YAHAPALANA AS A PUPPET REGIME Pt 14(B) REVISED
Posted on November 6th, 2019

KAMALIKA PIERIS

REVISED 6.11.19

Yahapalana tried various tactics to rouse the population. Police were encouraged to be aggressive. Here is one instance is shown on television news in April 2018. At Eppawela, the whole village turned out to object to the return of the Viharadhipati of Nallamudawa Sri Sailabimbarama Raja Maha vihara, because he had misbehaved. Police arrived and started hitting villagers with poles. Television cameras showed women battling with the police. Seven persons including women were arrested. The OIC of Eppawela police station was shown on camera, emerging with a pole and hitting a woman. He was later suspended.

Unfortunately for Yahapalana the public reacted with the aggressiveness of their own. In December 2018, angry residents of Gomadiya surrounded the Katuwana police station accusing the police of assaulting and killing a man.  The police had gone to his house, pulled him out and assaulted him, asking for information about an illicit liquor den. A thousand or so villagers went to the police station that night, shouted at the police and threw stones. The STF rushed in and brought them under control with tear gas and baton charge. This was shown on television news.

Even the Easter Sunday bomb blast did not create the shock reaction that the USA expected. The USA forgot that this was not the first bomb blast for Sri Lanka.  It was the worst certainly, but not the first. Instead of getting rattled and losing its head, as the USA expected, Sri Lanka simply became more furious and even more determined to get Yahapalana out. Parents were told to come to school to protect their children from future bombs. They were indignant.

The intelligentsia looked at the bomb blasts from the legal angle. They wanted to know who was to blame. They were so angry that Yahapalana had no alternative but to set up commissions of inquiry. Facts emerged and the public pounced on them.

Attorney General told the Colombo High Court that the State Intelligence Service had submitted 347 reports on Zahran Hashim and National Thowheed Jama’ath to IGP Pujitha Jayasundara and former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando from 2016  onwards.  Deputy Solicitor General told the court that 131 of the reports on Zahran Hashim and the NTJ were directed to the IGP while 97 of them were submitted to the former Defence Secretary. In September 2019, the public demanded that the IGP and Defense Secretary be arrested.

There is great rejoicing,  today, about the ‘Failed coup’ of October 2018. If Mahinda Rajapaksa had continued at Prime Minister after October 2018, the Easter Sunday Bomb explosions would not have been allowed to happen.

Three groups feature prominently in Yahapalana rule, they are the ‘civil society’, the ‘Yahapalana killer breed’ and the Maha Sangha.

The so-called ‘civil society’  has been given a less dignified label, by the Sangha, who call them  ‘NGO karayas’. The NGO community/civil society played a significant role in the Yahapalana government’s overall strategy said A.J.M. Mussamil, former Mayor of Colombo. 

Chandraprema observed that the blood-thirstiest and most vindictive calls to put the Rajapaksas behind bars by any means possible came from the so-called members of ‘civil society’  and so-called liberal intellectuals associated with the Yahapalana project through foreign-funded NGOs.

This so-called ‘civil society’ has now come out into the open. Civil society organizations were present at JVP 2019 Presidential nomination ceremony at Galle Face, Colombo. ‘” Those on the platform included left-wing progressive political parties and civil society organizations,’ reported the media.

In October 2019, the Civil Society and Trade Unions Collective including over fifty trade unions and civic action groups from across the country met at a convention in Colombo and pledged to support the  2019 presidential candidacy of Sajith Premadasa. A slew of pro-democracy civil society organizations declared their support for UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa at the forthcoming presidential elections reported the  media.” Gamini Viyangoda said, We are civil society organizations, unconnected to the UNP, but we find freedom through the UNP camp.”

In addition to ‘civil society’ , the nation is now waking up to the fact that there is a particular segment of society that is promoting the  US occupation of Sri Lanka.   There was a cartoon in the newspapers, of the island of Sri Lanka carved into three pieces, each held by India, USA, and China. The cartoon showed Ranil Wickremesinghe and President  Sirisena standing by and laughing.

The country has now divided into those who wish to protect the country and those who wish to cut it into bits, said, critics.  The elitist Colombo still thinks that the world is dominated by the west and is happy to be servile and subservient to these powers. They do not believe in the capability for the native sons of the soil, said, critics.

This pro-Yahapalana group comes from a certain social class, critics observed.  They are sleek, good looking and well-fed. They are smooth-talking. Nothing fazes them. They do not hesitate to commit white-collar crimes. These white-collar crimes were well known in mercantile circles but became known to the general public only with the Bond scam. ‘Maha bankuwe horakama kele tie dala ingirisien kathakarana aya’ said the public. The bond probe has shown us that the rich don’t steal bread. They raid the bakery, added others.

This group can be described as a killer breed. They are insensitive to suffering. They do not mind if the farmers starve or commit suicide. They were openly indifferent to the Easter Sunday Bomb blasts. People were shocked at their ‘grinning behavior‘on television.

Yahapalana government has led to the political mobilization of the Maha Sangha in a manner never seen before. The last time the Sangha tried to influence events was in 1956. The Bhikkhu Peramuna of 1956 was ridiculed, especially by the confident non–Buddhist elite of the time. In 2019, it is different.

 The Maha Sangha have emerged as articulate and fearless opponents of Yahapalana. It is difficult to push them aside. They are citizens of Sri Lanka and are entitled to all rights of citizens. This includes the right to vote. That is an inalienable right. The right to vote carries with it the right to participate in politics as well.

The most recent gathering of the Maha Sangha was a special meeting of the Samastha Lanka Sasana Sangha samuluwa in Kelaniya on October 22, 2019. Television camera showed rows and rows of saffron-clad bhikkhus, looking, as usual, very grim. Kelaniya Vice-Chancellor Ven. Induragare Dhammarathana had arranged the meeting.

 He said that this was a very crucial election. Think of it as a multiple-choice question, where you have to tick off the best answer. The best answer is not Ranil Wickremesinghe or Sajith Premadasa. It is Gota. Medagoda Abeyatissa said that the bhikkhus had a historical right to involve themselves in politics.  I have shown that they have a modern right to do so as well.

Yahapalana’s rule was intended to crush the public. Instead, it has acted as a wakeup call. It is  Sri Lanka’s first wake up call.  Until now, Sri Lanka was dozing. The country needed this shakeup. The people needed this shakeup,” said Chandraprema.

The jarringly woken up public is now in a  hurry. They want, among other things,  national policies for everything. Foreign policy,   economy, trade, trade agreements, professional services, foreign ownership, the lot. They are now objecting to political interference in state administration as well. This is most unusual. Until now, no one objected to political interference, because everybody secretly hoped to make use of this loophole to advance themselves or their family.

Sri Lanka Administrative Service Association staged a two-day sick note campaign in September 2019, demanding, inter alia, an end to political interference in their official work. They want the strict implementation of established criteria on recruitment, transfers, and promotions. Recruitment, transfers, and promotions should be done based on established criteria and not because someone is known to this or that minister, they said. This is some ‘Wake up call’, commented analysts.

Yahapalana rule has also led to strong resistance at the local level where earlier there was none. In November 2018, residents of Kaladiya staged a protest opposite a factory where discarded iron is smelted saying it caused environmental pollution. Residents of Kalumulla, Marawila staged a protest in January 2019 against an attempt by a leading poultry farm to open another farm on a 50 acre land at Mahawewa. I cannot recall ever hearing of such protests before.

The silver lining in this saga of corruption in high-level Government, especially with the Central Bank bond scam as the focus,  said observers, is that there were upright officials of the Central Bank who objected. Whistleblowers within the Bank gave the stories to the media while the then Governor tried desperately to stop the leaks by checking on mobile phone calls and then effecting mass transfers of staff, reported the media. In contrast, there were also many public officers, mentioned by name, who had knowingly helped in   Yahapalana ‘s corrupt activities, for example, the cows from Australia” project, the export of gold-mixed soil.

However, the diabolical nature of some of the things done by Yahapalana seem to have gone unnoticed. Here are some instances.

Derana news of 3.10 18 reported that the Housing Authority is building a housing scheme bang in the middle of the elephant corridor, where elephants come for water. The location is Kurudana Alimankada  near Mattala, near the 10 milepost close to Katanwewa. Cancer hospital, Maharagama lacked a drug that was needed for cancer patients who could be cured.

Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE)   found that in 2016 an imported cough syrup” which should have been tested on animals, has  instead, been tested on a group of patients who had sought medical treatment from the Ayurvedic Teaching Hospital, Colombo.

President of the Cosmetics Manufacturers’ Association of Sri Lanka (CMAS) said that the Yahapalana government had, soon after coming to power, replaced the Cosmetics Drugs and Devices Authority with National Medicines Regulatory Authority. (NMRA) This had resulted in the market being opened for many cosmetic imports sans any regulation. There are loopholes in the law. Anyone could bring in any type of cosmetics and sell them as they wished. These whitening creams for sale at beauty parlors and shops contained mercury amounts very harmful to the users and the environment. “There is one cream that has 10,000 times more mercury than the permitted amount.

Ministry of Rural Economic Development had imported pregnant milch cows,  which were carrying highly contagious and deadly diseases, which were new to Sri Lanka. The dairy farmers were at the same time advised to get rid of the Sri Lankan animals they already had.

Derana news 14.7.19 showed the drought ravages areas of Rajarata. Villagers at Moragahakanda said on camera, to television news, that all they needed was just one more round of water and their harvest would be ok. The Kaudulla engineer had sent water, but the order had come from high up, to close the sluice.

Residents of Tissapura in Uhana, Ampara spend the night on treetops fearing wild elephants. They have not been issued with firecrackers to drive away the elephants.

A reader wrote to the newspapers in August 2019 saying the Rudra playground in Wellawatte is to be handed over to a contractor to be used for a waste treatment project. Rudra playground, is the only playground available for the recreation of children as well as adults in densely populated Wellawatte, apart from the Peterson playground close to Pamankada. It is used by a large number of area residents including children, nearby schools, youth, elderly and military personnel for their recreational activities daily and is maintained by the Colombo Municipal Council.

The Elevated Highway Project from Rajagiriya to Athurugiriya deserves special mention. This elevated highway was to go over Averihena Lake and surrounding paddy fields. The area concerned had a tank constructed by the Irrigation Department, some paddy fields and a flood retention area.  However, the Central Environment Authority (CEA) objected to the project.

We are unable to approve such a proposal they said. The selected area was a part of the Thalangama wetland which was declared an Environmental Protection Area under the National Environmental Act in 2007.

It is not a natural eco-system, admitted the CEA, but over the years, it has gradually acquired the same status.  This area is important in terms of hydrology and it has rich ecology. The wetland is also the habitat of a large number of bird species. The entire area is rich in scenic beauty. We fear that the proposed elevated highway may damage this sensitive eco-system.” The RDA told us that the elevated highway would not cause much environmental harm since it is constructed over pillars, but it is our opinion that there will be significant damage to the wetland when the construction starts,” CEA said

RDA thereafter proposed an alternative route from Pothuarawa. For this, the government will have to acquire 750 land lots. It requires the resettlement of 1,010 families and the demolishing of about 34 shops, 42 shophouses and 42 self-employed business places. Residents objected. They asked why the RDA chose a highly residential area for this highway. Many families would lose their properties if the proposed elevated highway goes through Pothuarawa.

We cannot understand the rationale of choosing a highly residential area for the project, shedding the initial proposal which would have caused the least social impact, residents said. RDA’s initial proposal to have an elevated highway over the Thalangama wetland will not cause much environmental harm as claimed by the CEA. It is a man-made environment with uncultivated paddy fields, a flood retention area, and even jogging tracks. The lands belong to the Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation (SLLRDC). No private property will be affected if the RDA goes ahead with that plan. Any development project must be designed to cause minimal impact on the people’ they said.

An important result of the Yahapalana rule is the call for a strong leader as President of Sri Lanka. Until now no one wanted a strong leader. They wanted a weak leader who could be pushed around.

Since Mahinda Rajapaksa was disqualified from a third try, the popular choice was his brother, Gotabhaya. Even the prestigious Economist mentioned his name. There is surprising sophistication in the campaign, with the creation of Viyath Maga and  Eliya well before election time. SLFP was not known for this level of sophistication.

Whether or not Gotabhaya wins the election, he has already won the popular vote. That is clear from the huge enthusiastic crowds that attend his election rallies. Crackers were lit when Gota’s nomination was announced. There were crackers also when Premadasa’ s assassination was announced. 

Gotabhaya has better qualifications,  better achievements,  better work experience, and a wider world view,  than all the former Presidents of Sri Lanka, put together said, one observer. Gotabhaya has the discipline and necessary managerial experience to function effectively as  President said another.

Gotabhaya is a decorated military man with experience in commanding troops. That is well known.  He is also a qualified computer professional with work experience in that field too. Gotabhaya worked as a computer engineer in the IT department of Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California. This gave him valuable exposure to the west. His ideas for beautifying Colombo probably came from what he saw in  Southern California, said, observers.

Gotabhaya has shown at two very different levels that he can deliver the goods.  First a military victory and then extensive urban improvement. There was a third factor as well. Gotabhaya also came to the rescue of projects in distress, probably using his position as a brother to President. Here is one instance.

Archeologists had found an ancient boat at Godawaya and had signed an agreement with a foreign country,  to do research on it. The foreign country said the boat now belonged to them, and chased away the local researchers.  When all other avenues failed, the local researchers ran to Gotabhaya who put a stop to the matter.

The public, especially the intelligentsia have linked Yahapalana with the USA. They spoke of the ‘USA led conspiracy that installed the present government’. They said, ‘the government is pursuing a Western agenda and is hell-bent on destabilizing post-war Sri Lanka’.

 Yahapalana government is following a course of action that is likely to result in a foreign-dominated, bankrupt dependent economy that places enormous burdens on the people, and destroys Sri Lanka’s independence and sovereignty, making us a semi-colony of the USA and its allies,   said Tissa Vitarana.

It is now clear that the West has given three instructions to the Yahapalana government, (a) weaken the state, (b) ruin the economy and (c) crush the people. Then a dissatisfied, angry, restless community will be created, who will be encouraged to protest. A state of chaos will result. The west will then be able to move in, probably using R2P Right to protect”.  ( See appendix)

Yahapalana government was seen as the run-up to yet another bout of foreign rule. When Yahapalana took power in 2015, there was an immediate comparison with  1815. Sri Lanka is definite that it does not want another bout of foreign rule. They think that three rounds of it, Portuguese, Dutch and British is more than enough. They do not want to be under the USA.

There is also no longer any great regard for the USA either. At a conference in Colombo, which I attended,   a participant got up and said that he thinks the USA is a fine country and is better than China. The audience laughed.  Now that  India has linked with the USA, India is no longer respected either. Analysts are puzzled as to why India would allow the USA to station an aircraft carrier in Trincomalee. The USA could then literally, turn their guns on India.

There was initially the possibility that the Bay of Bengal, with Sri Lanka in it, would be the center of the next war. The media carried a cartoon of USA, UK, India and China warships converging on Sri Lanka.

It is now unlikely that there will be a war in the Indian Ocean between the USA and China. China does not plan to come all the way to the Indian Ocean to fight  America. The days when wars were fought while bobbing up and down in boats on the sea are also now over. China plans to bomb America directly, flying over the Pacific Ocean to do so.

Thanks to the USA, there is now a silent tilt to China. The link with China is seen as a natural one for Sri Lanka  Cordial diplomatic relations between the Sinhala king and the Chinese emperor were in existence in ancient and medieval times. China is offering trillions of dollars that no other country can match, but they do not bully us. When the west helps it leads to bankruptcy as in the case of Greece, said analysts. Analysts point out that a country should link, if at all, with the rising power, China and not with the fading power, USA. (continued)

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