price  or were left maimed, in the Liberation of Sri Lanka from Tiger Terror for all, irrespective of race, creed or religion. He recalled the beginning of the war with the ambush of the 13 soldiers in 1983 , and the service persons who were victims of the  many successful and unsuccessful campaigns of the liberation thereafter , including those of the campaigns at Vadamarachi, Elephant Pass, Jaffna fort, Eastern Province, Western flank of the Northern province, Vavunia and finally at the Nadikudal Lagoon in Mulativu where the liberation was completed.

He said , “to us  in New Zealand, the ANZAC day commemoration, coming exactly 23 days before Ranviru Day, gratefully remembering fallen soldiers from over one hundred years ago at Gillapoli and Anzac cove in far away Turkey, served as a timely reminder of why we should not forget our fallen heroes of just eight years ago and how we could remember them”.

He observed that the numbers of those attending these events in NZ like dawn services  and services  in Turkey at Gillapoli and Anzac cove annually have increased year by year and even more the number of young people attending have also gone up. This was because the NZ government and media have made  efforts to keep alive the debt of gratitude they owe to the ANZACs in the minds of  the  present generation . Unfortunately, in SL quite the converse seem to be happening with attempts to make people forget their debt to the Ranaviru, almost sweeping it under the carpet. When   he scoured the net for plans for Ranaviru commemoration in SL he found one small reference to it in the Lanka page but the more prominent reference in the same page was a call by the northern province chief minister to call for a day of mourning on the 18th.

He said that when some relatives  from Sri Lanka visited him recently  in Wellington he took them to the ANZAC memorial park recently opened in Wellington and to the Gilapoli exhibition at Tepapa and detailed how New Zealanders gratefully remembered  the debt of gratitude they owed to the ANZAC’s even a century after the events while Sri Lanka seemed to be in a real hurry to forget it all. The relatives  response was that any remembrances had to be tempered by the fear of upsetting the Tamil people. Dr. Rajapakse  had then recommended the New Zealand model of ANZAC day remembrances consisting of wreath laying , silent contemplation , religious services with expressions of gratitude and recalling of various events of the campaigns , in ceremonies spread right through the country, in cities large and small.  This seemed to fall on more receptive ears.

Going on further Dr Rajapakse stressed that we owe it to the Ranaviru, to counter  vigorously attempts to denigrate the dignity and sanctity of the liberation by the Ranaviru, with allegations that it was  achieved at the cost of HR violations and an unacceptably high civilian casualty rates . He said , that this was happening as he spoke right here in Wellington with the screaming of the documentary  entitled “Tamil Tears” in a film  festival. Going by previous films of the same ilk, it would be hype up of these same unsubstantiated and now clearly disproven allegations. This possibility was further enhanced by the internet trailer of this film which claimed that harassment, kidnappings  and bombings of Tamils  was still common place in SL making therefore making a  case for ease of passage for Tamil refugees into New Zealand.

He thanked those who joined him in refuting these claims as being baseless, pointing out that since the end of the SL liberation on the 19th of May 2009 not a single terrorist bomb had been exploded, that the Tamil disappearances were also a thing of the past since the end of the liberation and these only happened during the war & it was the Tiger’s that were responsible for many of these . He asked if Tamils were in such danger from the Sinhalese, why did over sixty percent of them chose to live in Colombo among the Sinhalese, as they are doing now.

He also emphasized that queue jumping economic refugees posing as political refugees seeking entry into the west helped by devious people smugglers would go to any length to secure their objectives. He sighted a recent case in London UK,  of a person who attempted to   support a claim for refugee status with allegations of torture by the Sri Lankan security forces personnel. On investigation it was established that the burn marks on various parts of the body and lash marks on the back, used as evidence of torture to support the  refugee status claim  had been inflicted not by SL security personnel as claimed but  had been inflicted under anesthesia in London on payment of a fee. Since then other similar cases have come to light.

The other monkey on the back that is attempting to detract from the dignity and sanctity of SL liberation from Tiger Terror  by the Ranaviru is the ongoing call by UNHCR in Geneva for more investigations into these unsubstantiated allegations of unacceptably high casualty  rate and targeting of civilians during the liberation. He expressed regret that despite the Paranagama Commission tasked with investigating missing persons supervised by overseas legal luminaries,  having clearly established that such things did not happen, this commission report was neither accepted by the government nor tabled at UNHCR. He also drew attention to the new US administration’s declared disinterest in being the policeman of the world. Supporting this  was the attendance only by a low ranked member of the  current US administration,  at the UNHCR  annual  sessions in March 2017. Dr. Rajapakse, called on the SL government to exploit this lack interest on the part of the US to secure a withdrawal of  their resolutions.

Finally, Dr. R acknowledging with joy the high attendance especially of younger members at today’s commemoration and also acknowledging the pool of expertise in various fields amongst them. He called upon USLA to be proactive rather than reactive by perhaps doing a documentary film  for next  years festival on the subject of “ Frustrations of the Sinhala people “ or “The Frustrations of a Forgotten People”  , embodying our frustrations at the on going allegations of  HR violation despite lack of any evidence to support such a claim and plenty of evidence against it.

This speech was followed by a skype interview, arranged by Sec. Yasoda Jayawardana   with Colonel Sujeewa Rajakaruna of the Mihidiu  Seth Madura  to identify any way USLA could help their ongoing activities. Help with purchase of computer and music facilities were identified as possible projects for USLA  to undertake through fundraising.

Mr. Channa Ranasinghe , a former President speaking next drew attention to the financial support so far rendered by USLA to support the Ranaviru at around $ 40,000 and called for proactive measures to raise he profile of the Sinhalese in NZ by securing Sinhala New Year celebrations at the Parliamentary premises as the Tamils had done this year.

Another former President  Mr.Don Wijewardana called for acknowledgement of the sacrifices of the Ranaviru not just once a year but every day by having for example a reference to it on the USLA website.

The meeting was followed by a session of mix and mingling over finger food and soft drinks.

Dr Chula Rajapakse MNZM

Spokesperson,

USLA.

LANKARAMAYA- LAPUENTE Vesak Program Schedule, Sunday, May 21, 2017

May 20th, 2017

Lankarama Buddhist Institute 398 Giano Ave, La Puente- CA 91744

Cordially invites you, friends & family to attend Vesak Celebration 2017

Vesak Program Schedule, Sunday, May 21, 2017

06:30 AM – Observing Eight Precepts & Buddha Puja

07:00 AM – Offering of Breakfast Dana

09:00 A.M – Dhamma Talk:

10:00 A.M – Meditation

11:00 A.M – Buddha Puja

11:30 AM – Offering of Lunch Dana

12:30 PM – Walking Meditation

01:30 PM – Dhamma Discussion

02:30 PM – Tea Break

03:00 PM – Dhamma Talk

04:00 PM – Releasing of Eight Precepts, Bodhi Puja

06:00 PM – Recital of Buddhist Devotional Songs – Bhakti Geetha

07:30 PM – Free Food Distribution Dansela for All Sandaya Gamalath & Tisssa         Gamalath

Your attendance is highly and greatly appreciated

For further info, please contact  

Ven. Sumanatissa Nayaka Thera 626-913-0775

Snowden lashes out at HK for rejecting SL, Filipino refugees

May 20th, 2017

Courtesy The Daily Mirror

Fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden hit back at the Hong Kong government on Thursday for rejecting the protection bids of a group of refugees including Sri Lankans who sheltered him while he was hiding out in the city, the AFP reported.

The impoverished Philippine and Sri Lankan refugees helped the former US National Security Agency contractor evade authorities in 2013 by hiding him in their cramped homes after he initiated one of the largest data leaks in US history.

They have spent years hoping the Hong Kong government would recognise their cases and save them from being sent back to their home countries where they say they were persecuted.

But the family of four, a mother and her daughter and a single man saw their protection claims rejected Monday by the city’s immigration authorities, which said there were “no substantial grounds” for believing they would be at risk if they went home. They now face deportation.

“These are good people that were driven from their homes by torture, rape, abuse, blackmail and war, circumstances that are really difficult for us to imagine,” Snowden said in a video released Thursday.

“Now what they’re facing is a transparent injustice from the very people that they asked to protect them,” he said.

“Someone in the Hong Kong government has decided that they want to make these families disappear immediately, no matter the cost,” Snowden added in the video.

He has been living in exile in Russia since the summer of 2013. Russia’s immigration service in January extended Snowden’s residency permit to 2020.

The refugees’ lawyer, Robert Tibbo has called the decision by Hong Kong authorities “completely unreasonable”, and said he had less than two weeks to submit appeals before the families were deported.

He said there was a risk his clients could be detained and their children placed in government custody.

Hong Kong is not a signatory to the UN’s refugee convention and does not grant asylum.

However, it is bound by the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) and considers claims for protection based on those grounds.

One of the refugees, Vanessa Rodel from the Philippines, who lives in Hong Kong with her five-year-old daughter, broke down over the news of the decision.

Another of the refugees, Ajith Pushpakumara from Sri Lanka, told AFP the government had “taken his whole life”.

Lawyers for the Snowden refugees have separately lodged an asylum petition with the Canadian government and are calling for to be expedited.


– See more at: http://www.dailymirror.lk/article/Snowden-lashes-out-at-HK-for-rejecting-SL-Filipino-refugees-129240.html#sthash.UZTkLK5V.dpuf

China’s Belt and Road Initiative: How will it work?

May 20th, 2017

By Bandu de Silva Courtesy The Island

As the Chinese President Xi quoted in his inaugural address to the Belt and Road forum in Beijing on Sunday 14th May 2017, the Chinese often say, “The beginning is the most difficult part.” He said, “A solid first step has been taken in pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative. We should build on the sound momentum generated to steer the Belt and Road Initiative toward greater success …” In pursuing this endeavor, he outlined several guiding principles. Twenty nine heads of state and governments, the Secretary General of UN, President of the World Bank, and over hundred other representatives took part in the forum session which shows it has gathered wide support in Asia and the West despite India and Japan keeping away.

India’s Absence

Looking at India’s absence at the forum one may be tempted to ask if holding the Belt and Road forum in China be like playing the famed Shakespeare’s famed drama, Romeo and Juliet, without Juliet.

Such a suggestion is likely to be spurned by both China and India though China may wish to keep the door opened despite her ignoring India’s absence at the Forum. As Raj Mohan, a top China-watching journalist in India put it thus: “India, which has long considered itself an equal to Beijing, cannot find her playing a secondary role in BRI fiddle … Neither India’s strong objections nor its weak political endorsement of the BRI would have any impact on its evolution; there is an air of inevitability to the BRI.”

What finally turned out was India’s absence which was completely ignored by the Chinese though the Chinese Foreign Minister had earlier expressed the hope that India would send a delegation. The Indian journalist continued that India which had been awakened had to do three things before she could join China on the latter’s initiative, the first being to bringing about a strategic challenge in her relations with immediate neighbours. That is deploying her inherited trans-border connectivities through the use of religio-cultural factor; the second was to develop India’s road connections to the Eastern parts; and third, development of ports in the east coast. If one looks at Prime Minister Modi snatching the opportunity offered by Sri Lanka this month, one could see him doing a first act in relation to her southern nighbour.

article_image

PM with Chinese President

Opinion in India was divided on participating in BRI. I expected that she might send a professional team as it did for the Hainan Dialogue which our President attended as a special guest but this did not happen.

Another country which seemed to be drawing her feet on BRI seems to be Japan with her own initiative. She, too, was absent at the forum in China.

What is BRI about?

The much-spoken-of China’s Belt and Road (BRI) initiative was first put forward by President Xi Jinping in 2013. While originating in China that the initiative is expected to deliver benefits well beyond its borders is demonstrated by more than 40 countries and international organizations signing cooperation agreements with China under the initiative. The upcoming BRI forum is expected to explore ways to address regional and global economic problems, generate fresh energy for interconnected development, and ensure that the initiative brings greater benefits to people of the countries involved, President Xi said in January this year.

The BRI, an infrastructure and trade network, not only connects Asia with European and African landmass along ancient land and maritime trade routes, and the Indo-Pacific maritime domain through an overland “belt” and a maritime silk “road,” but also involves, as observed by Raj Mohan, ” the export of Chinese capital, labour, technology, industrial standards, commercial benchmarks, the use of the Yuan, the development of new ports, industrial hubs, special economic zones and military facilities, under Beijing’s auspices”.

“While the BRI is then breathtaking in scope, its scale is, of course, much bigger, thanks to the massive economic resources and national ambition that Beijing can mobilise … China is set to become the first non-Western power in the modern era to shape the geopolitics of Eurasia and the Indo-Pacific. While most nations are ready to accept this, grudgingly or otherwise, two of China’s neighbours — Japan and India — are reluctant.”

Sri Lanka’s Role

Sri Lanka has no such big stakes as Japan and India would have in the BRI initiative. China considers her part of the BRI link. Critics look askance at China’s infrastructural development at the Hambantota Port and the Colombo Port City Project. She has to meet India’s concern on fears of China’s rival maritime expansion in the Indian Ocean. She cannot however, ignore Chinese investments if she is to proceed with her development projects.

Bi-lateral relations

For Sri Lanka, on the bi-lateral side, the main subject for discussion outside participation in BRI Forum is further talks on Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China. China has signed FTAs with a number of countries. The FTA with Sri Lanka was first mooted in 2015 and talks have been continuing since to improve terms. Sri Lankan exports to China remain low at 2.9 per cent of her total exports and they are expected to find greater access to markets with cheaper inputs and enhanced competitiveness etc.  Deeper trade integration and investment cooperation is also expected. Caution is taken not to permit China to enter the services field to the disadvantage of Sri Lankans as is alleged in the case of the proposed Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India which has been devilled by the fear of Indian encroachment to the service fields in Sri Lanka.

The Hambantota project is not out of doldrums. The parliamentary debates and media discussions in Sri Lanka show that the proposed agreement to release 15,000 acres of state land in Hambantota to interested Chinese entrepreneurs has run into difficulty including violent protests. Obviously, there are elements which do not want to see the project succeed.

The most important consideration for boosting up relations between China and Sri Lanka is for both sides to “respect each other, understand and accommodate each other’s core interests and major concerns, and support one another on major issues.” That is a slogan which the Chinese repeat when discussing relations with countries. This sentiment was expressed by the Chinese President when he met President Maithripala Sirisena during his first official visit to China when he emphasized the need for “friendly cooperation” and “trustworthiness” and “reliable friendship.” That not only summed up what one may see as an expression of Chinese apprehension over the new Sri Lankan government’s attitudes towards Chinese investments but also served as a veiled expression of indignation over creating a “loss of face” situation for China, which the Chinese traditionally find difficult to stomach.

While the Sri Lankan Prime Minister participated in BRI forum, just fresh from the encounter with Prime Minister Modi in Colombo, he may not have been feeling a free man but mindful of repercussions that any overt enthusiasm he might be inclined to show in Beijing over BRI might cause in India. India, which now raises sovereignty issues over BRI, was herself seen laying down the parameters of sovereignty that her southern neighbour could practice. That was what he put in an aphorism when he said “India’s Sri Lanka’s security were indivisible”.

Sri Lanka needs to maintain a neutral national security policy that it will not arouse the security concerns of its big neighbour. That means Sri Lanka will have to do some tightrope –walking between economic imperatives and national security issues in its own interest. In short, she will walk the India rope with a Chinese umbrella in hand to maintain the balance.

bandudes@gmail.com

YAHAPALANA AND INDIA Part 1

May 20th, 2017

KAMALIKA PIERIS

It is best to start this essay on Sri Lanka and India, by going all the way back to pre-history. The Indian peninsula and the island of Sri Lanka are next to each other, not because Sri Lanka is part of India, but because both countries are a part of Gondwanaland. Millions of years ago, Africa, Australia, India, Madagascar and Sri Lanka     were part of a large continent named by researchers as Gondwanaland. This Gondwanaland then broke up. Africa moved to the left, Australia moved to the right, the rest went upwards. Mozambique broke off and India with Sri Lanka attached went up and up and hit Asia, creating the Himalayas.

Sri Lanka was originally on the western side of India. Geologists have found that the Western Ghats of southwestern India and the highlands of southwestern Sri Lanka, separated by 400 kilometers, are strikingly similar in their geology, climate and evolutionary history.     (http://www.cepf.net/resources/hotspots/Asia-Pacific/Pages/Western-Ghats-and-Sri-Lanka.aspx}   Sri Lanka therefore was originally attached to western India. It has broken off and swung to the right, ending up below Tamilnadu.  This means that there is no natural link between Sri Lanka and Tamilnadu and the placement of Sri Lanka beside Tamilnadu means nothing.

The sovereign state of India   was created only in 1947. The Indian states are difficult to control and India is a very unstable state.  India will eventually ‘Balkanize’ into multiple sovereign states, despite the anti-secession clause in the Indian constitution.  It will be a messy break up. States will fight over boundaries and rivers.  Landlocked states will try to get access to the sea.  India is like a jigsaw puzzle, observers said. If you shake it hard, it will break up into its component pieces.

The British when they were ruling India concocted the myth that in ancient times everything had originated in India and then spread to the rest of Asia.  British and French scholars spoke of the   ‘Indianised states of Asia.’ Modern Indians swallowed this and started to write books on the ‘Wonder that was India’ and the ‘Discovery of India’.  Due to this, India initially was very arrogant and aggressive when it came to international relations. India considered itself the successor to the British when it came to dominating the Bay of Bengal.  Nehru had tended to dominate the Asian Relations Conference, New Delhi, 1947, by his interjections.

India thought that its great size would automatically make it the dominant power in South Asia. Instead India is heartily disliked by its neighbors.  India’s haughty, aggressive policy only succeeded in angering India’s neighbors. Because of its bullying tactics, India has been described as ‘a regional thug ‘and ‘regional bully’.

Nepal and Bhutan, it is alleged, have become totally dependent on India due to the binding agreements the two countries have signed with India in the last 65 years.  Indian firms are the biggest investors in Nepal. In November 2014, when Modi visited Nepal, he was to have addressed two public meetings but these were cancelled due to opposition from government   and opposition parties. In 2016, Nepali students protested over ‘Indian intervention in the constitution.’ They charged that India was forcing Nepal to amend its constitution.

India fought Pakistan, China, Sri Lanka, but was unable to force them into submission. There were major Indo-Pakistan wars in 1966, 1971 and 1999.  India is still ‘fighting’ Pakistan over border disputes. India fought China in 1962 with brief skirmishes in 1967 and 1987. India was given a drubbing by China in 1962. China attacked simultaneously in all three areas, Tawang, Walong and Ladakh. The operations were clearly prepared well in advance. China annexed the entire north-east and reached as far as Kolkata, then announced a unilateral ceasefire and retreated. There is an ongoing border dispute between India and China which China is not interested in settling. China knows it holds all the aces, said retired Major General Karkar. The Sino Indian border remains China’s only undefined land border. It is one of the longest interstate boundaries in the world and it is becoming heavily militarized.

India was also humiliated by Sri Lanka when it interfered in the Eelam issue. India started by providing a safe haven for the LTTE and trained them. India also gave money to LTTE to buy arms. It is doubtful if the LTTE would have launched its attacks without India to run to.  India sent in their army, and lost 3843 soldiers with nothing to show for it. China and Pakistan have now joined forces, in opposition to India. India does not have enough planes to fight a simultaneous two front war with Pakistan and China.  Pakistan, Sri Lanka and China could gang up against India in the future, said observers.

However, India’s admirers say India is the world’s largest democracy, home to the second-largest English-speaking population in the world and boasting a diversified and rapidly growing economy  India grew fastest among major economies worldwide, at over 7.5 per cent in 2016   and is expected to become the world    third largest economy by 2028 with China as first. India has the largest refinery in the world, in Jamnagar (Gujarat), with a capacity of refining 1.24 million barrels a day. The world’s largest solar power plant with an installed capacity of 648MW will be located at Kamudhi, Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu

India launched its nuclear-capable Agni V missile in 2017. Agni V  is launcher-based, it can be moved, deployed and then re-employed, Chinese nuclear missiles, on the other hand, are silo-based, hence immobile and can be engaged, prior to launch. Agni V has an expected range of over 5,000 kilometers. All major cities of China are now within Indian missile range.

In 2011, India had the world’s sixth largest navy, with 155 vessels and 56 000 personnel on active duty in 2011. In 2017, India’s military rank had     dropped to 7th place. The rank order is US, Russia, China, Japan, UK, France, then India. India has naval bases in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Currently about 3000 Indian soldiers trained in amphibious warfare are deployed at Andaman and Nicobar Island. India has several landing craft ships. The latest ones can carry 10 armored vehicles, 11 armored personnel carriers and more than 500 troops.

India is ranked as sixth in a list of eight great powers for the year 2017 by ‘a leading American foreign policy magazine’. The rank order they gave was US, China, Japan, Russia, Germany and India. India is often overlooked in lists of the world’s great powers, but it occupies a rare and enviable position on the world stage,  said India’s admirers. India dominates south Asian region physically and economically   and India’s geographic location enables it to be a dominant power in the Indian Ocean region.

There are two views in Sri Lanka about India. Some feel that Sri Lanka must prostrate itself humbly before India since India is ‘our powerful neighbor’.  They say that Sri Lanka should follow the policy of Finland, which makes it a point not to antagonize its neighbor, Russia. They point out that when Sri Lanka looks upwards all it sees is India towering above.

K.Godage, a career diplomat, pointed out that Sri Lanka‘s closest link is with India. It is essential to get on with and please India, he observed. The Indian factor is crucial to our existence. India can either help or hinder. We need to be always mindful of India’s sensitivities. India’s policy towards us has not been consistent but ‘that is a luxury they can afford’.  India seeks to expand its influence in Sri Lanka domestic policies. She also wishes to be a significant partner in our economic development. We should also develop close relations with southern states of India and its leaders as well, Godage concluded. (Island 3.8.09 p 8).

Lynn Ockersz said that Sri Lanka needs to consider that absolutely nothing could be done about her geographical position in the region. She is ‘destined’ to be India’s close neighbor, whether she likes it or not. Accordingly, she must follow a good neighbor policy.  India has generally been an amicable neighbor.

India has been a friend for thousands of years, said Sanja de Silva Jayatilleka. ‘It is incomprehensible to me, that India would want to be seen as a predatory power, causing civil strife. It is a ‘thoughtful state’, concerned about its relationships with its neighbors.  India has the intellectual and imaginative capacity for creative, consensual solutions to the problem of balance of power in the Indian Ocean region’.

Pathfinder Foundation, a recently set up think tank (date of origin not available) said India is our closest neighbor and it is best not to antagonize it. Maintaining good relations with India can pay rich dividends.   It is important to realize geographical realties, continued Pathfinder. India will intervene if it thinks its geopolitical interests are threatened.  India is very sensitive to developments in the south where Sri Lanka is, because India’s defenses and nuclear progamme are located in India’s own south

Not everybody agrees. When it was pointed out that India is Sri Lanka’s closest neighbor, one reader stated that ‘personally my wish is that we were not 20 but 200 miles away from the sub continent’. Others were equally contemptuous towards India.  Sri Lanka’s strategic location and lack of ‘any land border’, makes it more independent than most other SAARC countries, observed Samantha Kumarasinghe.   Sri Lanka has always valued and guarded its separate and distinct identity from its much bigger neighbor. Despite its size and location this island has always asserted its independent space to decide its own destiny said Dayan Jayatilleke.

Sri Lanka has been strongly anti-India from the time of independence. There is suspicion, dislike and distrust. Sri Lanka sees India as its enemy. India voted against Sri Lanka repeatedly during several UNHRC sessions and India supported the Tamil Separatist movement in the Eelam War.  The parippu drop, violating Sri Lanka air space and the Indo-Lanka Accord are not forgotten. India has forfeited the respect and confidence of Sri Lanka, said critics. China gave the Conference hall, Japan gave Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital but India has not given anything similar.

Sri Lanka is neither frightened of India nor impressed by India’s might. India holds its International Indian Film academy awards in different capitals, as an attention getting device. India pays the expenses.  When the Awards were held in Colombo in 2010 the host country, Sri Lanka had put up the money, and there were protests.

Sri Lanka is ahead of India in certain sectors. Sri Lanka doctors do not think highly of India’s health service or medical education. India’s health system was behind those of the west as well as Singapore, they said.

Sri Lanka eradicated polio years ago but cannot get a certificate because neighboring Tamilnadu had frequent polio epidemics and there is interregional travel. Indian pharmaceuticals that have flooded our markets are substandard and of   low efficacy. Tablet manufacture is a cottage industry in India.  This writer   once selected an Indian drug which was much cheaper than its western equivalent and was told that the Indian drug lacked a vital ingredient found in the western pill.

Sri Lankan doctors maintain that Sri Lankan   medical expertise was far better than anything that India can offer. Sri Lanka  could be proud of its health achievements,  low maternal mortality, high life expectancy, successful elimination of malaria and free availability of healthcare to all citizens all this has been achieved at the mere cost of only 1% of National GDP due to the skill and dedication of our health care professionals. Sri Lanka medical training is uniform and invariably excellent. In some of the best research hospitals of the world, a Sri Lanka specialist can be found, they said. Sri Lanka doctors are not sent for training to India as the standards are not satisfactory. India’s medical education was highly variable and Sri Lankans who study there do not do well at the Act 16 exam in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka   has   one important economic advantage over India. Sri Lanka’s ports are superior to the ports of India. Indian ports do not have adequate depth and India does not have any ports which can compete with Sri Lanka. The deepest Indian port is Gangavaram in Andhra Pradesh with 21 meters depth. Colombo port enjoys a better reputation in international shipping than the ports in South India. The turn over time for ships in Colombo is much less than in the ports of south India.

India is heavily dependent on Sri Lanka ports. More Indian goods are transshipped through Colombo than through Indian ports. 70% of the volume handled by the Colombo port is transshipment of goods imported by India. Colombo is India’s no 1 container transshipment port. Some 80% of India’s container traffic is shipped through Colombo. Jawaharlal Nehru port, Bombay, India‘s most modern container terminal only handles a maximum of 10 containers per ship/ hr, Colombo does 30.

The list of complaints against India is very long. Here are some of them. India never offers loans without a hidden agenda, critics observed. In 1968 India offered a loan of Rs 100 million for purchase of equipment used in government departments.  The items had to be of Indian manufacture.  The Department of electrical Undertakings prepared a shopping list which was of international standard. The Indians refuse to provide these they instead offered items which they could not sell in the international market. The Telecommunications switchboard in the head office of the DGEU went out of order within a short period of installation. Several of the railways engines supplied by India have failed to operate after a few years, and the large extent of the railway line laid by India contractors have been damaged including concrete sleepers.

China offered 3D radar to Sri Lanka in 2007.  New Delhi strongly opposed China’s offer because they wanted to prevent the deployment of state of the art Chinese radar across the Palk Strait   and instead installed 2D radar. This radar failed to detect the LTTE attack at Katunayake. BIA radar did the alerting just before LTTE struck. Eventually Colombo acquired the Chinese equipment.

Three days a week, ten months a year, Sri Lanka   fishermen were forced off the sea in Sri Lanka‘s north western waters by  a swathe of hefty Indian trawlers for which their fiberglass boats were no match. The Indians cross by night fall, haul their net over the seas and leave before dawn.  They come in huge numbers from Rameshwaram and Nagapattinam. Sri Lanka fishermen’s boats, engines and nets are damaged by the large Indian vessels, so they keep away. The sheer size of the Indian operation is daunting.  The boats have suddenly become even bigger.

The vast majority of previous detection has been in the northern waters, but Sri Lanka Navy has also seized two Indian fishing vessels poaching in Sri Lanka waters off the east coast. India is not interested in settling this issue of South Indian fishermen poaching in Sri Lanka’s Northern waters. This is seen as part of Indian high handedness when dealing with Sri Lanka. There is a clear maritime boundary between India and Sri Lanka, in the Palk Strait.

When Sri Lanka fishermen are arrested by Indian coast guards, they are treated harshly.   One set arrested after straying into Indian waters in February 2016, were ordered to kneel on a heavy iron plate which had heated due to the sun. These persons told the media, ‘We were beaten up by the coast guards and offered rice with dhal and were forced to pick the worms off the plates of rice before we ate. There were more worms than rice. We were kept in prison in Hyderabad for two and half months and were released only after paying Rs 75,000 each.

We did not receive any support from the government and had to manage our affairs on our own. But in contrast Indian fishermen are seen poaching in our water freely and when they are arrested they are provided with the best possible treatment and released a few weeks later. When we overpowered some Indian fisherman and handed them over to the authorities they were released, without any punishment.’

In Sri Lanka, India has diplomatic representations in Colombo, Kandy, Jaffna and Hambantota besides numerous cultural centers.  Consulates are established to look after their nationals.  How many Indian nationals are there in Jaffna and Hambantota? The consulates in Jaffna and Hambantota are viewed as RAW stations.  The Jaffna one is there to monitor what is going and to foment trouble in Jaffna. The Hambantota one is there to act as a watch post. In UK, India has only three offices in London, Birmingham and Edinburgh, despite an Indian community in excess of 1 million living in UK.  Sri Lanka, it was pointed out, had a high commission in New Delhi, a Deputy high commission in Chennai, Consulate general in Mumbai and Honorary consul in Kolkata.

However, there are some positive aspects too. Centre for Contemporary Indian Studies, University of Colombo (CCIS) was established in 2012, for research on contemporary India, and provide an intellectual forum for those working in the field of contemporary Indian studies. The Centre has a journal, a library, guest lecture series and visiting scholars. Knowledge of contemporary India is lacking in Sri Lanka and this is not to our interest, noted K.Godage.

Pathfinder Foundation is especially interested in strengthening indo-Lanka ties. Pathfinder Foundation launched the Center for Indo Lanka Initiatives in 2016. it had signed a memorandum of intent with Indian think tank, Vivekananda international foundation in 2014. The Foundation says it plays a catalytic role in changing attitude of legislators, government officials, civil society groups and public.   Pathfinder Foundation’s list of completed projects includes those with ADB, USAID, Norway and India. It says its main partners are US, India and China.

An India Gallery was set up in 2013 at the Buddhist Museum at Dalada Maligawa. It consist of eight major sections, the origin of Buddhism in India, pilgrimage sites in India, symbolic representation of Buddha  in Buddhist  art in India, anthropomorphic representations, secondary events in the Buddha’s life,  mudras, Buddhist architecture in India, spread of Buddhism  from India. In 2016 India and Sri Lanka signed MOU to establish a training school for Dalada Maligawa at Pallekele, Kandy to provide training in Kandyan dance and drums, costumes, ornaments and musical instruments, lacquer painting, mahout training and sculpturing. (continued)

Modi’s  Bonhomie and the New Machiavellian Twist in Indian Diplomacy

May 20th, 2017

R Chandrasoma

The accomplishment of strategic aims can – at times – be achieved by suavity and charm when a direct and blunt approach would make the opposition bristle in fear and anger. Let us take the overarching or grand strategy of Modi and the Indians in dealing with their historic neighbor Sri Lanka. There is one word that sums it all – Balkanization. Given a neighbourhood that is unfriendly but riven within by political divisions and ethnic antagonisms, the optimal strategy is to foment such divisions by deceitful overtures that pass off as instances of genuine concern. Modi – the artful Indian Prime Minister – used the Celebration of Wesak to advance a nakedly political agenda – to weaken the Sri Lankan State by openly patronizing Non-State Actors. His address to a vast crown of flag-waving ‘Indian Tamils’ in the Sinhala Heartland was ‘a shot fired across the bow’ by our dangerous neighbour – that the supposed million or so ‘Indians’ in the hills constitute a rapid reaction ‘political force’ that could be enlisted to thwart any attempt by  a ‘Sinhala Government’ to  challenge the regional suzerainty of Big Brother .

That he also met the ‘Koti Tamils’ of the North and ‘pow-wowed’ with their leaders will not occasion much surprise – this group is a foster-child of Imperialist India. That Modi thought it fit to stir the political pot on the occasion of Wesak shows the depth of the political depravity of a country that once (the time of Nehru and Gandhi) pretended to lead a moral force in global politics. A concluding thought on our own brand of ‘moral politics’ – the ‘vintage’ advertised by our own President and Leading Light MS – needs to be stated. Our Leader declared with unshaken firmness and authority that Modi’s visit to our country was entirely and unequivocally religious. Like in most matters he was dead wrong.

Three commitments save UN Vesak Day Mahanuwara (Kandy) Declaration 2017

May 20th, 2017

Janaka Perera

The nine point Mahanuwara Declaration on the United Nations Day of Vesak 2017 may have ended up as an empty vacuous and vague document not worth a second look but for three distinctive commitments which have saved this document from being cast into oblivion.

They are as follows:

  1. 1.   “ In realizing the long felt need to have an aligned organization among Buddhist Communities underpinned by solidarity, solemn initiatives shall be taken to form such an organization with minimum delay in furtherance of our objectives and aspirations based on values and principles of the teachings of the Buddha.
  2. 2.    In consideration of the challenges faced by Buddhist communities all over the world plausible methodology shall be evolved to address and encounter them as one community.
  3. 3. (Point numbered 8).    In view of the alarming decline of morals and spirituality, steps shall be taken to set-up a media network to disseminate the message of Dhamma leading towards a virtuous life based on Buddhist principles”.

The rest of the points totaling altogether six are so commonplace and hackneyed that no one could be blamed for thinking that so much of money was spent unnecessarily for this UNDV event to reach these wayside insignificant conclusions.

The saving grace of the Mahanuwara Declaration was the points numbered 1, 2 and 8.

Who are the Godfathers of these ideas?

Mahanuwara Declaration

1)   Formation of an International Buddhist Organisation underpinned by solidarity

Two leading Buddhist activists based in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh can be given credit for this positive outcome. They have unceasingly lobbied in various international Buddhist conferences and publications in the mass media calling for the establishment of a strong pro-active International Buddhist Organisation that would adopt a trouble shooting approach rather than a showboat approach with a tea party flavor, which has virtually paralyzed and made International Buddhist organizations functionally and politically ineffective in the world arena.

Senaka Weeraratna (Sri Lanka) has been actively canvassing over the last seven years, for the establishment of a League of Buddhist Nations on lines similar to the Organisation of Islamic Co – operation (OIC) or World Council of Christian Churches, with a view to functioning in areas where other international Buddhist organisations, for example, the World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB) are inactive, weak or silent. He has pointed out that the Buddhist World lacked an effective mechanism to help save a Buddhist Nation or Buddhist community in danger. 

Weeraratna has proposed a remedy in the following words:

“Buddhism is part of the national psyche of many Asian countries and such an organisation can serve as a platform to co-operate and promote Buddhism among themselves and others, a mediator in conflicts between Buddhist nations (Thailand/Cambodia), and a pressure or lobby group in respect to countries where Buddhist minorities are oppressed. It would entertain Buddhist grievances and complains with a view to taking up such complains at an inter-governmental level. The OIC and European Union (EU) perform this role currently on behalf of Muslim and Christian communities respectively”,

Weeraratna has further said as follows:

Buddhist Solidarity
“There is no International Buddhist forum to listen to the grievances of Buddhists and act on their behalf in world councils. Buddhists vis-à-vis other religions are largely unrepresented or under-represented in UN bodies. As a lobby group, Buddhists are weak internationally. In such context, the world Buddhists must unhesitatingly come together on the basis of solidarity rather than fellowship, and project strength and assertiveness on the international stage, to combat the rising challenges to the very existence of Buddhism in several parts of Asia.

The lack of an effective institutional mechanism that can lend support when a Buddhist institution, Buddhist community or even a predominant Buddhist nation is in danger is a glaring lacuna. We see the lack of substantial networks of support driving threatened Buddhist nations or Buddhist communities into a sense of despair and hopelessness at times of an emergency.

Despite a 2500 year old history that makes Buddhism one of the oldest religions in the world, a worldwide presence that makes it a global religion, and a way of life grounded in wisdom and compassion that attracts the envy of other civilizations, Buddhism still retains its biggest constraint – lack of effective protections. It is a historical and sad fact that Buddhism has lost more territory and space in Asia, its traditional homeland, in the last one thousand years than any other religion. It is also a hard fact that this process continues with no sign of abatement and no effective measures being developed to counter it.”

See

Voices of threatened Buddhists must be heard at the UNDV 2017 Conference

http://buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=70,13109,0,0,1,0#.WR5CkJKGOUk

The Crisis facing the Buddhist World

https://www.facebook.com/tbcm.org.my/posts/10152012483198074

League of Buddhist Nations – An idea whose time has come

http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=8,10167,0,0,1,0#.WR497JJ96Uk

Dr. Bikiran Prasad Barua (Bangladesh) is another advocate of the formation of an International Buddhist Organisation which he has named as the ‘Organisation of Buddhist Countries’ ( OBC), that would function on a footing similar to that of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC).  Dr. Barua in fact had a petition in hand gathering signatures in support of the aforesaid OBC on the day of the International Buddhist Symposium of the UNDV ( May 13, 2017) and during the plenary session Dr. Barua stood up and read out a Resolution proposing the formation of a OBA. Unfortunately the moderately failed to call for a seconder to this motion and the matter was unfortunately allowed to lapse immediately without a discussion of this vital proposal.

Mahanuwara Declaration

2)   Methodology shall be evolved to address the challenges faced by Buddhist communities all over the world and encounter them as one community.

Senaka Weeraratna further stated as follows:

Rising challenges to Buddhism

“The issue of rising challenges to Buddhism to the extent of undermining its very existence as the pre-dominant religion of traditional Buddhist nations, has hardly attracted much attention in discussions of International Buddhist Organisations, International Buddhist Conferences, or among National Governments in countries with predominant Buddhist populations and corresponding state and constitutional obligations to protect and foster Buddhism.

The solidarity that countries in Buddhist Asia showed towards each other in the distant past (pre-colonial era) has greatly diminished or become non-existent. The sense of kinship of being fellow travellers in the sansaric journey overarched by Buddhist precepts and bonded by common religious beliefs and foundations no longer acts as a reference point to summon or render assistance even between Buddhist peoples in neighbouring countries at times of need”.

There were several speakers who were in support of the idea of developing mechanisms to face challenges confronting Buddhism.

Ven. Shartse Khensur Jangchup Choeden (Himachal Pradesh, India) and currently Executive Director, Geluk International Foundation, Gaden Monastic University, Karnataka, India, expressed optimism in seeing growth of the International Buddhist community and the very fact that 72 countries from four corners of the world were represented  by Buddhists at this Conference, was a cause for satisfaction. When compared to the time when the WFB was inaugurated in 1950, there is a larger world Buddhist community now, and as time passes by mechanisms would evolve to meet the challenges ahead, he said in a reassuring way.

Sati Pasela

One of the Panels had proposed that the Sati Pasela ( School for Mindfulness) conceived and promoted by its Architect, Ven. Uda Eriyagama Dhammajive Thera, the Head and Chief  Kammatthanacariya (Meditation teacher) of the Mitirigala Nissarana Vanaya (founded by Asoka Weeraratna), be included in the final Declaration. It was approved in the plenary session. But unfortunately it was not specifically included as a commitment to be pursued in the Mahanuwara Declaration.

Azan at Buddha Gaya

Senaka Weeraratna made the following remarks:

“ Prime Minister Narendra Modi has declared the inauguration of a direct flight from Colombo to Varanasi commencing in August 2017 to enable Buddhist pilgrims from Sri Lanka to visit Buddha Gaya ( site of the Buddha’s enlightenment) with a greater ease. While this is much welcomed,  the reality is that the same pilgrims become a captive audience the moment they reach the Maha Bodhi Temple at Buddha Gaya and are forced to listen to the Azan ( call to prayer ) being amplified by newly installed loudspeakers in a recently established Mosque adjacent to the Maha Bodhi Temple, five times a day much against their will. These amplified sounds disrupt the proceedings of the Maha Bodhi Temple, humiliate the Buddhists in the Center of Buddhism, disturb their meditation and indirectly contribute to the widening of the communal gap between the two religious communities”.

Weeraratna proposed that an appeal be made to the Government of India to establish a noise free zone in the environment surrounding the Maha Bodhi Temple at Buddha Gaya, with a strict prohibition on use of loudspeakers and amplified sounds, and that such appeal be included in the final Mahanuwara Declaration.

Mahanuwara Declaration

3)   Setting – up of a Buddhist media network

It was heartening to note that an entire panel discussion was devoted to this important topic. Mr. Prasantha Lal de Alwis, PC., one of the Co – ordinators, of this UNDV 2017 event must be commended for this initiative. He has been raising this issue even internationally. We have to note that the Buddhist voice is relatively speaking largely unheard in the international arena. Buddhist nations which are embattled or threatened by more powerful vested interests have to rely on International news agencies or foreign Television Channels such as BBC, CNN or Al – Jazeera which have different policy objectives and are largely unsympathetic or sometimes even prejudiced towards the Buddhist cause, to air their position. This is an unsatisfactory situation. The time has come for the Buddhist world to seriously consider the inauguration of a Buddhist Television Channel on par with the aforesaid major TV Channels.   In addition a panel comprising  Buddhist Scholars must be established to review Wikipedia entries and correct theological and factual errors in these entries.

Next UNDV  

An Indian Buddhist lady proposed at the plenary session that the next UNDV be held in India to enable Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare India as a Buddhist country.

The Plenary Session

The plenary session commenced with an address by Hon. Dr. Wijayadasa Rajapakse, Minister of Justice and Buddha Sasana. He distinguished the approaches of the Western Civilization and the Eastern Civilization. The former  placed a heavy emphasis on Law and Justice while the latter emphasized the Dharma, he said. Ven. Dr. T. Dhammaratana (France) acted as the Moderator.

European Buddhists such as Egil Lothe (Norway) and Carlo Luyckx (Belgium) also addressed the plenary session. Carlo Luyckz in particular expressed concern at the dissemination of information in Europe showing Buddhism in bad light due to the troubles in Myanmar. Buddhism is generally reputed as a peaceful religion, but seeing the violence in Myanmar on TV, people have begun to raise questions, he said. There must be a Buddhist organization to clarify the matters and restore the good image of Buddhism, he said.

Ven. Illukpitiye Pannasekera, a Sinhalese monk, now resident in Tanzania and propagating Buddhism in Africa, received a standing ovation when he showed to the vast gathering an African monk from Tanzania, whom he has ordained. There were African Buddhists from Nigeria who also spoke at the Symposium.

A leading prelate from South Korea chanted Buddhist sutras in favour of the work of Ven. Illukpitiye Pannasekera, in Africa. Several speakers including a former senior Diplomat from Malaysia, Mr. Kumarasiri expressed support for rendering assistance to the Buddhist Dalit Community in India.  Dr.  Sunil Kariyakarawana (Buddhist Civilian Chaplain to British Armed Forces) spoke sharing his experience with inmates in prison and how Buddhism has been helpful in their rehabilitation.

In the audience were distinguished personalities from various parts of the world including Professor K.T.S. Sarao (Centre for the Advanced Study of Buddhism, University of Delhi), Dr. Anand Singh (Dean, School of Buddhist Studies, Gautam Buddha University, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India), Ven.Dr. Ding Hong ( Ling Feng Buddhist Education and Propagation Ltd., China), Ven. Dhammasami ( Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies), Mr. Padma Jyoti and Mr. Ratna Man Sakya (Nepal), Mr. Goh Seng Chai, Mr. Ang Choo Hong and Ms. Loh Pai Ling (Malaysia) and Dr. Lee Chi-Ran (South Korea).

Buddhist Teachings for Social Justice and Sustainable World Peace

This was the theme of the Conference. The topic of Social Justice was discussed for almost two days without reference to non – human sentient beings, until Senaka Weeraratna brought this matter to the attention of the Symposium. He said that animals were the real victims of the planet earth. They do not conduct wars against humans, they do not carry weapons, have no intention to liquidate humans, or impose their religion or beliefs. They want to live side by side with humans in harmony. But they are imprisoned in zoos and deprived of their freedom. Their ‘crime’ is that they exist and they are destroyed in their millions daily because of the totally false and erroneous view that they have been planted on earth to serve the interests of human beings exclusively.

The Buddha never subscribed to these wrong views. His moral community comprised all living beings ‘ Siyalu Sathwayo’ and the first precept is a moral injunction to prevent harm being any done to any living being. Ahimsa, Metta and Karuna were conceived by the Buddha to protect animals but now when we discuss these enlightened concepts we leave out animals. It was a national shame for Sri Lanka that we have still as the governing legislation a statute enacted during the British era, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance, No. 13 of 1907, where the maximum punishment for a heinous crime committed on an animal is Rs. 100 (less than a Dollar). Even a beggar can pay that amount. There is no deterrent effect in such penalty.      The Animal Welfare Bill must be enacted without any further delay.

Buddhist principles must not be jettisoned or overlooked to reach the goals of the UN, Senaka Weeraratna concluded.

In fairness it must be said that the Government of Sri Lanka, in particular the Ministry of the Buddha Sasana, went to extra – ordinary lengths to provide hospitality of a rare kind to the foreign guests. In that respect Sri Lanka earned the friendship and gratitude of the foreign visitors immeasurably.

To the delight of animal lovers only vegetarian food was served to the participants throughout the Conference thus taking into consideration the Maha Karuna of the Buddha and providing a strong message to the world that the most effective way of sparing the lives of innocent animals was by reducing the consumption of meat and in turn protecting the environment.


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