Ranil’s futile war with the media
Posted on April 23rd, 2018

H. L. D. Mahindapala

On the night that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe won the no-confidence motion in Parliament (April 5, 2018) three separate but interconnected incidents occurred, within stone’s throw of each other: 1. he held a thanksgiving pooja to the deities at Gangaramaya Temple for saving his  job which was on the line that day; 2. at the Head Office of the MTV station, which is within earshot of Gangaramaya, a mob led by UNP thugs threw stones, lit crackers, and threatened the media staff in an obvious attempt to teach a lesson to MTV which had persistently exposed the  manipulative role of the Prime Minister in the Bond Scam” and 3. in a swift move the leader of the thugs, Kithsiri Rajapakase, a UNP councillor, disappears from the scene of thuggery at MTV only to reappear, more  or less, as the guardian of the Prime Minister standing right behind him at Gangaramaya.

Of all the media institutions it was only MTV that was facing the wrath of the UNP mob on the night of Ranil’s so-called victory.  Why only MTV? It was the only media outlet that had consistently and relentlessly exposed the Bond Scam” – the biggest bank robbery in Sri Lankan history with the advice and consent of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, as revealed in the Presidential Commission of Inquiry. The angry UNP mob was aiming to get even with MTV for exposing the roles of the key UNPers in this robbery.

As I was watching the wrath of the mob unfit-olding on online NEWS1 a cold chill ran down my spine. My mind went back to the day when the mob of Mrs.Bandaranaike-Marxist coalition lined up on the pavements of the Regal Theatre and Regal Flats yelling and screaming for the blood of those at Lake House. Ranil’s father, Esmond Wickremesinghe, who was manipulating the anti-SLFP-Marxist politics of Lake House at the time, was watching the mob waiting to break-in. Like my fellow-journalists, I too was watching from the window of the Observer end of Lake House building, facing Regal Theatre directly.

The coalition of Mrs. Bandaranaike and the Marxists had won, despite Lake House campaigning against them, and their pumped-up mob had decided to demonstrate their power opposite Lake House. They were in an aggressive mood to get even with Lake House. Fortunately, they didn’t come in that day. They raided Lake House on a subsequent day and ran berserk, burning precious books and rare back numbers of newspapers. After that came the deluge. It was the beginning of the full frontal attack on free media. What began as a mob attack later developed into a massive assault on free media with the state moving with full legal force to take full control of the historic institution. Denzil Peiris, Editor of The Observer, and I received life-threatening phone calls. We had to go into hiding. Eventually, we had to flee the country we loved.

The MTV footage told me that Ranil was repeating Mrs. B’s history, this time as a pathetic comedy. In Sri Lanka the characteristics and the objectives of violence seldom change. Only the parties that initiate, engineer and perpetrate the violence change. Sri Lankan history becomes so predictable and boring because it repeats itself so often. The three UNP events listed above are not much different from the SLFP-Marxist violence against the media. They stand out as a unique snap shot – or is it a close-up?  — of the prevailing pernicious political culture in  Sri Lanka directed currently by the UNP. MTV footage is also notable for  one other aspect : it is a rare reality show that has captured the thuggery and piety, moving together on parallel lines in a symbiotic relationship, one feeding the other.

The filmic evidence links the head of the government, either directly or indirectly, to a violent mob in the streets. In the opening shots it showed a die-hard UNP henchaiya of Ranil, Kithsiri Rajapakse, leading the mob against MTV. In the next scenes the story takes a tragi-comic turn when the cameras caught the UNP henchaiya, Rajapakse, standing right behind Ranil at Gangaramaya, offering his thanks, with hands put together, for his master’s victory in Parliament.

In a politically charged situation when a wing of a political party operating violently in the streets join hands in a politically sensitive religious centre to offer prayers together with the highest leadership of the land what is the message that  is delivered to the nation? Does it mean that Ranil has tamed another Angulimala? Or does it mean Ranil and Rajapakse (No pun intended!) are both taking refuge behind the yellow robes to cover-up their street violence?

The TV images needed no commentary. When the leader of a violent gang joined his leader in thanksgiving prayers, the TV footage spoke eloquently of the politics behind the thuggery. To this day Ranil Wickremesinghe, the leader of the UNP, has neither condemned publicly the violation of the laws of the land by his henchaiya, nor has the UNP leader apologised to MTV for threatening the journalists – an act which the Yahapalana-ya-kos swore never to do when they condemned the previous Rajapaksa regime.

Needless to say, the UNP henchaiyas of the Prime Minister, who threatened the TV journalists, were making a political statement. First, the underworld henchaiyas linked to the UNP were making a public demonstration of their loyalty to the Prime Minister. They were signalling that their violence at MTV is the pay-back for consistently exposing the Bond Scam” which began with Ranil importing his Singaporean henchman, Arjuna Mahendra, who ganged up with his in-laws to rob the Sri Lankan Central Bank.

Second, they were demonstrating that they could get away with pro-UNP thuggery because they have the protection  of the ruling  party. Third, they know that they are among the protected species like Ravi Karunanayake and Arjuna Mahendra who can get away with blue murder. Some of them have confessed publicly that they were acting under the instructions of the Prime Minister.

For instance, his Singaporean protégé, Arjuna Mahendran, told the Presidential Commission that he acted under the instructions of the Prime Minister. This confession puts the responsibility for the underhand wheeler-dealings of the Bond Scam”, fairly and squarely, on the shoulders of Ranil. The evidence in  the Presidential Commission Inquiry points the finger to Ranil. The damning  evidence robs Ranil of the last two vestiges of respectability that were attached to his name. Well, if the biggest daylight robbery at the Central Bank occurred under his stewardship (and instructions”) of Ranil, aided and abetted by his handpicked henchman, the Governor of the Central Bank, he can no longer be rated as either (1) Mr. Clean” or as (2) the best economic manager”, eh?

Besides, the sly nudge-and-wink he gave as the green light for the overall operations of the robbery at the Central Bank, on the one hand, and the thuggery on the streets, on the other, will not – I repeat NOT — add to his glory. Neither has it gone down well with the voters as seen in the recent local government elections, nor will it get any marks in history books to come. Ranil clearly has fallen from grace into the pathala lokaya” and not all the king’s men and horses can lift him above the crooked rest in his camp.

Which apologist can cook up an excuse to white-wash the role of a known thug joining the Prime Minister at prayers at Gangaramaya immediately after leading his gang to attack critics of the UNP?  It cannot be dismissed as a coincidence or another bit of cynical drama that occurs in every corner of Sri Lankan politics these days. More than the irony, hypocrisy and the cynicism, it is the horror of a thug closely associated with Ranil, standing beside him as his guardian deity at Gangaramaya, which sends shock waves down the spine. At what point of political morality does Kithsiri Rajapakse standing next to Ranil as his help-karaya” justify his commitment to the Lichchvai principles – the oft quoted political mantra of Ranil?

The TV footage also questions whether Ranil is taking refuge in the Triple Gems or in Kithsiri Rajapkase? Or is Ranil saying that he is keeping Rajapakse in the background in case the deities at Gangaramaya fail him?

Ranil combines in his person the twin roles of the Prime Minister and the Presidency of his party, both of which carry the responsibilities of providing security to all citizens of the nation, including the media. As Prime Minister it is his duty to uphold law and order of the country. If he is to deliver the principles he promised in the Yahapalanaya manifesto there is no way that he could be with Rajapakse. (Repeat: No pun intended). Besides, how does he propose to run a fair, just and stable government from Temple Trees” when in the nearby streets thugs allied to him are running amok?

As head of the UNP it is also his duty to control his rank-and-file, particularly those close to him, to inspire confidence in a nation recovering from a destructive war. How can the people place confidence in Ranil when Ranil has placed his confidence in his gangs? Then there is his role as the Asian Head of the IDU which makes it incumbent upon him to use all his powers to guarantee the rights of media to act freely.

Above all, he comes from the Wijewardene-Wickremesinghe families – two iconic families that not only laid the foundations for free media but also fought the greatest battles against the state to protect and preserve the rights of free media. I know the trials and tribulations of those agonising times because I was then a foot-soldier in the frontline of those battles. Ranil’s father, Esmond Wickremesinghe, was awarded the Golden Pen by the IPU for his courageous leadership.

Ranil inherited the moral and political duty to protect the rights of the media from the paternal and maternal sides. His grandfather, D. R. Wijewardene, was the pioneering media mogul, who introduced the nation to mass media and, through it, defined the future of the nation as an integrated, undivided entity that belongs to all those who call it  their home. His mother was steeped in the nationalist traditions that fostered the Sinhala-Buddhist roots.

Perhaps, Ranil’s ambition in his early life to be a journalist was minspired by his father’s courageous stand against the state. With all this familial background what excuse has he for praying at Gangaramaya with a thug who led the attack on MTV? Of course, there is no bar for even fascist killers like Rohana Wijeweera and Velupillai Prabhakaran to pray at Gangaramaya with Ranil. The issue here is not the right of anyone to pray at Gangaramaya but the licence given to one of Ranil’s henchaiyas to attack the media in the streets near Gangaramaya. What is the message he is conveying to the journalists who dare to oppose him? Isn’t he saying: If you come after me I’m going to come after you?”

There seems to be a pattern emerging from the latest act of UNP thuggery at MTV. The pattern highlights Ranil’s links to the underworld. In the beginning it was Gonawila Sunil who was Ranil’s loyal sidekick. It is well known that this convicted rapist of a 13-year-old girl was close to Ranil. It is also well-known that Gonawila managed to get out of jail without serving his full term with the blessings of Ranil. After he came out he was even showered with a JP. One fine day, when Gonawila was becoming an embarrassment to all concerned, he went up in smoke. Boom! That was the end of Ranil’s Gonawila.

He was replaced by a young sub-inspector, Sudath Chandrasekera, who was stationed in Batalanda – the notorious killing field during the JVP reign of terror. He served Ranil as his Personal Assistant / Man Friday for 33 and in his recent letter of resignation – a sensitive and critical document that exposes his master’s character – he reveals how his gang hammered the anti-Ranil forces marching from Matara with cinnamon sticks. Describing himself as red-lipped catamite” of Ranil he says that he risked his life for Ranil and without his attack with cinnamon sticks on the opposition Ranil would not be sitting in PM’s chair today.

Now that Sudath has resigned Rajapakse seems to have stepped into his place. He not only leads attacks on Ranil’s media critics he also puts up massive posters of his master, with him posing as Sancho Pancho in a bottom corner of the poster. It is clear that behind the façade of Ranil’s respectability (Mr. Clean”?) is a dark underworld that does the dirty work for him.

Ranil began his attack on the media by picking on selected journalists who had refused to toe his line and labelling them with crude name-calling. He called them frogs” and cows” etc.. Taking cover from the privileged position in Parliament he looks up at the Press gallery and hurls abuse at non-conformist journalists. His war against the media is like Prabhakaran’s war: any donkey could wage it. It’s a futile war. He should know by now that he can’t win wars against the media unless he becomes a dictator. Using his UNP thugs to attack the media shows signs of escalating his war against the media. Better leaders than him who waged war against the media have come and gone But, as he knows, the war he has declared on the media is not  going to make him a winner. He will have will have better chances if he leaves the media alone and gets down to mind his own bloody business.

3 Responses to “Ranil’s futile war with the media”

  1. Christie Says:

    How funny a man who worked for a Sinhalese conglomerate batting for a Media conglomerate run by Indian Colonial Parasites.

    What Capital Maharaja doing now is to mislead the masses in particular the Sinhala masses.

    They did nothing when fraud occurred.

    They are politicizing a financial fraud committed by another Indian Colonial Parasite.

  2. ranjit Says:

    Ranil wickremesinghe is a manipulator, fraudster and a traitor. People never liked this guy but because of the party he represents won him the premiership post for couple of times. He never loved this nation but love himself and power. Though he’s is a Sinhalese he loves white man and their habits more than anything else. He is not a poor man’s leader but a leader for high class and westernised way of life. He and his party openly associate with underworld mafia in Colombo district. He should not be allowed to live freely for what he has done to our nation and to the citizens of motherlanka. He allowed an outsider to loot the central bank of Sri Lanka and escape. This white collar thief should be answerable and punished without any pardon. This unpatriotic guy and Sirisena/Chandrika combined made our country upside down by their stupid undemocratic actions and decisions on the political issues concerns our country. Their time is over. We need a solid corrupt free government with solid people who loves this nation particularly and a strong statesman to lead for a better future.

  3. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    Most of the Sri Lankan media is run by traitor anti Buddhist, anti Sinhalese, anti Sri Lanka UNPatriotic_rats party
    henchmen. So the traitor chief die hard catholic token Buddhist Mega Thief Mega Thakkadiya walking crime bomb with
    the timer set for 10-20 years Bay gal karaya Batalande Wadakaya Pol Pot [email protected] wickrama Sinhala killer most of the
    time get away with murder. It’s the internet the psychopath at war with.

    Batalande wadakaya got away with mass
    murder in Batalande camp with its catholic buddy top brass police and top brass deshapaluwan thanks to its henchmen
    in printed media which made sure to keep public in the dark. Wadakaya & co also managed to sacrifice 100,000+
    Sinhalese to its catholic buddy barrel man hitler mala paharan and its catholic tigers of tamil drealam saying the war
    was unwinnable. Then the printed media kept the public in the dark with anti Buddhist, anti Sinhalese, anti Sri Lanka
    traitor UNPatriotic_rats other Sinhalese murdering project for 6 years during he bheeshana samaya. Then the printed
    media kept the wadakaya and its catholic mafia’s day light robbery at the CB. What’s more Wadakaya kept its catholic
    buddy maha horandran till the last minute to fool Sinhala modayas and let the fat thief out of the country hours to
    spare.

    Batalande Wadakaya’s henchmen at printed media greatly helped the Wadakaya’s course of destroying Sinhalese,
    Sri Lanka and Buddhism to please its ardent supporters tamils, mussies, catholics and catholic west. But it is the
    internet which the traitor low life Wadakaya finding most difficult to control. Being a token Buddhist wadakaya hasn’t
    learnt that important lesson nobody can oppress people forever! Hitler, stalin, sadman hussein, paedo gadaffi,
    traitor alugosuwa (to Sinhalese only) lk [email protected] porisada, etc. etc. None of these saw their ends peacefully! What’s in
    store for Wadakaya? Surely it’s going to be hellish since wadakaya’s hand are soaked with Sinhalese blood, pockets
    are full of stolen money, mouth is full of lies, head is full of hatred towards its own people. A psychopath in every
    sense of the word!

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