Lancet study places Pakistan on 154th position, India 145th position behind China (48), Sri Lanka (71) in healthcare

May 25th, 2018

According to the Lancet study, Pakistan ranks 154th among 195 countries in terms of accessibility and quality of healthcare, far behind its South Asian counterparts India, Bangladesh, and Sri-Lanka.

The study carried out by renowned journal The Lancet says that Pakistan has improved in health care access and quality since 1990.

Pakistan’s Health Access Quality (HAQ) index increased from 26.8 in 1990 to 37.6 in 2016. But despite these improvements, it still lagged behind India, which ranks 145th, China (48), Sri Lanka (71), Bangladesh (133) and Bhutan (134).

According to the report, Pakistan performed badly in handling tuberculosis, diarrhoeal diseases, neonatal diseases, uterine cancer, and leukemia, among others.

The Lancet study used an index to measure the quality and accessibility of healthcare, based on 32 causes of death that are preventable with effective medical care.

The five countries with the highest levels of healthcare access and quality (in 2016) were Iceland (97.1 points), Norway (96.6), the Netherlands (96.1), Luxembourg (96.0), and Finland and Australia (each with 95.9).

The countries with the lowest scores were the Central African Republic (18.6), Somalia (19.0), Guinea-Bissau (23.4), Chad (25.4), and Afghanistan (25.9).

 

China to Build LNG-Fueled Power Plant at Hambantota

May 25th, 2018

BY MAREX 

On Wednesday, Sri Lanka’s development and trade minister Malik Samarawickrama confirmed that Chinese investors have been cleared to build a $700 million natural gas-powered electrical station in the Chinese-run port of Hambantota. He first announced plans for Chinese state-owned engineering company Sinomach to build the plant earlier this month. The 400-gigawatt power plant will be fueled with LNG.

According to local media, Samarawickrama also noted China’s growing importance on the world stage, and suggested that his government intended to cooperate fully with Beijing’s “Belt and Road” development strategy.

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The plans for the new power plant follow several months after China Merchants Port Holding took over operations of the Port of Hambantota. This $1.1 billion concession agreement, signed last July, was negotiated in exchange for a reduction in Sri Lanka’s heavy burden of debt to Chinese banks. Under ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka borrowed billions from China to finance projects at Hambantota, including a commercially unsuccessful airport and a little-used four-lane highway. Due to these loans and others, Sri Lanka’s government now spends an estimated 80 percent of its revenue repaying its loans.

Hambantota is directly adjacent to the busiest east-west shipping lanes crossing the Indian Ocean, but it has not enjoyed commercial success since its opening in 2010. India and the United States have expressed concern that since the port appears to lack commercial viability, China may not intend to use it for merchant shipping, but rather as a naval base. Sri Lanka has worked to allay these concerns: in announcing the deal last year, ports minister Mainda Samarasinghe promised that “no naval ship, including Chinese ones, can call at Hambantota without our permission.”

China continues to provide Sri Lanka with loans and direct investments. In April, state-owned China Communication Construction Company (CCCC) announced that it will invest $800 million in an underground road network in Colombo’s Port City, a CCCC-operated land reclamation and construction project that is already worth $1.4 billion. In addition, the state-owned Export-Import Bank of China has agreed to lend Sri Lanka $1 billion for the construction of a new highway from Colombo to Kandy, the nation’s second-largest city.

Sri Lanka accepts $1 billion, eight-year syndicated loan from China Development Bank

May 25th, 2018

COLOMBO (Reuters) – Sri Lanka has accepted an eight-year China Development Bank $1 billion syndicated loan to repay loans maturing this year, two top Finance Ministry officials said on Friday.

The bank was chosen from among four bidding for the loan, which the government plans to use towards repaying other loans, one official told Reuters.

All three others had three-year tenure and only China Development Bank had a bid for an eight-year tenure. The effective rate of return is around 5.3 percent,” the official said.

It was a good offer. The loan has a three-year grace period. Then in the next five years, the government will be repaying $100 million biannually.”

Another ministry official confirmed the deal.

The new borrowing comes after Sri Lanka raised a record $2.5 billion via two tranches of sovereign bonds last month.

The government is also preparing to refinance big debts that fall due up to 2022, with the start this year of repayments on expensive infrastructure foreign loans.

The government has blamed colossal borrowing” by the previous government for the spike in debt servicing.

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said last week the debt crisis would further worsen next year, when $4.3 billion has to be paid for debt servicing in 2019. Some 77 percent of the next year repayments are for debts obtained by the previous government, he said.

Sri Lanka, which has a $87 billion economy, expects foreign currency outflows of $6.35 billion in the next 12 months including loans, securities, and deposits, compared with the current $9.1 billion in foreign exchange reserves, according to the latest official central bank data.

The cabinet has approved plans to borrow some $5 billion in 2018 to refinance the debts due this year.

The island nation plans overall net foreign borrowing of 300 billion Sri Lankan rupees ($1.90 billion) this year, 9.1 percent lower than 2017, budget data showed

Treasury bond scams: Dayasiri admits receiving Rs. 1 mn from firm under probe …urges AG to reveal names of others who had taken money from Aloysius

May 25th, 2018

By Saman Indrajith Courtesy The Island

UPFA MP Dayasiri Jayasekara yesterday admitted in Parliament that he received one million rupee Cheque from Walt & Row Associates.

Making a statement in Parliament he said that there had been a newspaper report to the effect that he had obtained the cash cheque from Walt & Row associated with Perpetual Treasuries.

He said he did nothing wrong in accepting the funds which he had used for his electioneering to seek a Parliament seat. Jayasekara said that he was the Chief Minister of Wayamba Province when the sponsor money was given to him.

“Not only those who are in Parliament, or provincial councillors, but the trader in the village helps the Pradeshiya Sabha member. “That is how the country’s politics work. Therefore, some of the businessmen do help us, they have done so even at the Provincial Council elections, General Elections and the Presidential Elections as well. It is traditional that the business community helps politicians at every election,” Jayasekara said.

He however noted that he was not a COPE Committee member at the time and was appointed to parliament only on August 17, 2015.

He said that the news report stated that based on a statement given to the CID by a police officer who was attached to Jayasekara’s security in 2015, on June 13, 2015 Jayasekara had asked his security officer, Amila Kumara Herath, to encash a cash cheque (Bearing number 566635) which was issued by Walt & Row Associates (under the current account number 0073900773). The said security officer had told the CID that he had encashed the cheque from a Kurunegala Bank and handed the Money ‘in cash’ to Jayasekara.

Jayasekara said that at every instance he had stood up against Arjun Mahendran’s illegal acts both at the COPE Committee and the parliament. “Hence, what is important is who we represented and in this instance, this cheque is not one that was written in my name. I inquired about this but have no recollection of who gave it and who encashed it. I am truly unaware if Arjun Aloysius had signed this cheque or who had signed it. But we had encashed this cheque and utilised that money for our election campaign,” Jayasekara admitted in parliament yesterday joining the parliamentary debate over several orders under the Appropriation Act.

He said there were many who had taken money from Arjun Aloysius and he could reveal those names and urged authorities to take measures to reveal the identities of those who had accepted money from Arjun Aloysius and table in parliament the balance 3000 page report on the Bond scam.

He said that he had never worked to safeguard Arjun Aloysius and clear him from the allegations the latter faced.

This is a smear campaign that has been unleashed against him after he and 15 others had opted to step out of the government, he said

“We have not taken money from Arjun Aloysius and tried to protect him. I never wrote books on the Bond scam and never went to court on behalf of Arjun Aloysius and neither represented him nor tried to stop the investigation,” he added.

මගේ පාසල් කාලයේදී උපකාරක පන්තිවලට ගියේ නැහැ

May 25th, 2018

උපුටාගැණීම  මව්බිම

අද පවතින මේ සමාජ තලය තුළ ජාතියක් ගොඩනැඟෙන්නේ ගුරුවරුන් දරුවන්ට සලකන ආකාරය අනුවයි. හොඳින් විභාගය සමත් වන විවිධ කුසලතාවන් හැකියාවන්, දක්ෂතාවන් පෙන්වන දරුවන් පමණද අවධානයට යොමුවන්නේ. මා සිතන ආකාරයට විභාග ජයගන්න කුසලතාවන් හැකියාවන් පෙන්වන දරුවන්ට වඩා විභාග ජය ගැනීමට බැරි කුසලතාවක් හැකියාවක් නැති දරුවන් කෙරෙහි වැඩි අවධානයක් යොමු කළ යුතු බව ජනාධිපති මෛත්‍රිපාල සිරිසේන බිංගිරිය වයඹ ජාතික අධ්‍යාපන විද්‍යාපීඨයේ පැවැති උත්සවයකදී පැවැසීය.

වකුගඩු රෝග නිවාරණය පිණිස ජනාධිපති කාර්ය සාධක බළකාය මඟින් බිංගිරිය වයඹ ජාතික අධ්‍යාපන විද්‍යාපීඨයේ ඉදිකරන ලද ජල ප්‍රතිආශ්‍රැත කරන පද්ධතිය ගුරු-සිසු අයිතියට පත් කරමින් ඒ මහතා මේ බව පැවැසීය.

බිංගිරිය වයඹ ජාතික අධ්‍යාපන විද්‍යාපීඨ ශ්‍රවණාගාරයේ 23දා පැවැති උත්සවය අමතමින් වැඩිදුරටත් කතා කළ ජනාධිපතිවරයා මෙසේද පැවැසීය.

අද අපි ජීවත්වන්නේ ශීඝ්‍රයෙන් විනාශය කරා යන රටකයි. අන්තර්ජාල, දුරකථන පහසුකම් ඇතුළු නොයෙකුත් සන්නිවේදන මෙවලම්වලින් දියුණු වන රටක සමාජයට කොයි තරම් අභියෝගවලට මුහුණ දීමට සිදුවෙලා තිබෙනවාද?

අද වන විට ගුරු වෘත්තිය වෘත්තියක් පමණක් හැටියට සලකන යුගයක් වුවත් එදා වෘත්තිය විදියට නොව සේවයක් විදියට සැලකුවා. දේශපාලනඥයන්, රාජ්‍ය නිලධාරීන්, ගුරුවරුන්, ව්‍යාපාරිකයන් හැම විටම සමාජයට දෙන ආදර්ශය, ගෞරවය, පිළිගැනීම හැම විටකම සමාජයට වටිනවා. අධ්‍යාපන අමාත්‍යාංශයට අයත් පාසල් විශාල ප්‍රමාණයක් තිබෙනවා. පාසල්වල සේවය කරන ගුරුවරුන් අතරින් සියයට අටක් නමයක් පමණ පිරිසක් ගුරු සේවයට සුදුසු අය නොවන බව වාර්තා වුණා. මේ රටේ රාජ්‍ය සේවකයන් ලක්ෂ 14ක් පමණ සිටිනවා. මේ ආකාරයට රාජ්‍ය සේවයේ යෙදී සිටින අය පිළිබඳ සමීක්ෂණයක් කළොත් පැහැදිලි වාර්තාවක් ලබාගත හැකි වෙනවා. පවතින අභියෝග අපි පැහැදිලිවම තේරුම් ගත යුතුයි. මගේ පාසල් කාලය තුළ මම කවදාවත් උපකාරක පන්තියකට ගිහින් නැහැ. ගුරු සේවය ගැන කතා කරන විට ජනාධිපතිවරයෙක් වීම දක්වා මගේ මතකයේ තිබෙනවා. සමහර විට අපිට පාසල්වලින් නොසැලකුණු අවස්ථා තිබෙනවා.

ගුරු වෘත්තිය, ගුරු සේවය කියන්නෙ රටක අනාගතය පිළිබඳ පූර්ණ වගකීමක් ලබාදෙන වෘත්තියක් විදියට සලකන්න පුළුවන්. ඒ වගේම තවත් වෘත්තියක් අතර දෙවැනි නොවන සේවයක්ද වෙනවා.

WHY DO PEOPLE HATE POLITICIANS SO MUCH?

May 25th, 2018

By Dr. Tilak S. Fernando Courtesy Ceylon Today

A couple  of old news items that have gone viral  on the internet,  hit the writer’s mail box too, the other day based on Indian politics, which are very much congruent with the current Sri Lankan political culture. One incident reported by ANI/TW on 23 November 2017, described how a passenger, a female doctor named Dr. N. Nirala, at Imphal Airport shouting at the Indian Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, K.J. Alphons, due to her flight getting delayed as the VIP was late to arrive at the airport to catch the same scheduled flight (according to an ANI tweet that accompanied a video recording).
She was naturally distraught due to the delay in Minister’s inordinate delay in arriving at the airport, while the plane was held up by the airport authorities until the minister arrived!  She had been waiting impatiently to catch a flight to reach Patna to attend a family funeral on time.  The lambasting had taken place in the presence of a crowd at the airport as   she had become desperate to reach the funeral house in time. She was quoted as shouting at the Minister thus:


The body is lying there, and it will degrade. I am a doctor; I know the body will degrade. It will smell, it is still at my home, I have to go”!  When Minister Alphons, who was also Minister of Tourism, tried to pacify and reassure her, she had interrupted the Minister by insisting to have his assurance in written form”!

The second incident is also a video that goes viral on the social media, though the actual audience or the place where it has taken place is not clear, but it appears to be during a TV discussion, where a female blasts Indian politics and politicians alike, with merciless accusations stating that in India, people are being brainwashed to think often about religion and peoples’ differences only; ‘Muslims are violent, Christians want to convert, and Hindus want to take over”!  She is seen questioning the panel as to who ingrains such nonsensical ideas into the general public’s mind and blames the politicians for such claptrap.  Have you ever heard a Politician or a Cabinet Minister talking about farmers’ problems or jobs,” she argues, and bluntly comes out with the question to a panel that becomes speechless. The Finance Minister and Economic Advisers, she says, are  at loggerheads and making statements to each other, rather than  picking up a  phone to sort out their differences and problems, for the benefit of the people,” she blasts.

When politicians come out with pseudo statements she wants the general public to think seriously and use their brains rationally realize that they are teaching hogwash. Could anyone   recapture of a decent conversation from a politician about the sufferings of the masses,” she questions and states that governments are supposed to supply with good education, a good health system, water and affordable food.

She further adds that even the richest in India don’t have clean air, whilst the citizens have no clean water, no education, no health and no affordable food!  She condemns all politicians who want to talk about religion and cast and emphasizes that politicians are not worried about people sweating out at work to pay taxes. One third of the population, she says, goes to bed without a proper meal and it has to be the politicians business to solve such problems rather than spreading hate amongst the minds of the ordinary people.

Sri Lankan Perspective

In Sri Lanka, taxes do not matter to politicians  as long as they are comfortable in their affairs, getting tax free car permits, duty free petrol, allowances of many a kind as long as they are comfortable. Their main aim is to be egocentric and attempting to manipulate the masses with all kinds of bull, during every election time, in order to come to power. Some sections of their henchmen are engaged in brainwashing and confusing the innocent and untainted minds how to hate the other, either politically, racially or spiritually.  They attempt to stimulate people in a certain way taking for granted that the ordinary citizens are stupid and mere idiots! But in real sense, today people have become much wiser, while politicians are getting exposed to the maximum limits of permissible limits.

What is applicable to India, as she put to the Indian panel on TV, is very much pertinent to Sri Lanka as well. People in this country too need to reject politicians’ balderdash and be able to say them that my religion is not your business and my race is not your problem or my religion does not concern you at all, and would you please mind your own business rather than trying to sell such ideas.”.

A politician’s popularity or rejection by the very people who elect him or her to Parliament depends on his or her ability to justify the ‘sugar-coated’ promises he/she makes at general election platforms, bearing in mind that popularity, honesty, sincerity and simplicity are the basic ingredients required for a politician to survive.

With the amalgamation of two main political parties in Sri Lanka (UNP & SLFP), and the emergence of the new concept of ‘Yahapalanaya’, nearly three years ago, and the incumbent President, Maithripala Sirisena’s brainchild to work in unison as a single team for the benefit and progress of the nation is seen to exhibit evident hairline cracks that are, day after day, seen to become widened into major fissures. How strange is that  the  promises  and undertakings pledged on election campaign platforms now appear to be confined to verbal diarrhoea, as millions of people in this country see on TV these days, but evidently seen as being constipated when it comes to action! The media in the meanwhile take the pun out of such inadequacies and go pal mal with exposures of many a kind of corrupt practices, in the Yahapalanaya regime, embracing nepotism. The two websites, which were banned only a few days ago goes  to show that there is hardly any difference between the Rajapaksa regime, which  was labelled as corrupt and nepotistic, and the  present Yahapalanaya  regime in equal measure, which is repeatedly  becoming  exposed pathetically, under the very nose of the President .

Role Models

The current turbulent political situation in this Dharma Deepa appears to affect not only the citizens of this  country,  but the nature too has taken a rough stand as way of punishment  to whose  have deceived the masses with false promises, but sadly though, it is the poor, and the helpless are getting beaten from all sides.

In the bygone era, Sri Lankan Parliamentarians were gentlemen of prominence and promise, who hailed from respectable families. They were committed to work for the betterment of the nation with affection and dedication, despite having their individual political ideologies, but when it came to national issues, they forgot about their political differences and have stood firm as a team of true patriotic sons of the country..
One segment of the Yahapalanaya, which is the SLFP, is supposed to emulate their founding leader the late S.W.R.D Bandaranaike policies.

SWRD dedicated all his life in politics to fulfil his pledges to the people sincerely by selling all his lands and finally mortgaging his residence at Rosmead Place, Colombo 7.  Wijeyananda Dahanayake came from an ordinary background but set a divine example to parliamentarians of future generations by commuting from Galle to Colombo in a CGR (Ceylon Government Railway) 3rd Class compartment mingling with the commuters as opposed to the present politicians who are hell bent on having luxury limousines worth millions of rupees. Politics and politicians today have become two foul words in the general publics’ vocabulary as some of the present day parliamentarians are minus any such moral qualities of their ancestors, but a degree of vulgar affluence seems to affect them!
Sri Lankan politicians should take a lesson or two from the Singapore PM  Lee’s speech on  18 May 2018 in Parliament, and also the latest and the new Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad, who became  the world’s oldest leader at the age of 92, how to run a country effectively.

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Merger of UNP and JVP with NGOs

May 24th, 2018

By Gomin Dayasiri Courtesy The Daily Mirror

Colloquial Sinhala is an exotic dialect when phrases are enunciated in the vernacular with the input of a smattering Anglo-Saxon linguistics that, leads to-‘Broken English’. Sounds more the railcar ‘burgher-ism’ than an outpouring of intones from the Dutch Burgher Union.

  • Parts of the 19th Amendment are on the verge of being dumped (by none other than Ranil–19A champ)
  • JVP is juxtaposed between constitution making and their inadequate proficiency of the English language
  • Who appointed Sripavan to the Board Room at the Commercial Bank (is it the Government nominees?)
  • Every constitution needs a smart dick with a command of English to act as draftsmen

Parts of the 19th Amendment are on the verge of being dumped (by none other than Ranil–19A champ) stealthily with an eye on the Northern vote. Adversaries gave a rousing farewell in multiple languages to the chants of 19A is down the pallam” [slippery slopes]. That’s pigeon’s droppings and/or a long drive from Suddha Sinhala.

In a nutshell the JVP is juxtaposed between constitution making and their inadequate proficiency of the English language and is killing itself softly by overcoming language deficiencies by turning to the NGO/good governance disciples. They are taking the Sobhitha route without visiting the nearest temple – like eating food with their feet.

‘Don’t blame Ranil too harshly –point the finger at the Supreme Court under Justice Sripavan? gloomier than in the era of smart and silly Sarath Silva. Pronounced it constitutional without holding a referendum- by the ultimate dispassionate arbiter? The mother of all faults lies in depriving the people of their franchise for 4 1/2 years and having to watch a game of musical chairs enacted in Parliament, as Ministers shift chairs in the cabinet room. Who appointed Sripavan to the Board Room at the Commercial Bank (is it the Government nominees?) after the crisis that caused a nation disaster/whereas it required a 2/3 majority and a referendum the judgment allowed the Government to steam roll with a majority? Is it worth a Presidential Commission for the harm caused?

Come 2020, does Tilvin or Vijitha know the finer or raw points in constitution making. They are not shy to deny much knowledge in English but here comes the howler

Clandestine operations are at hand – to re-work virtually the same script – by the same writers [good governance folk] in a fresh dressing led by the gang that contributed to the downfall of Mahinda Rajapakse in 2015; bringing forth the strategically splendid workmanship of Good Governance [GG]. It was a doctrine that was never to be functional! These kids seeking a place in the sun were treated flippantly by the present government after rendering yeoman service in setting the foundation for the electoral triumph. Shaken by inelegant hospitality they severed connections with the present government; now are on the mend by public recognition in becoming the constitution makers in ushering the 20 Amendment [20A]. It’s a reward for the good governance kids entrusted to produce such a premier legislation for the UNP via the JVP – an empty paper that creates no impact – will never see light a the end of the tunnel – as no government will dare to bring forth a bagful of muck with an election too close. Bottom line is that the JVP cannot write good English. Fortunately they know it and the upper echelons of government is not their route to achieve their aspirations. Limitations – JVP are aware, makes them good fodder for lesser office in our lifetime. The draft of 2015 is a historical record for Ranil’s posterity – legacy that smells defeat at the polls whoever propels it. None will, as it remains a JVP born in a union with Ranil.

In a well-coordinated move, the UNP handed the constitutional assignment to the JVP, whose knowledge of English is miniscule? Beggars cannot be choosers; limitations are such, encountered in not knowing English – is an inherent defect in the JVP. Let them find wordsmiths to do better than the work that one man did for the19A. Surely not to be alienated to NGOs? Were they always part of the circus, one wonders?

Such material is not easy to find. Every constitution needs a smart dick with a command of English to act as draftsmen. In 1972 Mrs. Bandaranaike had Colvin R. de Silva and H.L. de Silva; In 1978 J.R. Jayawardane carried brilliant Mark Fernando and able L.C. Seneviratne. Whom did Ranil & Sirisena turn to in seeking advice on the Constitution 2015 – one Jayampathy Wickremaratne emerged a holder of a good certificate issued under the hand of Sarath Silva (If his certificate is of a credible value in the jolly days of Chandrika– if so, JW is indeed a good choice). Come 2020, does Tilvin or Vijitha know the finer or raw points in constitution making. They are not shy to deny much knowledge in English but here comes the howler. They entrusted the assignment to the good governance kids that know a smattering of English but nothing more. Blind leads the blind.

Where have all the good and great UNP lawyers gone? Not gone to seed, surely. Lesser are making the bucks over time, overnight. Others to Commissions and Committees, few to Ministries. Really good and genuine, and indeed the great are at home not hogging the limelight. It is just that ‘Ranil and his Merry Men’ cannot distinguish the good from the bad.

Dayasiri received Rs.1mn from PTL related company

May 24th, 2018

By Shehan Chamika Silva Courtesy The Daily Mirror

According to a further report (B report) filed into the magisterial inquiry over the Bond scam by the prosecution today, it was revealed that UPFA Parliamentarian Dayasiri Jayasekara had received a cheque of Rs.1 million from Walt & Row Associates-a Perpetual Treasuries Ltd related group company in 2015.

According to a statement given by a police officer to the CID, who was attached to Mr. Jayasekara’s security in 2015, it was revealed that, on June 13, 2015 Mr. Jayasekara had asked his security officer, Amila Kumara Herath, to encash a cash cheque (Bearing number 566635) which was issued by Walt & Row Associates (under the current account number 0073900773)

According to the statement of Mr. Herath, he then had encashed the cheque from a Kurunegala Bank and subsequently the Money ‘in cash’ was handed over to Mr. Jayasekara.

Due to the suspicious nature in which Perpetual Treasuries Ltd had transacted with its group companies (W.M. & Mendis and Walt & Row Associates) to encash cheques which had been ultimately lasted with third parties, the prosecution also obtained a court order to the Chief Executive Officer of Walt & Row Associates to provide details about cheque transactions relating to such nature.

A Parliamentarian received ‘cash cheque’ from PTL related company: ASG Kodagoda

Additional Solicitor General Yasantha Kodagoda today said a cash cheque of ‘Walt and Row Associates’ – a group company of Perpetual Treasuries Ltd- amounting to Rs. 1 million, had been encashed by a security officer of a Parliamentarian.

The name of the Parliamentarian which was stated in the B report was not revealed in open courts by the Prosecution.

This was revealed according to a statement given by a police officer to the CID recently, who was attached to the security of the so called Politician.

Elaborating on the suspicious nature in which Perpetual Treasuries Ltd had transacted with its group companies (W.M. & Mendis and Walt & Row Associates) to encash cheques which had been ultimately lasted as money to third parties, ASG Kodagoda revealed another encashment of a cash cheque in similar manner.

ASG Kodagoda said that the investigation had accidentally revealed another similar cheque encashment where an employee of a professional services providing company (Certis Lanka) was interviewed by the CID.

This cheque was also amounting to Rs. 1 million belonging to W.M. & Mendis- a PTL related group company.

It was explained that on behalf of W.M. & Mendis this person had encashed the cheque from a reputed Bank and subsequently the money in cash had been handed over to a third party at the car park of the Bank premises.

The name of this third party was also not revealed in open proceedings by the ASG.

At the onset of the inquiry, ASG Kodagoda also sought necessary court orders in relation to certain details of the secondary market transactions of PTL.

He explained that it was not only about how PTL operated in the Primary Market but also how it dealt within the bond related secondary market.

It was explained that every primary dealer like PTL had to maintain records about their secondary market dealings in both physical nature (as paper works) and in the scriptless computer system contemporaneously with the Central Bank’s computer system (RTGS).

This computer system that primary dealers operate in relation with secondary market deals is installed and maintained generally by a company called Lanka Finance Services Bureau.

In view of identifying whether PTL had fed its secondary transactions properly into the CBSL scriptless system via its computer system provided by LFSB, Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne directed LFSB to provide all details relating to secondary market transactions of PTL including ‘SWIFT messages’ from January 2015 to February 2018.

The Magistrate also directed Geoffrey Aloysius who was the second share holder of PTL to provide all the physical documents that it maintained during all bond transactions to the prosecution.

An open letter to all communal Tamil and Muslim politicians in Sri Lanka  And An appeal to All Sinhalese to unite under one banner, under an unassailable Sinhala leadership, a man like Mahinda Rajapaksa who saved this nation from its virtual subjugation to Tamil terrorists in 2009

May 24th, 2018

Dr Sudath Gunasekara President Senior Citizens Movement Mahanuwara 24. 5.2018

We all know that all right thinking and sane Tamils and Muslims accept that this is the land of the Sinhala people (Sinhaladveepa or Lankadveepa) as it had been known for the past 2500 years or more.  I don’t think there is any debate over that non-negotiable fact by any sensible Tamil or Muslim or any other sane man on earth. They also know that Sinhala Kings and people in the yore have provided safety and security to all ethnic and religious minorities in times of their distress; of course other than in instances where they have openly challenge the formers sovereignty over their motherland. This is what they did to Cholas and Maghas when they invaded northern Lanka from the 2nd century up to the 13th C. When Muslims rushed to King Senarath of Kandy in distress, when they were massacred by the Portuguese in the south western littorals, they were settled in Panamapttuwa and provided safety   by King Senarath on Sinhale land. Muslims were also given lands and accommodated in different parts of the country by all Sinhala Kings to carry on their business safely. They were also given permission to marry Sinhala women. Ungrateful and shameless jihadists like Hakeem who have forgotten history and jump from this party to that party, I am sure will never be pardoned by Allah for the disgraceful manner they behave and betray the Sinhala people who gave them protection accommodation.

Even the South Indian Tamils who were left behind by the invaders in the past or those who came here subsequently for trade or brought by the Dutch and British as labourers to work on their tobacco farms in Jaffna and other menial jobs were absorbed as an integral part of the Sinhala society without any discrimination. But unfortunately all these ungrateful remnants have forgotten their past. Unfortunately they forgot that they were on somebody else’s land and they adopted the proverbial ‘itteye geta Vedunu Kaballeya’s attitude  (Kaballeya-Pangolin) that got in to the den of porcupine and now trying to ousted the porcupine) and now trying to ousted the native Sinhalese and own their country. This in sum is the crust of the present ethnic problem in Sri Lanka. That is why crazy and power hungry Tamil politicians create problems for the Government by asking for self determination and federal status for this bunch of remnants of South Indian invaders. I have no problem in understanding the attitude of savage murderer like Pirabaharan but it is impossible to fathom the behaviour of people like Sambandan and Vignesvaran who are supposed to be educated and cultured.

Looking back to history we find prominent Tamil leaders like Ponnambalam Ramanadanan and Arunachalam in the early 20th C fought side by side with the Sinhala leaders to liberate this country from the British. They never claim for a separate Kingdom at that time. They all stood as one nation, Ceylonese (which simply meant the people of the Sinhale which they accepted), as we were named by the colonial powers as it was the name of this country that was handed over to the British under the Kandyan Convention in 1815. Obviously people of Sinahale were naturally Sinhalese. Ethnically they could be Tamils, Muslims or any other. But none of them could claim to be an Indian or Arab. The country up to 1815 was known as Sinhale or Lanka the world over and no one can contest this fact.   Only on 2nd March 1815 the English named it as Ceylon which again simply means the land of the Sinhalese. As such there was no disagreement between anybody on that issue in the early days. That is why they all together formed the Ceylon National Congress to fight for independence (that is National Congress of Sinhale). The word EELAM, invented by Tigers to call this country also simply meant Sinhale and nothing else. The common South Indian adage ‘EELAM kandavar illam kanukka illei” (A malayali man who sees Lanka or the Sinhale will never come home; word EELAM here means Sinhale) clearly proves the unquenched thirst and greed South Indian hungry Tamils had to conquer this Land throughout history.

The turning point for the split of the Nation began in 1921 when Arunachalam broke away from the Ceylon National Congress to form the Ceylon Tamil Congress thereby dividing the Sinahala nation in to two antagonistic groups as Sinhalese and Tamils for the first time in the history of this country. This was followed by the famous 50, 50 demand by G. G. Ponnambalam in early 1930s and brought to a climax by Chelvanayagam with the formation of Ilankai Tamil Arasukachchi (Lanka Tamil Party), which he dubbed as Federal Party, in 1947. This crazy Tamil communal trend reached its climax with the formation of the separatist militant group LTTE in 1980s adopting the Cholan totem tiger, who waged a barbaric an d savage war against the Sri Lankan Government and peaceful Sinhalese, seeking a separate State called EELAM, paradoxically which also means the Land of the Sinhala people. The initial EELAM Kingdom they conceived as a coastal land covering 1/3 the area of the Island extending from Puttalam in the west to Kataragama in the south eastern end, with 2/3 the coastal belt claiming as the Traditional Homeland of Tamils who constitute less than 5% of the total population of this Island nation. There has never been a historical Tamil Homeland anywhere in this country, other than temporary rule of Sankili the usurper in the Jaffna Peninsula in the early 16th century.

Had the Ceylon National Congress, where all Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim leaders worked together continued until 1948 and the name of the country Sinhale restored at Independence and Tamils had not started their wild communal cry, definitely this country with its enormous resources would have been a paradise on earth by now. Squarely I attribute all the devastations and setbacks since independence to the aforesaid communal and racist approach adopted by Tamil politicians who were brainwashed by the Colonial British. British planted the seeds of communal hatred on this Island to keep the nation divided. Adding further complication to this issue now the Muslims, who were given shelter and security, also claim a distinct nationality and a separate territory as a bunch of ungrateful intruders also have started to add additional fuel to this communal fire. This was started by Ashroff and now continued by people like Hakeem, Rishard Badurdeen and Asad Sali. These idiots always talk of ‘our people’ meaning Muslims. This clearly proves that they serve only Muslim interest.

Added to this the Estate sector Tamils leaders also have started to follow suit by trying to establish a separate identity and  a separate territory -Malayanadu right at the centre of this country. Tamils and Muslims have now joined hands, though they are sworn enemies, in theory, as Tamil speaking people to make things even worse. Adding fuel to the burning fire former colonial power England now led by America and Sri Lanka’s traditional and eternal enemy India have thrown their full weight to destroy the Sinhala Buddhist civilization in this country. This trend is clearly seen with the direct intervention by the Ambassadors of these countries in all the country’s internal matters highlighted by the recent Presidential Election.

The tragedy is that none of the Tamil and Muslim politicians are prepared to accept this country as the land of the Sinhalese. The so-called Sinhala leaders also have miserably failed to assert and get the world to accept that this is the Land of the Sinhalese as it had been for 2500 years. Over the past several years the minorities, particularly the Tamils have been busy inventing new histories to prove their claims to the land. Both Tamils and Muslims want to have separate kingdoms within Lanka. Tamil politicians wants to have an EELAM here and Muslims like Hakeem, Badurdeen and Asad Sali wants to make this an Arabia and push the Sinhalese in to the Indian Ocean. They never understand the futility of this day dream. Indian invaders starting from Sena Guttika in the 2nd century BC and ending up with Cholian Kalinga Maga in the 12th century and the latest Pirapaharan the LTTE leader have failed to do this thanks to our Great Kings like Dutugemunu and Vijaya bahu and the patriotic men in the past and to our beloved leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Secretary to the Ministry of Defense and the members of three forces and the patriotic people in modern history 2009.

Therefore at least now these communal Tamil and Muslim politicians must realize that theirs is only a pipe dream that could never be realized as long as a single Sinhala man or women is alive in this country. They were the people who invented settlements in this country :they were the people  who made nearly 15,000 irrigation tanks all over the country culminating in Parakrama samudraya (sea of Parakrama 6000 acres in extent) in Polonnaruwa and canals and paddy fields they were the people who made temples and massive Stupas and colossal Buddhist religious structure carved living monumental statues like samadhhi statue in Anuradhapura, Avukana and Polonnaruwa Galviharaya; they were the people who made world wonders like famous Sigiriya frescoes and in short they were the architects of the ‘Wonder that is Sri Lankan civilization’ an ancient heritage to the whole world from the 3rd Century BC to date. I challenge any Tamil or Muslim politician or an academic historian to show me a single archaeological edifice of this magnitude constructed by their so-called Kings who were supposed to have ruled this country. It was the Sinhalese who had sacrificed the lives in millions over the centuries to defend this country against firstly, from South India and from the West thereafter. There wasn’t a single Tamil or a Muslim to my knowledge who had fought or died in defense of this country.

You will recall how Sinhala people have been shifting from place to place like gypsies in desperation to save this civilization from the ruthless south Indian invaders throughout history starting from Anuradhapura onwards. Then Polonnaruwa, Yapahuwa, Dambadeniya, Kurunegala. Gampola, Dambadeniya, Kotte and finally Senkadagala. Even at present the ruins of the burned down Palace of King Parakramabahu in Polonnaruwa bares witness to the kind of vandalism these barbarous South Indian invaders have inflicted on this great civilization. All this is part of our true history. And no one should expect the Sinhalese to forget such savages and barbaric vandalism in the name of reconciliation

Therefore if they and their followers want to live here as Sri Lankan citizens

1 They must immediately give up all their claims for separate Kingdoms and separate identity

2they must accept this country as the de facto and de jure land of the Sinhala Buddhist people

3 Agree to live as brothers and sisters of the Sinhalese without trying to be the owners of the land and ousted them from their motherland

4 give up all attachment to India and Arabia and resolve to live as countrymen of the Sinhale or Sri Lanka.

5 If this is not possible then they have to find their own countries and vanish from this Lanka of the Sinhalese without creating problems for us and themselves as well.

On the other hand the best advice I can give to those rootless cosmopolitan Singalese people like Ranil, Mangala, Wijedasa Rajapaksa and Wickramabahu and all others of the same genre is please immediately stop betraying the Motherland and the Sinhala people any more.  If you can’t do so please keep out of politics and mind some other business that keeps you people going.

Meanwhile the Sinhala politicians like Luxman Kiriella, Ranil wickramasingha and Maitripala Sirisena who run after Tamils and Muslims begging for their votes should also immediately stop this dirty game. Don’t you think this type of traitor politicians who sell the motherland and the Sinhala nation to get temporary political power are a disgrace to the entire Sinhala nation. Every man and woman who calls himself/herself a Sinhalese should shun these traitors and get on to the road to defeat them at the forthcoming election. Because this election, unlike all previous election is extremely crucial for the survival of the nation as it is not going to decide between an unpatriotic bunch of rootless ‘poly tricians’  taken for  a ride by Run ill and patriotic Mahinda Rajapaksa the Man who liberated the country from LTTE Tigers to save our Motherland. In short it is a struggle between death and life of a nation.

Division of the Sinhala vote as UNP, SLFP is the main reason behind the increased bargaining power of the minorities. This situation can never be overcome until either the main Sinhala parties get together or the Tamil and Muslim politicians change their stance and give up their communal politics and concede to the reality  that they are only minor ethnic groups living in a country where the Sinhala people forms the majority. I am sure you all know what happened to the frog that tried to be as big as a water buffalo?

                              My Appeal to the nation!    

All Sinhalese must unite under one banner, under an unassailable Sinhala leadership a man like Mahinda Rajapaksa who saved this nation from its virtual subjugation to Tamil terrorists in 2009.

  1. I am afraid the way things are currently shaping up in the political scenario in this country it appears as if we are heading for disaster. The main cause for this tragic trend is the lack of a common bondage firstly, among the Sinhalese and then among all ethnic groups as a nation. Until and unless the three main communities such as the Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims stands under one banner as one nation this problem will never be resolved. Even if you fight as long as the sun and moon shall last this problem will remain unsolved and intractable. The irony is, it is the politicians of Tamil and Muslim communities who ignite communal hatred and fan the communal fires for political gain, though the common people of all three communities are ever ready to live together as one nation.
  2. If you can  live together, work and do business together, till the land together, eat together, dress alike, go to the same temple together, worship the same gods, intermarry why the hell you people can’t think of the country and the posterity together and do politics together? You have already wasted nearly 68 years of your precious life fighting with the Sinhalese and having brought disaster to tens of thousands of innocent Sinhalese as well as Tamils, crippled the country’s economy with even darker clouds hanging over this beautiful Island. I want you to address your own conscience and find answers to these questions without indulging in vicious ethnic thinking any more. The day you do that you all will be hailed and worshiped as heroes and the saviours of this beautiful Island nation and its proud civilization and unique heritage by all citizens in this country.

I appeal to all Tamil and Muslim politicians to understand this reality, as I have outlined above, and give up communal politics at least now without making the mistake you did almost for 100 years. Wind up your communal political parties before the Government does it, give up selfish and narrow communal politics and rally round the major national parties to build up a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka without gambling with the destiny of a nation. Give up your day dream of Eelam and Khalistan. Let the legacy of communal hatred and suspicion your predecessors instilled in you be discarded and forgotten forever and let us together begin a new civilization and a new culture in the name of posterity and a new Sri Lanka.

In the event they don’t listen I strongly urge the Government to ban all communal political parties like the TNA and SLMC forth with as they pose a serious threat to territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of this Island nation.

 

THE DISGUSTING BEHAVIOUR OF C. V. VIGNESWARAN AND OTHERS WHO COMMMORATED THE LTTE DEAD, AND THE EVEN MORE DISGUSTING CONDUCT OF THE PRESIDENT IN NOT PUNISHING THEM

May 24th, 2018

DHARSHAN WEERASEKERA, Attorney-at-law

As a Sri Lankan citizen and a lawyer, I am thoroughly disgusted with C. V. Vigneswaran the Chief Minister of the Northern Province and the rest of the crowd of Eelamists who according to the newspapers commemorated the LTTE dead at a ceremony held in Vellamullevikkal on or about 18th May 2018.[1]

I am even more disgusted with the conduct of the President who is the Head of the Government and inter alia Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, for not taking action to punish Vigneswaran and his acolytes for what they did.  I give below my reasons for the aforesaid view.

  1. WHAT IS WRONG WITH COMMEMORATING THE LTTE DEAD?

I wish to make quite clear that I am not against Tamils commemorating the LTTE dead in private.  For instance, if a Tamil man or woman in the North or East had a son or daughter who died in the conflict, a son or daughter who also happened to be a LTTE cadre, it would be absurd of me or anyone else to suggest that those parents don’t have a right to mourn their dead child, regardless of whether he or she was a terrorist.

Furthermore, our Constitution guarantees inter alia the right to freedom of thought and conscience,[2] which is understood to be an absolute right, meaning no derogation from it is possible for any reason.   So, I concede that if there are persons in Sri Lanka who for whatever reason mourn for the LTTE, persons who wish that the LTTE had won the war, those persons have every right to hold such views as long as they hold them in private.

What Vigneswaran and the rest of the Eelamists who gathered on Vellamullevikkal on or about 18th May 2018 did is quite different.  They made a public display, accompanied by various symbolic acts such as lighting of lamps, making of speeches, singing of songs, etc. of their sorrow that the LTTE was defeated.

That is quite different from privately mourning the death of this or that LTTE cadre, because, by the aforesaid symbolic acts, they were expressing their sorrow at the defeat of the LTTE Organization and what it stood for.  They were saying in effect that, they were sad that the Sri Lankan State won the war, which is the same as saying that they wish they were living in the State that the LTTE was trying to create!

If the above is what they are saying, and I can’t interpret their behavior in any other way, such behavior is disgusting on two counts.  First, whether Viggy and his pals like to admit it or not, they have benefited a great deal, and continue to benefit, from the Sri Lankan State.  Vigneswaran for one is a public official, so he draws a salary from the public coffers.  He also draws a pension from the public coffers.

If there were government servants in the crowd with Viggy, they are also drawing salaries or pensions from the public coffers.  If there were university students, they are being educated at the public expense, which is to say, the State.  So, if these folks (i.e. Viggy and his pals) want to publicly express their longing for an LTTE-run State, which is to say Eelam, they should have the decency to first give up the aforesaid benefits.

Vigneswaran is free to give up his salary, perks and pension.  Any government servants in the crowd are free to give up their salaries and pensions as the case may be.  And any university students can give their place to some other deserving Tamil, Sinhala or Muslim student who I am sure would be quite happy to attend Jaffna University, one of the best universities in the island.  Then, Viggy and his pals can at least claim something of a moral right to express disappointment that the Sri Lankan State defeated the LTTE.

Second, and more important, Vigneswaran and his pals are trying to portray to the international community that the Sri Lankan forces that defeated the LTTE were invading purported ‘Tamil Lands’ or  a ‘Tamil Homeland’ and they (i.e. Sri Lankan forces) have no inherent right to remain in those regions even after the victory.

If the above portrayal goes unchallenged, it will create a presumption in the minds of foreigners that in fact the Sri Lankan forces invaded a purported ‘Tamil Homeland,’ and are now occupying it against the will of the ‘natives.’  Nothing could be further from the truth, and the international community must be told in no uncertain terms that, a) there is no such thing as a ‘Tamil Homeland’ in Sri Lanka in fact or in law, and b) the Sri Lankan soldiers who defeated the LTTE were operating in their own country.

All they were doing is wresting control of a certain part of the country – i.e. the Northern Province and some parts of the East – from a band of criminals who had temporarily asserted control over those areas, and ensuring that the Constitution of Sri Lanka and laws that derive from same, and none other, prevail without let or hindrance in those areas.

If Vigneswaran and his pals are dissatisfied with that outcome, i.e., that the Constitution of Sri Lanka and laws that derive therefrom now operate in every inch of this country, and they want to live under laws other than those flowing from the Constitution of Sri Lanka, they can avail themselves of the right guaranteed under Article 14(1) (i) of the Constitution (‘Right to leave and return to Sri Lanka’) and leave Sri Lanka.  No one is stopping them.

To repeat, if living under the Sri Lanka Constitution and other laws of Sri Lanka is an unbearably horrible experience for Viggy and his pals, they are free to pack their bags and go.  For instance, they can go to their one and only real ‘homeland’ the Tamil Nad in India.  (Perhaps they will be happy there, and if they are not, they can always swim back or row back here again, the same way that I am informed on good authority many of their ancestors reached these shores in the first place!)

The point is that, they should let the people who like Sri Lanka, who wish to live under the Constitution and other laws of Sri Lanka, do so in peace and tranquility?  Instead, Viggy and his pals want to enjoy the protection of the Constitution and other laws of Sri Lanka when it suits them, and not when it doesn’t, and moreover, all the while work to undermine, deprecate and belittle the said Constitution and laws.

It seems to me that, they are like parasites, sucking the lifeblood of the State, draining the State of its vitality and energy, without putting anything of substance or value back into it, or worse, waiting to contribute whatever of substance and value they have to Eelam, if and when it is created!  As I said, it’s disgusting.  I’ll now turn to the even more disgusting conduct of the President.

2.0 THE PRESIDENT’S RESPONSE TO THE ACTIONS OF VIGGY AND HIS PALS AND WHAT IS WRONG WITH IT

From what I have been able to gather by reading the newspapers, the President’s response to antics of Viggy and his pals was, a) to make a purportedly unequivocal statement that Sri Lankan forces did not commit war crimes as alleged by the international community especially the UNHRC,[3] and b) to engage in various ceremonies such as almsgivings, lighting of lamps, etc, in remembrance of our fallen soldiers.  My problems with the aforesaid two responses are as follows.

a) The purportedly unequivocal statement that Sri Lankan forces did not commit war crimes

Even if the president made an unequivocal statement as alleged, it is completely meaningless, because the actions of the Government since 2015 – a Government of which Mr. Sirisena is the Head – clearly and unequivocally shows that the Government has accepted that war crimes were committed.  I shall give below just a few of the facts that support this conclusion.

The U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in March 2014 authorized the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to undertake a comprehensive investigation into war crimes and other crimes allegedly committed during the war.  The final report of that investigation, called the OISL report (OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka) concluded that there was sufficient evidence to show that the State – as opposed to individual soldiers – committed war crimes.[4]

The report was released to the public on 16th September 2015, but forwarded to the Government one week prior to that.  The Government accepted the report without a single objection or qualification.[5]

Next, the aforesaid report became the basis for UNHRC resolution 30/1 of October 2015, drafted and tabled by the United States and co-sponsored by the Government of Sri Lanka.  Operative Paragraph 1 of the resolution clearly and unambiguously endorses without reservation the conclusions and recommendations of the OISL report (i.e. the report that claimed that sufficient evidence exists to show that the Sri Lankan State committed war crimes).

Therefore, by the act of co-sponsorship, the GOSL has also accepted without reservation the aforesaid conclusions and recommendations.

Next, at the March 2017 session of the UNHRC, the U. S. drafted and tabled a resolution that re-affirmed resolution 30/1 of October 2015.  The GOSL one again co-sponsored this resolution, which means that the GOSL re-affirmed its acceptance of the conclusions and recommendations of the OISL report (which said the Sri Lankan State committed war crimes).

If the GOSL had any objections to the OISL report and its conclusions, it could have raised those objections before the resolution was adopted.  To my knowledge, no objections were raised.

Finally, I turn to the report of the UNHRC’s Universal Periodic Review on Sri Lanka, which was completed in December 2017, and taken up for discussion during the Council’s session in March 2018.  Chapter 3 of the report (Paragraphs 119 – 130) sets out the ‘Voluntary Commitments of the Government of Sri Lanka,’ which is to say they are commitments that the Government has accepted without question.  Paragraph 128 is as follows:

‘Fulfill commitments contained in Human Rights Council resolution 30/1 towards the operationalization of the Office of Missing Persons, and the establishment of a truth-seeking commission, an office for reparations, and a judicial mechanism with a special counsel.’[6]

As mentioned, the above report was released in December 2017, and taken up for debate in March 2018.  That means, as of March 2018, the unequivocal position of the GOSL was that is accepted without question the recommendations of resolution 30/1 of October 2015, which in turn was based on the conclusions and recommendations of the OISL report, which to repeat found that the Sri Lankan State committed war crimes.  So, either Mr. Sirisena is unaware of any of this, in which case as Head of the Government he is inexcusably negligent, or he is lying.

And yet, he has the nerve to stand in front of a gathering that, to the best of my knowledge, included the Service Chiefs, decorated officers and men and women of the armed forces, combat veterans, and perhaps most poignant, the fathers and mothers of fallen soldiers, and say with a straight face that the Government’s position in regard to international allegations that our troops committed war crimes is that no such crimes were committed.  As I said, it’s disgusting.

b) Lighting lamps, giving alms, etc. in remembrance of the fallen troops

The newspapers also published numerous photos of the President lighting lamps, participating in almsgivings, etc. in remembrance of our fallen troops.  That’s admirable.  On the other hand, the President is required and indeed empowered to defend the Constitution and other laws of Sri Lanka and in general to protect the country from all enemies, both foreign and domestic.

It is not in dispute that, roughly 29,000 Officers and men and women of our armed forces died during the war with the LTTE, with a further 15,000 completely disabled and thousands of others wounded.  Those valiant men and women made that enormous sacrifice in order to protect the country from its enemies, in this case a domestic one, and to prevent such enemy from creating a separate State within the territory of Sri Lanka.

If there is the slightest possibility that the aforesaid enemy or the ideology which fed such enemy is being revived, it is the moral as well as legal obligation of the President to make sure such efforts are stamped out.  Even a fifteen-year-old can understand that, commemorating the LTTE, including making statements conveying the impression that it is a tragedy that the LTTE lost the war sustains and nurtures, or has the potential to sustain and nurture, the ideology that nourished the LTTE.

Therefore, reason and common sense suggest that the best and most practical way for a President to honour our fallen troops is do everything in his or her power to hold persons responsible for such commemorations, or any other actions that in effect celebrate the ideology of the LTTE, accountable under the law.  Under the circumstances, the President could have, indeed still can, do the following three things:

  1. He can haul Vigneswaran before the Court of Appeal under Section 3 of the 6th Amendment o the Constitution.

Section 3(1) of the 6th Amendment or Article 157(a)(1) of the Constitution as amended states:

‘No person shall, directly or indirectly, in or outside Sri Lanka, support, espouse, promote, finance, encourage or advocate the establishment of a separate State within the territory of Sri Lanka.’[7]

As explained earlier, Vigneswaran and his pals publicly commemorated the LTTE, and in doing so made sure to convey to the outside world that they are very much in sympathy with the LTTE’s ideology, including its ultimate goal of creating a separate State within Sri Lanka.  Isn’t that ‘indirectly’ supporting separatism for the purposes of Section 3 quoted above?

I am not the Supreme Court, so I cannot pronounce on the matter. But, Mr. Sirisena as President can instruct the Attorney General to file an indictment against Vigneswaran.  Section 3 makes provision for a trial before the Court of Appeal.  So, why doesn’t Sirisena do this, and we can all find out what is and isn’t possible under Section 3?

Viggy might still wiggle out, i.e. the court might say Viggy’s actions don’t violate section 3, but nevertheless the section will be interpreted, and this will make it easier to resort to it on future occasions, say, when Viggy and his pals try other tactics.  What’s the use of having constitutional provisions purportedly to protect the country from separatists, if we never test them?  On the other hand, if the court finds Viggy guilty, he’s finished, and so are his pals!  Either way, Mr. Sirisena will have done an enormous service to the country.

  1. The President can ask the Supreme Court for an Advisory Opinion on the Legality of UNHRC resolution 30/1 of October 2015.

Only the President can invoke the consultative jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Article 129 of the Constitution.  Judging by the fact that Mr. Sirisena invoked the said provision in early January to find out if he could stay in office for 6 rather than 5 years, it is clear he knows of the existence of the provision.  So, why can’t he use it to ask the SC about an issue that, overall, is far more important to the country, especially the armed forces?

If the SC decides that any of the provisions of resolution 30/1 violate the Constitution, it will be the firmest possible basis for Parliament to revisit the legislation establishing the Office of Missing Persons and also Ratifying the Convention on Enforced Disappearances, two devises that can be used by Sri Lanka’s enemies to amass false evidence against our troops.

  1. If there were government servants or university students at Viggy’s event, the President can instruct the relevant ministries to take administrative action against them.

For instance, he can have the government servants in question be sacked or transferred, and the students expelled.  Let them drive tuk-tuks or fish off the Jaffna Lagoon for a living.  Why not make an example of at least a few of these rotters and wanna-be terrorists?

The point is this.  As President, Mr. Sirisena could have taken any of the aforesaid concrete actions, indeed he still can, to honour the troops, especially those who fell in battle.  He has not done so, and instead has chosen to make a show of lighting lamps, and such like things.  I find that disgusting, or at any rate, disgraceful.

Dharshan Weerasekera  lives and works in Colombo.  For constructive criticism and/or questions about this article or any of his other work, he can be reached at:  [email protected]

[1] I am relying on the report of this incident in the ‘Divaina’ of 20th may 2018.  The relevant article in Sinhala is titled, ‘Uture koti semaruma jayatama,’  Divaina, 20th May 2018, page 1

[2] Article 10 of the Constitution

[3] I am relying for this claim on an article in the Sunday Times of 20th May 2018, titled, ‘SL Military Did Not Commit War Crimes: President.’  It reports on the President’s speech at the Ranaviru Commemoration ceremony at the National War Memorial at the Parliamentary Grounds.  However, the quotes attributed to the President in that article do in any way show that he unequivocally rejected the allegations that Sri Lankan troops committed war crimes.  But, it is quite possible that the original Sinhala version of his remarks conveyed such an unequivocal meaning, and I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

[4] See for instance paragraphs 5 and 6 of the OISL report,  A/HRC/30/CRP.2, www.ohchr.org

[5] See for instance, Note Verbale No. UN/HR/1/30, 15th September 2015, www.mea.gov.lk

[6] A/HRC/37/17, 29th December 2017, para 128, www.ohchr.org

[7] Article 157a(1) of the Constitution

ඊලාම් යුද්ධයේ ගෝඨාභය භූමිකාව

May 24th, 2018

 වෛද් රුවන් එම් ජයතුංග 

වසර 30 කාලයක් පුරා ඇදී ගිය ඊලාම් යුද්ධය එල්.ටී.ටී.ඊ සංවිධානය පරාජය කිරීමෙන් පසුව නිම විය​. මේ කාලය පුරා යුද විශලේෂකයන් , සමහරක් හමුදා නිලධාරීන් සහ බොහෝ දේශපාලකයන් විශ්වාස කලේ ප්‍රභාකරන් සහ එල්.ටී.ටී.ඊ සංවිධානය  යුදමය වශයෙන් පරාජය කල නොහැකි බවයි. නමුත් ශ්‍රී ලාංකික හමුදාව එල්.ටී.ටී.ඊය පරාජය කළහ​. ත්‍රිවිධ හමුදාවක් සහිතව විශාල භූමියක් පාලනය කල  ලෝකයේ බලවත්ම ත්‍රස්තවාදී සංවිධානය සහමුලින්ම පරාජය කිරීමට හැකි වූයේ කෙසේද ? 

ජයග්‍රහණයට පියවරු දහසකි. බොහෝ දෙනා මෙම යුද ජයග්‍රහණයට අයිතිවාසිකම් කියති. එසේම කුලල් කා ගනිති. මැදහත් සිතින් විචාර බුද්ධියෙන් යුතුව ඊලාම් යුද්ධය ජයග්‍රහණ මාර්ගය කරා ගෙන ගියේ කවරුන් ද කියා විමසා බලමු.

 

එල්.ටී.ටී.ඊ සංවිධානය පරාජය කිරීම සඳහා ජෙනරාල් ෆොන්සේකාගේ දායකත්වය සුවිසල් විය​. ඔහු ගොඩබිම් යුද මෙහෙයුම් වලදී කොටි සාමාජිකයන් විනාශ කර දැමීය​. මෙකී මෙහෙයුම් හමුවේ කොටින් හට භූමිය අල්ලා ගෙන සිටීම අපහසු විය​. ප්‍රභාකරන් පවා මෙම මෙහෙයවුම් හමුවේදී ව්‍යාකූල වූ බව එල්ටිටීඊයෙහි කාන්තා දේශපාලන අංශයෙහි නායිකාවවූ තමලිනී තම තියුණු අසිපතක සෙවණ යට කෘතිය හරහා පෙන්වා දී තිබේ.   මෙකී යුද මෙහෙයුම් නිසා ප්‍රභාකරන් ගේ අවසානය සනිටුහන් විය​.

ඊලාම් යුද්ධයේදී නාවික සහ ගුවන් හමුදා විශේෂ කාර්‍යභාරයක් කළහ​. නාවික හමුදාපති වසන්ත කරන්නාගොඩ ඇතුළු නාවික නිලධාරීන් එල්.ටී.ටී.ඊ සංවිධානය සඳහා එවන ලද ආයුද නැව් විනාශ කර දැමූහ​. එසේම මුහුදු සටන් වලදී ඔවුන් ගේ බලය අඩපණ කර දැමූහ​. මේ අතර ගුවන් හමුදාපති එයාර් මාර්ෂල් රොෂාන් ගුණතිලක ගේ නායකත්වයෙන් යුතු ගුවන් හමුදාව  එල්.ටී.ටී.ඊ බලකොටු ගුවන් බලය යොදා විනාශ කළහ.  

ඊලාම් යුද්ධයේ දී ගෝඨාභය රාජපක්‍ෂ  භූමිකාව  කුමක්ද ? 

ඊලාම් යුද ජයග්‍රහණයෙන් පසුව මාධ්‍යවේදි  සී.ඒ චන්ද්‍රපේම  ගෝටාස් වෝ නමින්  පොතක් ලිවීය​. මේ පොත සක්‍රිය ලෙස සමාජ ගත නොවීය​. ඊට එක් හේතුවක් වූයේ එම පොතේ කතුවරයා ඊලාම් යුද්ධයේ දී ගෝඨාභය රාජපක්‍ෂ  භූමිකාව නිසි ලෙස පෙන්වා නොදීමය​.  සී.ඒ චන්ද්‍රපේම මෙම පොතෙන්  ගෝඨාභය රාජපක්‍ෂව යුද සෙන්පතියෙකු ලෙස පෙන්වා දීමට යාම නිසා ගෝටාස් වෝ කෘතිය අසාර්ථක විය​. යුද්දයෙන් පසුකාලීනව පවා මිනිසුන් තුල ඊලාම් යුද්ධයේදී ගෝඨාභය රාජපක්‍ෂ විසින් කරන ලද කාර්‍යභාරය පිලිබඳව අවබෝධයක් නොමැත​. අවාසනාවකට මෙන් දේශපාලනික සහ පුද්ගලික හේතු මත ඊලාම් යුද්ධයේදී ගෝඨාභය රාජපක්‍ෂ  මහතා විසින් කරන ලද කාර්‍යභාරය යටපත් කොට ඇත​.  

ඇත්ත වශයෙන්ම ඊලාම් යුද්ධයේ දී ගෝඨාභය රාජපක්‍ෂ  භූමිකාව  කුමක්ද ?  යුද්දය සමයේදී ගෝඨාභය රාජපක්‍ෂ   මහතා ලංකාවේ හිටපු ආරක්‍ෂක ලේකම්වරයාය​. අතීතයේ සිටි වෙනත් ආරක්‍ෂක ලේකම්වරුන්ට වඩා ඔහු වෙනස් අයෙකු විය​. ඔහුට යුද භූමිය පිලිබඳව අවබෝධයක් තිබුනි. එසේම යුද්ධයකදී ඉතාම අත්‍යාවශ්‍ය සාධකයක් වන ලොජිස්ටික්ස් හෙවත් භට කාර්‍ය සම්පාදනය සහ පෙරමුණට ආයුධ මෙන්ම අනෙකුත් අත්‍යාවශ්‍ය ද්‍රව්‍ය සැපයීමේදී ගෝඨාභය රාජපක්‍ෂ විශාල කාර්‍යභාරයක් සිදු කලේය​.මීට ඉහතදී පැවති ජයසිකුරු වැනි දැවැන්ත මෙහෙයවුම් අඩාල වීමට එක් ප්‍රධාන හේතුවක් වූයේ මෙම ලොජිස්ටික්ස් සාධකයයි. එහෙත් අවසන් යුද්ධයේදී මෙවැනි දුර්වළතා මතු වීමට ඔහු ඉඩ දුන්නේ නැත​. මෙම කරුණ යුද ජයග්‍රහණයේ එක් ප්‍රබල සාධකයක් විය​. විජිත පුර සටන ජය ගැනීමේදී මතු වූයේ ගැමුණු කුමාරයා ගේ කීර්ති නාමයය​. එහෙත් ගැමුණු කුමාරයාට එම ජයග්‍රහණය ලබා ගැනීම සඳහා තිරයෙන් පසුපස සිට ලොජිස්ටික්ස් සහාය දුන්නේ ඔහුගේ සොහොයුරු සද්ධාතිස්ස විසිනි. ඊලාම් යුද්ධයේ දී ලොජිස්ටික්ස් සහාය දුන්නේ ගෝඨාභය රාජපක්‍ෂ  විසිනි.  

දෙවන ලෝක යුද සමයේදී මිත්‍ර පක්‍ෂයේ හමුදා නායකයන් වූ ජෙනරාල් පැටර්න් සහ ෆීල්ඩ් මාෂල් බර්නාඩ් මොන්ට්ගෝමරි අතර බල අරගලයක් තිබුනේය​. මෙම බල අරගලය නිසා යුද්ධය අඩපණ වීම වැලැක්වීමට ඇමරිකාව ප්‍රමුඛ මිත්‍ර පාක්‍ෂික හමුදාවලට නායකත්වය දුන් ජෙනරාල් අයිසන්හවර් සූක්‍ෂම ලෙස ක්‍රියා කලේය. ​ඊලාම් යුද්ධයේදී හමුදාපති ජෙනරාල් ෆොන්සේකා සහ   නාවික හමුදාපති වසන්ත කරන්නාගොඩ අතර පුද්ගලික යුද්ධයක් තිබුනේය. ​මේ දෙදෙනා ආරක්‍ෂක රැස්වීම් වලදීවත් එකිනෙකා සමග කතා කලේ නැත​. මේ පිලිබඳව නාවික හමුදාපති වසන්ත කරන්නාගොඩ තම අධිෂ්ඨානය: එල්.ටී.ටී.ඊ. පරාජය – නාවික හමුදා භූමිකාව කෘතියේ පවා සඳහන් කොට තිබේ. 

යුද හමුදාවත් නාවික හමුදාවත් අතර ඒකාබද්ධ සහයෝගය නොමැතිව සටන් කිරීම ඉතා අපහසුය​. යුද විශේෂඥයන් පෙන්වා දෙන අන්දමට දෙවන ලෝක යුද්ධයේදී ජපානය පරාජය වීම සඳහා එක් හේතුවක් වූයේ ජපාන යුද හමුදව සහ ජපාන් නාවික හමුදාව අතර ඒකාබද්ධ සහයෝගයක් නොතිබීමයි. හමුදාපති ජෙනරාල් ෆොන්සේකා සහ නාවික හමුදාපති වසන්ත කරන්නාගොඩ  අතර පාලමක් වෙමින් යුද හමුදාවත් නාවික හමුදාවත් අතර ඒකාබද්ධතාව පවත්වා ගැනීමට උපකාර වූයේ ගෝඨාභය රාජපක්‍ෂය​. ඔහු  ජෙනරාල් අයිසන්හවර් ක්‍රියා කලාක් මෙන් හමුදාපති ජෙනරාල් ෆොන්සේකාත් සහ නාවික හමුදාපති වසන්ත කරන්නාගොඩත් අතර සමබරතාව පවත්වා ගත්තේය​. මෙම කරුණද යුද ජයග්‍රහණය  පිණිස බලපෑවේය​. 

ගෝඨාභය රාජපක්‍ෂ යනු ඊලාම් යුද ජයග්‍රහණයේ පරම උරුමක්කාරයා නොවන බව සැබෑය​. එහෙත් යුද ජයග්‍රහණය සඳහා ඔහු  දායකත්වයක් ලබා දුන්නේය​. ඉංග්‍රීසි භාෂාවේ  give the devil his due කියා කියමනක් තිබේ.  මේ අනුව ඊලාම් යුද ජයග්‍රහනයේ ගෝඨාභය රාජපක්‍ෂ  භූමිකාව කුහක කමකින් තොරව පෙන්වා දිය යුතුය​. 

වෛද් රුවන් එම් ජයතුංග 

“SRI LANKA ’S KILLING FIELDS” Part 1

May 24th, 2018

KAMALIKA PIERIS

The first’ war cry’ over the ‘war crimes’ of Sri Lanka  came from  Britain’s Channel 4” television station. In  25. August 2009, Channel Four” broadcast one minute long footage showing Sri Lanka army brutally executing naked persons during the final stages of the war. As further gunshots ring out, the camera pans to reveal other bound bodies, eight in total, and all but one naked”. This broadcast set off a train of events, leading to the call for a war crimes probe in Sri Lanka.

Channel News” said the footage was filmed in January 2009, when the international media were prevented by the Sri Lankan government from covering the conflict zone. The footage had been provided by ‘Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka’, a group of exiled Sri Lankan journalists, campaigning for press freedom. The footage was smuggled out of Sri Lanka two days before Channel 4 News broadcast it.. The existence of such footage had been rumored for months, said Channel Four .

The Channel 4 website explained how the film was made. ‘Our evidence of how it was done comes in the form of mobile phone footage, Tamil and government film footage, and mobile phone trophy footage” in which soldiers filmed themselves abusing and executing Tamils who had either surrendered or been captured.  one soldier apparently had a mobile phone. A  Sinhalese human rights investigator who watched the material on the day it was broadcast believed it to be genuine.

The Channel  News in its  home page, dated August 2009, admitted that It is impossible to independently authenticate the pictures in the video.   There is no indication of the ethnicity of the dead men either. But the group which obtained the pictures claim the victims are Tamils.   The killers are speaking Sinhala. they are wearing what appear to be Sri Lankan Army uniforms,. Tamil Tiger insurgents were known to masquerade in government uniforms,  admitted Channel Four. but the casual dialogue between the killers as they dispatch their helpless captives, seemed to indicate that they were Sinhala soldiers.

There were protests. Sri Lankans in Britain staged a demonstration opposite the Channel 4 Television Broadcasting Station on 6th September. They called the footage a highly concocted piece of propaganda and called Channel 4 a bogus news service .British Sri Lanka Forum handed over a petition to the television station.

There was a demonstration in Colombo as well. A protest against Channel 4 was staged On 16th September opposite the Colombo Fort Railway Station by the Joint Free Media Organization. They said  Channel Four had telecast  doctored video footage tarnishing Sri Lanka’s image and insulting the Security Forces. The demonstrators said Channel 4 should apologize to Sri Lanka. ‘No one can be permitted to discredit Sri Lanka’. Media personnel who participated in this demonstration pointed out that they cannot remain silent when such pressure was exerted by foreign TV stations. The demonstrators handed over a petition with many signatures to the British High Commission in Colombo.

Government of Sri Lanka took this video very seriously, since it affected the reputation and image of the country, its government, and the armed Forces. The government responded as soon as this telecast appeared.   ‘the video was a fabrication designed to discredit security forces, said the government . LTTE was operating dressed in Sri Lankan military uniforms.”  The LTTE possessed such uniforms having overrun Sri Lankan army installations in the past, the government  told the UN Human Rights Council  that  the videotape was fake, and  it would not   conduct any investigation of the allegations made.

The government issued a statement. ” The High Commission of Sri Lanka categorically deny that the Sri Lankan armed forces engaged in atrocities against Sri Lankan Tamil community. They were only engaged in a military offensive against the LTTE. The High Commission has noted that in many instances in the past, various media institutions used doctored videos, photographs, and documents to defame the Sri Lankan government and the armed forces. Therefore, we request you to verify the authenticity of the video footage before the telecast.

The government of Sri Lanka also took action to check on the authenticity of the footage. They got the video examined by four experts,  Siri Hewawitharana, an international expert on the subject who is also the former head of Cisco’s global broadcast and digital video practice, Dr. Chatura Ranjan de Silva,  senior lecturer on computer science and  Director of the Centre for Instructional Technology, University of Moratuwa, Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe,  Chief Signal Officer of the Sri Lanka Army and Major P.A Bandara of the Media Centre for National Security.

All four experts said the video was a fake. They said that the video had been filmed by a digital camcorder, not a mobile phone camera. The sound had been dubbed separately. Dr. Chatura Ranjan de Silva observed that if the video had been filmed by a mobile phone camera it should have jumping or discrete effects. Brigadier Samarasinghe said that a comprehensive investigation of the video had been done at the Signal Base Workshop of the Army. They had noticed a gap between the sound and the video film suggesting that the sound has been dubbed into the video footage. Further, the sound of gun firing had been recorded at a distance of some 102.4 meters. It was impossible to do this with a mobile camera.

Major  Bandara pointed out that some things in the video were  unnatural, such as non- spreading blood stains, the outward appearance of the victims and  the movements of the victims while being executed. Though  the video was not very color sensitive, the blood stains of the victims had clear margins, showing that the video  was heavily tampered or fabricated, observed Dr de Silva,

Major Bandara observed that the uniforms worn by the so-called soldiers executing those victims were not the usual attire worn by soldiers. Sri Lanka army soldiers do not wear a white coloured T-shirt with an olive green uniform.”   Defence Ministry had in the meantime,   held an investigation to see whether there were Security Forces personnel similar to the people appearing in the video footage. It has been established with finality that the people appearing in the video are not in the Armed Forces” said the Ministry.

These criticisms were brushed aside by the western powers meddling in the Eelam issue. They wished to use the Channel Four video to hit Sri Lanka at the UN. Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-judicial, Summary or Arbitrary executions took on the task. He agreed with the video and dismissed the Sri Lanka analysis on the flimsy grounds that two of the Sri Lanka experts were from the army.

Sri Lanka   protested. Here is what Sri Lanka said.

”The Government of Sri Lanka welcomes the media statement issued today (17) by Prof. Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions, in which he now acknowledges that the report which was shared with him by the Government leads him to the conclusion that the views expressed do indeed raise several issues which warrant further investigation before it could reasonably be concluded that the video is authentic”.

The Government of Sri |Lanka also welcomes Prof. Alston acknowledgement that the government’s investigation has been prompt. The government regrets however, that Prof. Alston has characterized the professional investigation as not independent merely because the experts concerned were Sri Lankan.

Prof. Alston does not appear to have carefully perused the Government’s Consolidated Response of 09 September in which a URL to Mr. Siri Hewawitharana’s experience and qualifications was included on page 4.

Contrary to Prof Alton’s assertion, the Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights, Mahinda Samarasinghe, contacted Mr. Hewawitharana on 05 September, several days after the short op-ed opinion piece in The Island newspaper appeared and requested him to provide the Minister with a more detailed analysis of the video in the form of a short report. The said report was received on 06 September.

 With regard to Dr De Silva, the sole reason for Prof. Alston’s characterization of his analysis as partial is that he appears to have been consulted by the Government of Sri Lanka on previous occasions. The Government is not of the view that it is quite legitimate to consult acknowledged experts from autonomous academic institutions and this in no way makes the expert part of the Government nor does it render the view tainted by bias.

Moreover, the fact that Prof. Alston now acknowledges that the video needs further investigation to prove its authenticity is sufficient to establish that the work of the experts consulted by the government of Sri Lanka is credible. This also confirms the governments concern that Prof. Alston was unduly hasty in issuing his original press statement concerning the contents of the video in the absence of any credible material.

 It would be pertinent to note that the High Commissioner for Human Rights welcomed the Sri Lankan delegation’s communication that a prompt investigation had been carried out into this matter. She also mentioned that, being a lawyer herself, she had thought it fit not to make a pronouncement on this issue until the authenticity of the contents of the video in question was established.

The Government is of the view that any further comment on this issue by Prof. Alston should only be consequent to the receipt of fresh and cogent evidence that will enable him to conclude that the video in question is genuine (end of statement)

It appears that the United Nations Human Rights Council, to which Alston reports, called on him to withdraw his call for an investigation and apologize to the Sri Lanka government. Alston instead appointed his own team to investigate the footage. he commissioned an analysis of the video from three ‘highly qualified and totally independent’ United States specialists, an expert in firearms evidence, a prominent forensic pathologist, and an expert in forensic video analysis.

Peter Diaczuk, an expert in firearms evidence, concluded that the recoil, movement of the weapon and the shooter, and the gases expelled from the muzzle were consistent with firing live ammunition, and not with shooting blank cartridges. Daniel Spitz, a prominent forensic pathologist, found that the footage appeared authentic, especially with respect to the two individuals who are shown being shot in the head at close range. He found that the body reaction, movement, and blood evidence was entirely consistent with what would be expected in such shootings. Jeff Spivack, an expert in forensic video analysis, found no evidence of breaks in continuity in the video, no additional video layers, and no evidence of image manipulation.  Together, the reports by these experts strongly suggest that the video is authentic, said Alston.

Alston’s team also rebutted most of the arguments relied upon by Sri Lanka’s experts in support of their contention that the video was faked. Sri Lanka had said that there was no recoil or movement of the weapon discharged. However, Spivack and Diaczuk described the recoil visible on the video, and the way in which the movement was consistent with firing live ammunition. Sri Lanka referred to the lack of audio synchronization. Spivack said that the video/audio synchronization in the video was well within acceptable limits, and that audio can be ahead or behind video, subject to various variables.

Sri Lanka had stated that the movement of the second victim after being shot was not consistent with the normal expected reaction. However, Spitz said that the movement was entirely consistent with the manner in which the individual was apparently shot. Sri Lanka had said that while wind could be heard it could not be seen. Spivack showed multiple places in the video where there is clear evidence of wind. Sri Lanka’s experts said the footage was likely to have been recorded on a digital camcorder and not a mobile phone. Spivack concluded that the metadata he retrieved from the video was entirely consistent with multimedia files produced by mobile phones with video recording capability and that it would have been very difficult to alter the metadata.

There are a small number of characteristics of the video which the experts were unable to explain. These included the movement of certain victims in the video, 17 frames at the end of the video, and the date of 17 July 2009 encoded in the video. In sum, while there are some unexplained elements in the video, there are strong indications of its authenticity. Together, the reports by these experts strongly suggest that the video is authentic,”  said Alston .

Alston declared,  Given these conclusions, and in light of the persistent flow of other allegations of extrajudicial executions by both sides during the closing phases of the war I call for the establishment of an independent inquiry to carry out an impartial investigation into war crimes and other grave violations of international humanitarian and human rights law allegedly committed in Sri Lanka”.

Alston released the full text of the expert opinions in a “Technical Note” made public in New York on January 7.2010. On January 8, 2010, Reuters reported that Sri Lanka has rejected Alston’s report, maintaining that its own experts had determined that the footage was fake.

Sri Lanka told the Human Rights Commission in Geneva that they were concerned about the procedure adopted by Alston, in making the technical note’ available through a public statement. This violates the principles and practices governing the work of the UN Human Rights special procedures and mechanisms,  as given in the code of conduct and the manual which govern the exercise of the respective thematic and other mandates. Member state concerned should be given adequate time to respond. The government of Sri Lanka had only 48 hours to receive the report, send it to Colombo, and obtain a response.

The Foreign Ministry put out a statement on January 8.2010. This statement said that Alston should have first shared with the Government of Sri Lanka the opinions of the independent experts. Thereafter the Government should have been afforded adequate time to examine the same. The views of the Government should then have been among the factors determining what further action is to be taken. This did not happen and instead what took place is a violation of all accepted procedures of the United Nations and the norms of justice and fair play.

The Sri Lanka statement then went on to emphasis observations made by Alston’s team which supported the Sri Lanka position. Spivack had said that one file submitted for analysis cannot be authenticated without knowing what device was used. The most troubling from a file integrity standpoint is the text which appears in the final 17 frames of video.” Spivak also observed that there is no way to confirm the identity of the potential victims or the shooters. whether the shooters were actually Sri Lanka military members as opposed to Tamils dressed in Sri Lanka military uniforms, nor whether the potential victims were Tamils or instead innocent victims of another ethnic group Spitz, commented on the movement of the leg of the first victim at the time the second is shot. I would not expect his leg to remain in this position (upright position with knee flexed approximately 90 percent) if he were deceased (Full text of the statement is given in the Appendix.)

Palitha Kohona, then at the UN said, I have serious reservations about the manner in which Alston made presented the report. He went to New York to present it just at the time when the UN General Assembly and Security Council were meeting. That suggests to me that he was looking for political mileage. Moreover he chose to release the report on the Channel 4 video just two weeks before the Sri Lanka  presidential election. There are serious doubts about the conclusions drawn by him on the basis of report by  experts engaged and paid by him. We have contrary reports by experts engaged by the  government of Sri Lanka .

Christof Heynes, who succeed Alston as Special Rapporteur in August 2010 also supported Alston’s views, though rather tentatively. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon initially distanced himself from the controversy, telling reporters in New York at a UN press conference on  11 January 2010 that Alston  is ‘acting independently’ But on January 13, Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman Martin Nesirky “backed the need for such a probe, saying that Alston’s conclusions show ‘the need for a credible, independent and impartial investigation into allegations of violations of human rights and international law by all sides in the conflict in Sri Lanka.  Under mounting pressure, Ban appointed a Panel of Experts in September 2010 to ‘advise him on accountability issues in Sri Lanka.’ This Panel released its report, known as the Darusman Report, in September 2011. (continued)

 

APPENDIX 1.

Full text of the statement made by Foreign  Ministry of Sri Lanka  on January 6.2010.

1. Special Rapporteur Alston had by his letter of 5th January 2010 to SriLanka’s PRUN/Geneva informed that he intends to make a Public Statement in New York on 7th January 2010. The said communication was received by PRUN/Geneva after office hours on 5th January and in turn sent to Colombo on 6th January 2010 when it came to their attention.

2. The matter of the Statement is the content of the Technical Note comprising the opinions of three independent experts”, who had been retained” by the Special Rapporteur on the so called Channel 4 video tape that purportedly shows an incident of extrajudicial killings in Sri Lanka.

3. The justification by the Special Rapporteur of the Public Statement in this regard was on the grounds that there had been a very public exchange of comments on this matter. It was pointed out by Secretary, Foreign Affairs, when he spoke to him over the phone in New York on 6th January that this is not an acceptable rationale since once the UK based Channel 4 telecast the footage the Government of Sri Lanka was compelled to refute the issue in the same manner. In fact it may be recalled that when Channel 4 aired this footage there was a public pronouncement by the Special Rapporteur on its authenticity. This rationale of the Special Rapporteur used to justify his Public Statement in New York therefore is questionable.

4. Moreover, the space between the receipt of the Technical Note in Colombo in the evening hours of 6th January and the scheduling of the Public Statement in New York in the morning hours of 7th January hardly afforded a reasonable amount of time for a considered response from the Government of Sri Lanka.

5. It should be emphasized that the least that could have been done would have been to first share with the Government of Sri Lanka the opinions of the independent experts. Thereafter the Government should have been afforded adequate time to examine the same. The views of the Government should then have been among the factors determining what further action is to be taken. This did not happen and instead what took place is violative of all accepted procedures of the United Nations and the norms of justice and fair play. This is exactly what my Ministry Secretary said to Prof.
Alston.

6. Special Rapporteur Alston without resorting to fair practice went ahead and made a Public Statement as scheduled on 7th January. While his statement concludes that (I quote) most of the arguments relied upon by the GOSL to impugn the video have been shown to be flawed”, (unquote) he has done so ignoring that his own position as articulated is contradicted in the context of the opinions expressed by the experts.

 

The following are noteworthy:

• Prof. Alston’s very opening line of his statement states that the (quote)
reports by three independent experts strongly point to be authenticity of a video tape released by Channel 4 in Britain which appears to show the summary execution of bound, blindfolded and naked Tamils by Sri Lankan soldiers”. (unquote)

However one of the experts J. Spivack, Forensic Multi-media Analyst categorically states that (quote)the multi-media file submitted for analysis, video DJ. 3 gp, cannot be authenticated to an absolute certainty without access to the device purportedly used”. (unquote). Further Spivack also states (quote) that there is no way to confirm solely
from this recording the identity of the potential victims or the shooters. Neither whether the shooters were actually Sri Lanka military members as opposed to Tamils dressed in Sri Lanka military uniforms, nor whether the potential victims were Tamils or instead innocent victims of another ethnic group can be determined from this recording”. (unquote) Further there are according to Spivack (quote) unexplained characteristics of this file, the most troubling of which from a file integrity stand point is the text
which appears in the final 17 frames of video.” (unquote)

• Further, another expert, Dr. Daniel Spitz, a Forensic Pathologist and
Toxicologist, has stated that questions remain following his review of the material relating to, what accounts for the movement of the leg of the first victim at the time the second is shot. Further, Dr. Spitz states that (quote) I would not expect his leg to remain in this position (upright position with knee flexed approximately 90 percent) if he were deceased”. (unquote)

Such are some of the ambiguities in the opinions expressed by the experts. It is therefore extremely regrettable that Rapporteur Alston’s statement amounts to the misrepresentation of the said opinions and brings into question his judgement.

• Despite these qualifications, the Special Rapporteur has proclaimed in his
overview to the Technical Note that (quote) in light of these conclusions, and of the persistent flow of other allegations concerning extrajudicial executions….. I called for an independent inquiry to be established to carry out an impartial investigation into war crimes and other grave violations of international humanitarian and human rights law…” (unquote) It may be noted that this position has been reiterated by Prof. Alston in his Public Statement and is the crux of the issue.

• Prof. Alston’s position of a (quote) persistent flow of other allegations
concerning extrajudicial executions…..” (unquote) seem to emanate on the basis our mere newspaper report quoting one of the candidates for the current Presidential Election.

• Prof. Alston’s rush and determination to go public, ignoring accepted procedure and the very opinions of the experts leads for apprehensions to arise that he is pursuing a targeted campaign against the Sri Lankan authorities with the deliberate timing of his action to coincide with the current sensitive phase of national elections.

7. The Sri Lanka Government will firmly resist any endeavour negative to her interests posed from any quarter. Also the GOSL remains committed to continued engagement and dialogue with the UN, including on matters relating to the further protection and preservation of human rights.[1]( end of statement)

 

[1] http://info.gov.lk/news_update/Current_Affairs/ca201001/20100108sri_lanka_will_firmly_resist_endeavours_negative_to_her_interest_from_any_quarter.htm

“SRI LANKA’S KILLING FIELDS” Part 2

May 24th, 2018

KAMALIKA PIERIS

Channel 4 issued a second version of it’s ‘war crimes’ video, with the title, Sri Lanka’s Killing fields”. It was telecast on 14 June 2011.  The documentary was made by ITN Productions and presented by Jon Snow, of Channel 4 News using a dossier compiled by Channel Four.

The footage consisted of three segments. The first segment showed the   summary execution of bound,  blindfolded, and naked Tamils by Sri Lankan soldiers. Second segment showed images of dead females who may have been sexual assaulted and the third showed suffering civilians in the conflict zone. The images contained in the footage are truly gruesome and shocking, irrespective of whether the incidents are ‘real’ or ‘staged’ ones,   agreed viewers.

The documentary was watched by an estimated 700,000 to 1 million viewers and drew a lot of publicity. Channel 4 waived its international copyright, and viewers outside UK could view the documentary on its on-demand service and via YouTube. This was an unusual move. The documentary was subsequently broadcast in Australia, India, and Norway in July 2011 and drew comments. It was discussed in the UK and Australian parliaments. .  Former Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga also recognized the film.

This film was shown at the 17th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, June 2011 in Geneva, with much advance publicity.  Thereafter, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch,  and  International Crisis Group screened   the film at the Congressional Auditorium, Washington, D.C. on 15 July 2011 to an audience of senators, congressmen, officials and diplomats. The film was then shown at the European Parliament, Brussels on 12 October 2011.

The film won several awards. It won Amnesty International’s media award 2011 and two One World Media Awards in 2012 in the categories “Television” and “Documentary”. The film won Royal Television Society‘s Television Journalism Awards 2010/2011 in the ‘Current Affairs, International’ category. RTS called it a “meticulous investigative documentary” and “a unique, disturbing, and convincing account of what was supposed to be a war carried out well away from public view”.  In 2012, the film was nominated for a BAFTA TV Award in “Current Affairs”

The film was also heavily criticized. Serena Davies reviewing for Telegraph asked what was the purpose of viewers being exposed to such horror and why focus on   the British public? Should untutored members of another nation, on the other side of the world and with no claims now over its former colony, watch these squalid little films? Surely these are a matter for the experts, for the international arbiters of justice and human rights. . TV with its sensationalizing soundtrack and its graphic intimacy was not the correct medium for such highly political information, concluded Davies.

Columnist A. A.  Gill, reviewing the documentary in  Sunday Times (London) said the footage was unattributed and uncorroborated”. Not a second of this has been shot by Channel 4. None of the eyewitness accounts comes from journalists”. He criticized Jon Snow’s narration as “intemperate and partisan”, and stated that “it was all held together by assumptions”.

Shyam Tekwani an expert in terrorism & media at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, US Department of Defense, compared the “tone and tenor” of the documentary to that of productions by the LTTE’s propaganda wing. “Clearly an effort to sensationalize and shock with carefully selected and edited footage, the documentary weakens its case and invites an investigation into its own credibility and accountability to journalistic norms. The volume of testimony it uses as evidence is not enormous and most of it is derived from leading questions. The slant is pronounced,” said Tekwani    who has extensively covered the Sri Lankan conflict.

Siri Hewavitharana ,former head of Cisco’s Global Broadcast and Digital Video Practice division  and presently the Executive Director of IPTV Systems in Sydney, Australia, is one of the world’s leading experts on digital video systems recorded his slangy comments in Asian Tribune, June 6, 2011.

This is the old video clip with added drama but this video is worse than the previous one, said Hewavitharana. The whole video is fake, he said. The   video has been done by ‘hired guns with an agenda’, who are not however experts in video. The technical foot print is identical on both videos indicating it is edited by the same software and by the same idiot.

The video is taken by video camera not by a mobile phone.  It is using an optical zoom which is not available in any mobile camera to date.  The US based video specialist Grant Fredericks, hired by Christof Heyns to analyze the video, also said the video never came from a mobile phone it was a high quality video from video camera edited using Philips editing software.

Video editing is so obvious that all it needs is to look into the video end to see more than one video layer. Audio is also not synchronized in with the video. The 17 frames of video that Spivack had said were inconsistent with the original video could be easily explained. This anomaly was created by a new video wrapper that tried to convert from original video camera to the mobile video format, concluded Hewavitharana .

Sri Lanka Ministry of Defence produced a counter documentary titled ‘Lies Agreed Upon’ in August 2011, as a response to the allegations made in Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields”. It disproves disproving the claims made by Channel 4.  This systematically took up the issues discussed in Killing field documentary and showed each issue to be false. It features interviews from former LTTE cadres, eyewitnesses of the final stages of the war, the Tamil doctors who had worked in the hospitals mentioned, and women and girls in refugee camps. The documentary implied that the LTTE may have executed the Government Security Forces personnel it was holding prisoner.

My observations on this video is that is very weak, starting with the choice of presenter, the charming Minoli Ratnayake, who is the very opposite of Jon Snow of Channel Four. This was not a cookery programme nor about Power Women, this is politics. Sri Lanka has many skilled documentary producers and dynamic presenters who could have made an effective documentary on the subject. Further, the presentation is too academic, with emphasis on facts. It is not at all cinematic and is quite boring. However, the points made are very important.

However, there was a better reply. On 1 July 2011 Swarnavahini, a privately owned Sri Lankan TV station, broadcast on their Live at 8 programme what they claimed to be the original version used on the Channel 4 documentary showing uniformed men summarily executing eight bound and blindfolded men. In the version broadcast by Swarnavahini the men in uniform were speaking in .This Tamil version was not new .it had appeared on YouTube shortly after the Channel 4 News had originally broadcast the Sinhala version on 25 August 2009. An investigation by a UN commissioned panel of independent experts found that the Sinhala version was authentic, said Wikipedia.

Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission” (LLRC) which sat from May 2011 to November 2011, decided to look at this video. LLRC observed that no person appearing before the Commission had referred to the Channel 4 Video or to the allegations contained therein,  but the Commission nevertheless considered the material relevant to its Warrant.

Commission wrote to the Independent Television Network (ITN), United Kingdom requesting a copy of the original broadcast footage and whatever other information the Network can share with the Commission including the dates, location etc related to the alleged incidents. The Network did not send a copy of the original broadcast video but gave permission for the LLRC to download it from the Channel 4 News Website. LLRC therefore had to use the video available in the public internet domain. The non-availability of a direct copy of the broadcast footage hampered in the conclusive clarification of such technical ambiguities observed LLRC.

The LLRC obtained an opinion from Dr. Chathura de Silva, Director of the Centre for Instructional Technology and Senior Lecturer, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. His view is that segments (of the video) appear to have been recorded in a natural environment but that at least some events are staged ones and that there is much manipulation and tampering.

Dr. Chathura de Silva said, Video footages are not authentic in terms of integrity of the media files and the authenticity of their content. The events shown in these footages are staged, manipulated with special digital effects and finally trans- coded to a mobile format to depict as being recorded through a mobile phone. There is no evidence to determine that the scene background depicted in the footage in general is computer generated or created in a studio environment. The segment of the footage appeared to be recorded in a natural environment.  Some of the bodies of alleged victims portrayed in the footage show no artifacts of manipulation either physically or through digital special effects. However fresh blood stains in the nearby ground showed evidences of using blood substitutes.”

LLRC decided a further independent technical opinion should be obtained They obtained the services of Professor E. A. Yfantis, Professor of Computer Science,  the University of Nevada, USA, and Director of the ICIS Laboratory. Professor Yfantis who is an expert in the field of digital image processing with vast experience in consulting for governmental and private sector organizations in the USA including NASA.

Yfantis in his report states that ‘based on mathematical analysis, blood in the 3GP videos is not real blood. It is not clear if the blood in the 3GP scenes is water with red dye or digitally constructed or edited video blood.’ He further states that videographic and mathematical analysis of the two 3GP videos show that the videos either were edited, or staged, or both” and the report concludes that the Careful analysis of the two 3GP videos which included both frame by frame visual inspection as well as the robust mathematical attributes of the video frames, has led us to the conclusion that this is a very deliberate and orchestrated video.” The report also detailed the fact that the video file was named “produce.3gp”, suggesting that the video file may have been a result of some form of video editing software.

LLRC stated in its report, Commission finds that there are troubling technical and forensic questions of a serious nature that cast significant doubts about the authenticity of this video and the credibility and reliability of its content. LLRC   observed that the reports obtained by the government of Sri Lanka and the UN Rapporteurs in Geneva, point to several technical ambiguities in the video which remain un-clarified. The LLRC independent experts, Dr. Chathura de Silva and Prof. E. A. Yfantis also cast significant doubts about the authenticity of the video, especially the probability of electronic tampering and the artificial construction of the ‘blood effect’ in the video. Trauma evident on the bodies of victims does not appear to be consistent with the type of weapon used and the close range at which the firing is seen to have taken place added LLRC.

The Commission shares some of the significant doubts expressed on the integrity of the video and feels strongly that if that were to be the case, whoever constructed the video and the organization that broadcast it should be held responsible for a serious instance of gross disinformation. If the footage has been artificially constructed or the incidents are staged as contended by several experts, the issue becomes even more serious and the need to establish facts of this case, equally compelling. Such conduct would constitute grave damage and injustice to the people of Sri Lanka and to those soldiers who fought professionally and sacrificed their lives in order to save other innocent lives from the LTTE stranglehold.

The Commission therefore recommends that the Government of Sri Lanka institute an independent investigation into this issue with a view to establishing the truth or otherwise of these allegations and take action in accordance with the laws of the land. Equally, the Commission feels that arrangements should be made to ensure and facilitate the confidentiality and protection of information and informants. The Commission strongly urges all those concerned, especially the organizations that provided the original images and the broadcasting organization, to extend fullest cooperation by providing the necessary information to facilitate this work.

Channel  Four   undaunted, then produced a third version titled  Sri Lanka’s killing fields: War Crimes Unpunished” .This film was a sequel to  the  previous film, Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields., with new evidence concerning the final days of the conflict. This was a commissioned follow-up film, this documentary focused on four specific cases. . This documentary was broadcast on 14 March 2012 at 10.55pm to coincide with the 19th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

James Walton noticed, in review for Telegraph that the original film had been denounced in Sri Lanka as a sloppy piece of reporting. So in this documentary they had proceeded carefully. The Independent‘s Tom Sutcliffe described the documentary as “essentially a work of frustration, a reiteration of the original charges and a repeat of a call for action that went nowhere last time” though it did have some new facts.

The Sri Lankan High Commission in London issued a statement on 15 March 2012 which accused the documentary of broadcasting “highly spurious and uncorroborated allegations” and of falsely implicating members of the Sri Lankan government and senior military figures. The Sri Lankan military condemned the documentary as “sensationalism” saying that most of its contents weren’t new, they had been broadcast on the first documentary

One  year later, came  a fourth film No Fire Zone, the Killing Fields of Sri Lanka. No Fire Zone was  directed by the Nobel Peace Prize nominee Callum Macrae,[7] a Peabody and Colombia Dupont Broadcast Journalism Award winner and Greirson and BAFTA nominee. Callum Macrae said in  interview that though the release comes not long after the Panel of Experts’ report was published, that was a coincidence, and we were clearly researching at the same time. I think it’s significant that we both reached virtually identical conclusions.

My job is to investigate the facts and get to the truth of what happened and tell the story, whether or not those crimes were committed by the Sri Lankan government, the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) or the United Kingdom. I’ve made quite a few films which relate to extrajudicial executions and torture fact the last two major films I made dealt with allegations against British troops in Iraq.

The documentary was broadcast on 14 March 2012 at 10.55pm in UK to coincide with the 19th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. It was also shown at the 10th International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights No fire Zone” was released online for free in India and Malaysia as well as Sri Lanka and Nepal.

No Fire Zone has been described as something of an international phenomenon., said Wikipedia. Not just an agenda setting investigation, but a cinematic tour de force – a stunning and disturbing film in its own right. It was described as “beautifully crafted and heart wrenching” by the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting in Washington, “utterly convincing” by the Globe and Mail in Toronto – and in the UK, Empire noted: “It is vitally important that this feature reaches the widest possible audience”. One critic in Australia described it as the most devastating film I have seen”, whilst the London Film Review says “No Fire Zone shocks on every level. It shocks, it educates, and it convinces.”  British Prime Minister, David Cameron,  said ”No Fire Zone is one of the most chilling documentaries I’ve watched. It has won many awards and is a nominee for an International Emmy Award 2014. No Fire Zone (TV version) was nominated for Best Documentary at the 2014 International Emmy Awards[ and was awarded the Britdoc Impact Award .

Here are some of its awards. Festival des Libertes 2013 – Winner of FIDH Best Film Award./CPH:DOX Copenhagen 2013 – FACT Award Jury Special Mention/ Nuremberg Film Festival 2013 – Winner of Audience Award/ WatchDocs Poland 2014 – Winner of Audience Award/ One World Film Festival Prague 2014 – Winner Václav Havel Jury Special Mention./ Docudays UA – Kiev 2014 – Winner of Jury Special Mention./Festival internacional de Cine y Video de Derochos Humanos Buenos Aires 2013 – Winner Jury Special Mention. The film received special jury mention at Film South Asia 2013/ Docudays UA – Kiev 2014/as well as being shortlisted for a Grierson award.

The Government of Sri Lanka  had, according to Channel Four, tried unsuccessfully to stop the film Zone being screened at the Film south Asia festival in Nepal. The Festival had instead shown the film twice. In Malaysia, despite the film having already been screened at the Malaysian parliament, a private human rights organization screening of the film in Kuala Lumpur was raided and the organizers arrested.

In November 2014 the producers released an updated version of the film containing new evidence, including footage showing the capture, alive, of the LTTE TV presenter Isaipriya. Previously the Sri Lankan government had claimed she had died in battle.

This update also included an interview with one of the Tamil doctors who had been trapped in the No Fire Zone. During the war the doctors told the world of the terrible conditions in the No Fire Zone, but after the war they were arrested and he held by the Sri Lankan Criminal Investigation Department. While in captivity they were forced to appear at a stage managed government press conference and deny everything they said from the war zone. In this interview – a longer version of which appeared on Channel 4 news in the UK – the most senior of the doctors revealed that he and the other doctors had been forced by Sri Lankan military intelligence to change their story – and confirmed that what they had said from the war zone was indeed accurate.

In January 2015 it was announced that the producers were working on a Sinhala language version of the film to be released later that month. Also in January 2015, following the defeat of President Rajapaksa in Sri Lanka’s presidential election, the film was re-released with a further update in time for a US campus tour organized by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting starting in February 2015. There is a fourth film  issued by Channel Four, titled Revisiting Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields”  issued on Jan 26, 2016  But this is not on ‘Killing Fields’, it is about ‘Missing Persons’. ( continued)

The President has long hands

May 24th, 2018

RANJITH SOYSA

The President, Sirisena paid tributes to the members of Sri Lankan defence services personnel for the sacrifices made in the protection of the country and the state at the Government war memorial meeting.

He was highly critical of the individuals who would not know  the difference between a soldier and a terrorist, One wonders whether it was an act of leg pulling as only the other day one of his own senior ministers who took up the position obviously failing to appreciate the distinct variation of the actions of a soldier who wages war against a terrorist to protect the people and a man of terror whose aim is to kill people indiscriminately to achieve his objective, Or, is it the President playing the role of now familiar role of pacifier which he had been engaged in it whenever the crucial issues come up? We suggest the President to adopt a method of go hard on his words to put a stop to insults hurled at the heroic defenders for the political survival of those who begin at the wrong end.

The President also mentioned that the Sri Lankan soldiers have not been accused of war crimes! The President either made an inadvertent mistake or forget to mention that the OHCHR report which was officially sponsored by the United Nations accused Sri Lanka as a State committed war crimes and the Sri Lankan government will have to respond to the allegations which are levelled. He also did not mention that his government on 15th Sept 2015 endorsed and accepted UN/HR/1/30 resolution based on OHCHR report without registering any reservations. The government of Sri Lanka on 29th Sept 2015 also, co-sponsored UNHRC resolution A/HRC/30/ which again accepted its conclusions without any questioning.

One should not forget the fact that at present the members of the defence forces who join the international peace keeping operations and others who intend traveling to the Western countries are forced to hang on to their sleeves on account of the UNHRC resolution sponsored by the Sri Lankan government.  Some foreign embassies openly quote that the Sri Lankan government has approved the contents of the resolution.

It is not too late to submit a rebuttal to the UNHRC on the allegations levelled at Sri Lanka’s defence forces. We request the President to open a new chapter in taking action to protect the good name of the war heroes by challenging the conclusions of the said UNHCR resolution and on the basis of  the  LLRC & Paranagama reports, the exhaustive submissions made by Sir Desmond De Silva, Prof D.M.Crane, John Holmes and also the recent revelations’ made by Lord Naseby with whom the President had a conversation while in the UK.

We urge the President to take the UNHRC bull by the horns NOW and to clear the decks so that the unenviable humanitarian mission carried out by the Sri Lankan forces will receive the due recognition of the world

 

RANJITH SOYSA

 

 

INSIGHT INTO SINHALESE LANGUAGE THROUGH BENGALI.

May 24th, 2018

By W. Pathirana. Retired Senior Lecturer, University of Colombo.

A couple of recent news paper articles on similarities between Sinhalese and Bengali languages prompted me to submit this article. During the years 1967 – 1975 as a university student in Kolkata, the writer’s interest in Bengali language grew more intense with time as surprising similarities were discovered between the two languages. Being a pharmacy professional I have limited linguistic ability to write a scholarly article on languages. However this article should stir up Sinhalese, Bengali and other language scholars to take a serious look at the Sinhala – Bengali linguistic and the other wider connections. It must be noted that Bengali is the seventh most widely spoken language in the world catering to a population of close to 300 million people.

On your first arrival in Kolkata with a linguistically blunt mind, you don’t hear clear spoken words as such but a haze of sounds in the busy crowded metropolis of 14 million people. You are struck by sharp quasi musical sounds such as Cha, Sha, Kha, Tha, etc. In comparison the Sinhalese language appeared somewhat toned down in the force of pronunciations.

Once during sessions, a lecturer pointing at a student with unkempt hair sarcastically said ‘Ki Chamathkar’? Another day during a lecture, an interlude was set aside for mimicking. The student seated next to me leaning his head on my shoulder said ‘Ami klantho’ mimicking a bout of fainting. It was clear what they said translated in to Sinhalese were ‘Ketharum Chamathkarada’ and ‘Mama Kalanthe Daanawa’ and that there should be a similarity between the two languages. During lectures now and then I could hear many words that you come across in Sinhala such as ‘Kanija padartha’, ‘Anka’, ‘Jhol’ (Jalaya), ‘Raktho’, ‘Prathima’ and ‘ Porikkha’ (Parikshanaya or examination). In between a close friend would describe to me his fiancée as ‘Ardhangani’.  On a visit to a friend of mine at his residence, on seeing me he said ‘Alpa maathro’ (Alpa Mathrayak), meaning to wait for a while and slipped back in to the house returning minutes later.

Here is a rare incidence that none has so far documented anything similar. At a Bengali friend’s house, I happened to see a calendar with a picture of a stately personality standing on a decorated ship. I asked my friend what this picture is all about. He replied, ah, there you are! It is portraying King Vijay Sing sailing to Lanka two thousand years back”. This immediately struck me with the fact that the arrival and departure of this legendary king is now connected and the well known historical event was confirmed from the other end from where the whole history began.  It was a sensation to realize our historical roots from where the story of the Sinhalese commenced. Time and again in Sri Lanka we talk about the arrival of King Vijay Sing and his 700 men. For once, I had the pleasure of experiencing in a small way the departure of King Vijay Sing from Bengal or the Vanga Deshaya to Sri Lanka.

A similar incident happened during a speech by a Sri Lankan student at a meeting in the Kolkata International Students Association chaired by a Bengali gentleman. The student casually said during his speech I reached Kolkata from Sri Lanka the other day”. The Bengali chairperson interrupted the student and said Do not say I have come to Kolkata” say that I have returned home” meaning that the student had returned to his home country from where his ancestors left to Lanka two thousand years ago. The Bengali people are aware of this historical event. However there is no formal study of the subject with the depth it deserves despite the fact that it has scope for several doctoral dissertations.

There are genetic studies that strongly support the North Eastern Indian (Bengali and Oriya) origin of the Sinhalese. There appear on a lesser scale to a similar connection to Western Indian (Gujarati and Punjabi) origin. Gujarat was known as Lala deshaya/rata and is home to Indian lions or Singha, literally connecting Sinhabahu to this branch of the origin of the Sinhalese. Due to close proximity, over millennia there is a degree of Dravidian admixture as well among Sinhalese in many spheres. It has come to light comparatively recently that the Dravidian population in Sri Lanka is a heterogeneous stock consisting of Tamil, Malayali, Theligu (Andra), Moor, Kafir and Chettiyars. Terms ‘Andara’ from Andra Pradesh and ‘Demala’ from Tamil were coined together by Sinhalese as ‘Andara-demala’.  Whenever the Sinhalese are in a difficulty in understanding any conversation they say it is like ‘Andara-demala’ based on the fact that they had a difficulty in understanding Dravidian languages. Interesting information could be found by referring to an article titled ‘Genetic Studies on Sinhalese’ at <en.wikipedia.org/wiki/genetic_studies_on_Sinhalese>.

By and by with these incidences in the back ground, I started to probe deeper in to the relationship between the two languages. A book on Bengali alphabet was purchased. It was a great surprise to find that the two alphabets were almost the same with ‘ka, kha, ga, gha, na’ and ‘ya, ra, la, wa, sa, listed in the same sequence. Though Bengali letters were comparatively simple, one could make out the similarities between these and the Sinhalese letters. One can discern the similarities especially in the letters ka, ja, na, dha, pa, la and sa’.  The horizontal lines running at the upper part of Bengali as well as Hindi letters have all but disappeared from Sinhalese letters except a rudimentary line in few of the Sinhalese letters, Eh, Cha, Da, Bha and Sa. (www.omniglot.com/writing/bengali/ntm). It has been said that the Sinhalese letters are the most roundish of all languages. For instance the letter ‘Ka’ takes as much as parts of six circles and one full circle, all in all seven. An engineering drawing would have to use seven radii of curvature to construct the letter ‘Ka’.

The pronouncing of the numerals is even closer between the two, starting with ‘Sunya’ for zero in Bengali. In the ascending order in Bengali they are Ek, Dho, Theen, Chaar, Paach, Shoi, Saath, Aart, Noi and Dosh which are self- explanatory. These pronunciation seems to have remained as they were, ever since the arrival of Sinhalese over 2000 years back. It may be that the numerals are not susceptible to changes unlike the language. By nature, numerals stand firm in what they intend to convey and meant to resist changes. Incidentally the numeral sounds of Sinhalese have no relation what so ever to Dravidian numerals such as Ondu, Rendu, Moolu etc except in the case of ‘Ettu’, (Aart, Ata or Eight). Here is a rarely appreciated dichotomy between Dravidian and the Sinhalese languages that needs serious attention by the scholars.

Given below is a gist of similarities between the two languages. The mini-dictionary is set in the sequence English – Bengali – Sinhalese where necessary. A small explanation is given where it warrants. The sound ‘Ba’ in Bengali must be substituted with ‘Va’ in Sinhalese.

Anatomical parts- Most similarities of the words are obvious and needs no elaboration. Kesh – Kess, Naak – Nasaya, Akshi – As, Mukh – Mukaya, Jeev – Diva, Daath – Dath, Rhidoi – Hardaya, Hand- Haath – Atha, Angul – Angili, Lap- Kule – Ukule, Paad – Paada, Linga – Linga, Ladies- Naari- Naari, Short man – Beti Manush – Beti minisa, Tall man – Lomba – Tall as a Lambayak.  Also Raktho means red and refer to blood.

Fruits- Mango – Aamb – Amba, Bale fruit – Bale – Beli, Guava – Perah – Pera, Sugar cane – Aak – Uk, Pineapple – Annas – Annasi, Banana – Kola – Kesel. Here two of the Bengali consonants appear among three Sinhalese consonants and the writer took many years to realize the hidden similarity as the sound kola diverts you to leaves or green. Star fruit – Kabranka – Kaabaranka . This was accidental, when I heard a pavement hawker in Kolkata calling ‘Kabranka, Kabranka’. It was a great surprise to find this non- commercial somewhat rare fruit being called by a Sinhalese word.

Food- Rice – Bhaath – Bath, Eat – Kaben- Kanna, Water – Jhol – Jalaya, Red pepper – Morich – Miris, Roti – Roti, Gingili balls – Thila Guli – Thala Guli, Bitter – Thetho – Thiththa, Liquor – Sharaa – Raa, Potatoes – Alu – Ala, again is a relationship that took a long time, over five years to comprehend since the sound of Bengali word ‘alu’ is associated in Sinhalese with ‘ash’. Incidentally the example Fire – Agni – Gini shows that the similarities between the two languages may not be obvious at once but becomes clear once you sift through them.

Calander/Time- Four seasons are termed Grishmo – Greeshma, Shorot – Sarath, Sheeth – Sheetha and Bosonto – Wasantha. Bengali names of the days in the week end in ‘bar’. Sound ‘Ba’ must be substituted with ‘Wa’ for Sinhalese equivalent so that ‘bar’ is ‘var’ or ‘waraya’ or the ‘turn’. Day names starting from Monday are – Robibar – Ravigewaraya, Sombar, Mongalbar – Mangalawaraya, Budhbar – Badaada, Brihospathibar – Brahaspathinda, Shukrobar – Sikurada and Shonibar – Senasuradha.  Both these list of names refer to certain planets. A.M, P. M. – Shokale,Vikale. Night – Rathri – Rathree, Good night – Shuba Rathri – Suba Rathriyak.

Place names- Following place names are from Metropolitan Kolkata. Plain of gems – Maniktala – Manik thalawa, Plain of Dharma – Dharmatala – Dharmatalawa, Salt lake – Noone pokur – Lunu Pokuna, Nation Lovers Park – Deshappriyo Park – Deshappriya Park. The similarities of Sinhalese equivalents of the two astonishing place names Sealda and Goriahath are described later.

It was a never ending fascination to see a bus plying in Kolkata city with the name board ‘Kolyan-Madyamgram’. By then I had the skills to unlock sounds, with the ability to assemble metamorphosed sound changes from Bengali in to Sinhalese. Kolyan stands for Kalyan or Kelaniya. Madyamgram stands for Madyama+grama or central village or Medagama. In Sri Lanka it would be a bus plying between Kelaniya and Medagama. Incidentally, Medamoolana village in southern Sri Lanka is much in news these days. Here ‘meda’ means central. ‘Mool’ is leader (Moolikaya) or basic (Mooladharma) or root (Mool). Medamoolana means a place for central leadership.

Relationship to Sinhalese of the name of one of the long distance railway stations ‘Sealda’ (Siyalda) in Kolkata is an interesting one. When first heard it did not bring out any similarity. I requested a Bengali friend to explain. Then only the language connection became apparent. ‘Seal’ is for Sival/Sivala/Nariya and Da or Dha is a form of salutation, in this instant to a fox. In summery name Sealda stands for Exalted Fox-Sealda-Sival da or simply the ‘Great Fox Railway Station’.

For years I have been travelling in a tram car with the name board of a strange sounding name ‘Goriahath’ not imagining that there could be even a remote possibility of a similarity with Sinhalese. Again a friend analyzed it for me, Gori or Geri is Cattle or Gonaa and Haath is Atha/hand. So the name of this tramcar terminal is Cattle limb – Goriahath – Geri Atha. By splitting words in this manner one can even understand many Sinhalese words to a greater depth.

Personal names- Many names are connected to Buddhism – Thathagatho, Gauthum, Moithri, Siddhartha and Buddho. Names of males are Arun, Uday, Durlav, Lahiri, Mihir, Mukul, Predeep and female names are Purnima, Soft hair – Romaa – Roma, Heat – Thapothi – Thaapa, Thought – Chittho – Chintha, Cool – Sheethol – Seethala (not in use).

Politics- There are many Sinhala sounding slogans. People’s fight will continue – Janathara Sangram Cholche Cholbe – Janatha sangramaya chalanayawe, People with two different rules – Dunithi parayan – Nithideke parayan, Bound to motherland – Bande Matharum – Mathrubumiyata bandhee sitimi, Contraversy – Aandolan – Aandolanaya. Pradhan manthri and Mukya manthri are two obvious terms.

Numbers- The Bengali sounds of the numbers are obvious, Ek, Dho, Theen, Char, Paach, Shoi, Saath, Aart, Noi, Dosh. Thirty three – Theth thiris – thiss thuna. Incidentally the sound of English thirty three rhymes well with the other two sounds. Ten million – Koti – Kotiya. I travelled to campus in a bus with route number 8B – Aart B – Ata B.

University- There was a number of words sounding similar to Sinhalese that make you feel at home in the university environment. They include, University- Bishvavidyala – Vishvavidyala, Examination – Porikka – Parikshana, Sums- Anko – Anka/Ganithaya, to write – Lekho-Lekana/Liyana, Center – Kendra – Kendra, Prospects – Unnathi – Unnathiya, Sishyo – Sishya, Teacher – Guru – Guruthuma, New/novel – Nothun – Noothana, Put to use – Bavahar – Viyawaharaya.

Day to day activities– There were several minor staff members attached to the Salvation Army hostel, Kolkata, where I was boarded. Once in awhile one of them was missing for some length of time. On seeing him back I enquired as to where he was all this while. The first person said ‘Ami mulluk gelo’. The second and the third also said ‘Ami mulluk gelo’. When I asked a fried how is that all of them are from the same town ‘Mulluk’, my friend said that ‘mulluk is not a village and what they meant was that they visited their ‘home town’ on vacation.  ‘Ami mulluk gelo’ in Sinhalese would be ‘Mama mulgam giya’. This struck me with the fact that the equivalent of ‘mulluk’ in Sinhalese is ‘mulla’. The sound however conveys the meaning of a ‘corner’ but analyzing from Bengali connection it means ‘moolya’ or ‘mul’ or ‘roots’ or the original village of a person. There are many towns in Sri Lanka with names ending in ‘mulla’ such as Udahamulla, Yakkalamulla, Battaramulla and Bemmulla. Before getting exposed to Bengali language I thought these were some kind of ‘remote corners’. Udahamulla would actually means Uda or upper village. Yakkalamulla should be the village of devils. Ududumbara (Uda Dum Bara) in Bengali would mean Udu – oot/ud+Dum – Dhoom (smoak)+bara – bora – weight. So Ududumbara is a highland village laden with heavy smoke, meaning mist.

During conversation, the Bengalese very often says ‘ebarr’. For example ‘I went to post office’, ‘Ebarr, I went to the vegetable market’. I was told ‘ebarr’ means ‘next turn’ or turn by turn. In Sinhalese when b is substituted with v ‘ebarr’ reads ‘evaar’ or ‘ema vaaraye’ or ‘eelanga vaaraye’. In conversation among Sinhalese, in place of Bengali context ‘ebarr’, we say ‘epaara’. All my childhood I thought it meant ‘first this road, next another road etc and the events in the conversation were changing from road to road.  Now I know the Sinhalese ‘epaara’ means a corrupt form of ‘evaar’, ‘vaarayen vaaraya’ or turn by turn. In both these although the sounds have changed with time the context and consonant base have remained similar.

Others instances of similarities are listed here. Gaan koro – Gayanaya karanna, Snaan koro – Snanaya karana – take a bath, Thaak – Thabanna, Bandukoro – Bandanaya karanna – to stop, alok bandukoro – alokaya bendadamanna/niva damanna – Switch off lights, a difficult catch – Darun catch. When you visit someone else, the host says ‘Ashun’ meaning ‘Aasana’/to sit down. To go out – Bahire gelo- Baahirata Giya/Bayrak Giya. Patiye dawo – Pitakara damanna/send out/to post a letter.

Arts and culture- In the early seventies on returning from a holiday in Sri Lanka I took a copy of a broacher of Professor Sarathchanga’s famous drama ‘Maname’. It is no exaggeration to say that the pictures and the contents appeared as if it is a Bengali production.  Except for few words, the Bengali friends could understand word by word of the song ‘Premayen Mana Ranjitha Way Nandhitha Way, Pushpayen Wana Sundara Way Lankrutha Way ……aalayen, …..latha, mandapayen, chandaa,  thapa etc’. In the land of Rabindranath Thagore and Shanthi Nikethan it was a surprise for them to find Sinhalese language almost on par with the Bengali compositions linguistically. One small adjustment here is that ‘wa’ of Wana must be substituted with ‘ba’ in Bengali. This brings to mind the world famous ‘Sundarban’ – Sundar+ban/wan/wana or the ‘beautiful forest’ or in Sinhalese ‘Sundara Wanaya’, the well known habitat of Bengal Tigers. If you interpose Lanka with Vanga Desh for a moment, you begin to wonder if ‘Maname’ drama belongs to which one of these two places.

Bengalese will be able to understand most words in early gramophone record Sinhalese songs. For instance in the song ‘Handapane Welitalaa Surakumariyo Malsala, Mihiri Lalitha Gee Gaya, Natathi Me Raye’ except the words Handapane and Malsala others are same as Bengali. Handa is a toned down word for Chandra and Weli (Sand) in Bengali is Beli. By the way ‘dust’ in Bengali is Doolo and in Sinhala Doovili. Same is the case with the song ‘Asey Madhura Jeevanaye Geetha Naamu Ama Dahare’ and many other early songs.

A piece of Bengali poetry reads ‘Jala Bora Meghe’. In Sinhalese it means ‘Jalayen Barawoo Meghayak/Walakulak. Once I went for a film show titled ‘Pada Thick’. The meaning of it was analyzed to be ‘Paada Thaba’ in Sinhalese.

 

Analyzing selected Sinhalese words- From the view point of Bengali language, some of the Sinhalese words/names taken for granted could be analyzed as follows.

‘Udara’ can be split in to U+Dara. The sound Oo, U, Uda or Up stands for something held above or high. Dara is Daragena or to be held. Udara would mean a thing/person held in high esteem.

‘Mathaka’ is Ma+thak. Ma referes to Mind/Manasa. As described earlier Thak is to keep. Mathaka would mean to keep in mind or to remember. To say ‘Mathaka thabaganna’ is a wasteful repetition of the second word.

‘Kasada’ is Ka+sada/Sadhi. Ka or Kay means who? Sadhi is to marry. Kasada means whom are you marrying? In usage it refers simply to marrying.

‘Bandanagara’ is Bandana+Gara or Ghor or Gruhaya or House. Bandana means bound. Bandanagaraya is a place one is bound to. In other words it means the prison. All the other ‘garayas’ you come across in Sinhalese refers to various such houses. Eg: Kauthukagaraya, Shalyagaraya.

Matara is Mata+ra. Mata stands for Matha or mother. Ra is to add respect. Matara means respected mother.

Once a friend said ‘Your Prime Minister has a strange name’. I said ‘how is that, she has a beautiful name Sirimavo’, that time prime minister. He replied Sirimavo means Sri+Ma or Sri+Mother. Sri refers to male and Srimathi referesto female form of salutations. Therefore he said Mister Mother sounds strange. Once a Gujarathi gentleman by the name Arun met a Sri Lankan by the name Karunapala. The former said his name is inside latter’s name. We could not understand what he meant. He said the second to fifth letters read Arun.

Finally during election days you often come across two terms Gahenu/Genu and Pirimi. Genu is a corruption for ganika. Appropriate words for these two terms would be Sthree and Purusha.

Chances of interaction between the two sister languages Sinhalese and the Bengali is limited due to geography of Bengali speaking population located in north eastern India, in the State of West Bengal and in Bangladesh. Even the few Sri Lankans that trickle in to these areas are on hurried business assignments or on religious package tours. There are no interactive language centers as such. It is the responsibility of appropriate government or private agencies and individuals to revive and foster the cultural interaction between the two languages for the mutual benefit. Understanding the essence of these two languages is bound to open up the comprehension of many more languages such as Hindi, Gujarathi, Sanskrit and remotely even some English words that has a Sanskrit base. For instance, Mother – Maatha – Mawa and Peter – Peethru – Peethru/Piyaa. There will be no end to such a study that will lead to a long process of Genesis – Janmo – Janma of linguistic acumen.

No copy wrights claimed for this article intended for free distribution.

Elections: the Yahapalanists’ true fear

May 23rd, 2018

By Malinda Seneviratne Courtesy The Daily Mirror

Minister Mangala Samaraweera, speaking to the media at the Finance Ministry on Tuesday (May 22), stated that knowing well the crimes committed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa, he is in fact frightened of the former defence secretary. That’s political-speak, obviously. Mangala, after all, was never scared of the LTTE, was never scared of Chandrika Kumaratunga and certainly not of Ranil Wickremesinghe, even though the names of these individuals were directly or indirectly mentioned along with certain questionable deeds in the past.

  • The truth is that Mangala is fearful for his political future as that of his party and the yahapalana regime. The same goes for those in the UNP and those in the yahapalana regime — ministers, MPs and backers. It’s not a gota-baya (fear of Gota) but a pana-baya on account of clearly sliding fortunes

Moreover, someone who didn’t think twice of unleashing a kurundu-polu attack on supporters of his own party and is a prominent member of a corrupt and inept government can’t afford to talk about such fears.

The truth is that Mangala is fearful for his political future as that of his party and the yahapalana regime. The same goes for those in the UNP and those in the yahapalana regime — ministers, MPs and backers. It’s not a gota-baya (fear of Gota) but a pana-baya on account of clearly sliding fortunes. And barring a highly unlikely turnaround in approval ratings, these people would be scared of anyone, not just Gota. In other words any candidate picked by the joint opposition to go against Ranil Wickremesinghe or Maithripala Sirisena or both has excellent chances of becoming the next president.

The problem is not Gotabaya but the corruption, nepotism and other abuses of this regime. The yahapalanists have effectively taken the oomph out of all the slogans used by them in the run-up to the January 2015 presidential election. Most importantly, claims that Gotabaya’s programme is a carbon copy of the UNP’s vision for the future, are easily dealt with. If it’s the same programme then the only issue at hand is how to deliver. The UNP has proved beyond all reasonable doubt that it is not only a won’t-do-party but more ominously, a can’t-do-party. In fact, just as it can be argued that no one helped Maithripala Sirisena’s cause than Mahinda Rajapaksa, it’s the yahapalanists who are giving Gotabaya’s campaign the biggest boost. Mangala may believe his fear-mongering would awaken the despondent UNP activist from slumber, but it may very well have the opposite effect: Make him/her roll over and sleep longer.

All yahapalana politicians can be terrified about going before the people after what happened on February 10, 2018

There’s a simple question which brings us to the real source of fear: Why is this government not holding provincial council elections?

The entire country saw how the yahapalanists were scared out of their wits over facing the voter at the local level. They went to court to subvert this basic exercise in democracy. When the Elections Commission pointed out that objections raised did not apply to as many as 93 local government bodies, they got another set of proxies to object to the original objections. All that had to happen before elections were held. Both major parties in the ruling coalition were routed.

Having ‘fixed’ the Local Government Elections Act to make a mockery of the much bragged about ‘mixed system’ and still going on to lose, the yahapalanists started getting nostalgic about proportional representation. The old foot-dragging card ‘delimitation’ was once again drawn from the pack of limited options. Faizer Mustapha, who played a particularly pernicious role in the courtroom drama regarding local government elections, is sitting on relevant legislation.

The elections to the Eastern, North-Central and Sabaraguma Provincial Councils were held on September 8, 2012. Their relevant terms of office ended, therefore, in September 2017. Elections for the North, Central and North-Western Provincial Councils were held on September 21, 2013 and their terms of office are to end in four months from now.

Now if the Yahapalanists and other Devolutionazis were to concede, as they should, that these provincial councils are white elephants and that whether or not they exist makes little difference, it would make some sense. They are not ready to do that. If so, the most basic way of affirming political convictions would be to have them function. For this, elections need to be held. They are not being held.

What can we conclude under these circumstances? We have to assume that the reluctance to hold provincial council elections is not about lacking confidence in the concept. It has to be, then, about the fear of losing.

Those parties currently represented in Parliament don’t seem to be interesting in ‘small elections’. Mangala’s tirades are about a presidential election. The President is making noises of a second term. The joint opposition or rather the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna seems to think that they’ve got the grassroots (following good showing at the local government elections) and therefore there’s no need to test waters; they are impatient to get the big prize.

Now, whether or not one is ideologically committed to devolution, provincial councils and such, whether or not one is committed to the defeat of Devolutionazis and the abolition of the 13th Amendment and provincial councils, one has to acknowledge that the 13th Amendment still stands. One has to acknowledge that provincial councils exist. Thus, constitutionally and therefore legally, they need to be functional. Their functionality is dependent on one thing and one thing alone: Elections.

The onus is on the Government to hold elections. Faizer Mustapha, the subject minister, appears to have gone into one of his sporadic long-naps on the matter. The Elections Commission is mandated to follow the relevant rule book. The Elections Commissioner has to ask the relevant questions from the Government and if necessary seek clarification from court regarding the matter.

Mangala can fear Gotabaya. Mangala can entertain fears about his own political future. All yahapalana politicians can be terrified about going before the people after what happened on February 10, 2018. The Elections Commission need not be scared. It has a job to do. In fact, one might say that in a context where politicians are scared or pretending to be asleep, the only hope for those who want the relevant constitutional provisions affirmed, is the Elections Commission.

Mr Mahinda Deshapriya, Sir, how about a media conference to clarify to the people the status of provincial council elections?

SLFP breakaway group pledge support to JO

May 23rd, 2018

Kelum Bandara Courtesy The Daily Mirror

The 16-member Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) group that broke away from the government called on former President Mahinda Rajapaksa today and pledged to cooperate with the joint opposition in the future political matters.

MP Dayasiri Jayasekara told Daily Mirror that he and his colleagues had expressed their willingness to work to bridge the gap between President Maithripala Sirisena and the joint opposition.

However, he said the SLFP breakaway group would function as a separate entity inside and outside Parliament. “We will cooperate with the joint opposition when it comes to political activities. It does not mean that we will join them,” he said. 

British rugger players death: Police question trishaw drivers

May 23rd, 2018

Darshana Sanjeewa Courtesy The Daily Mirror

The Fort Police questioned several trishaw drivers in connection with the deaths of two British rugger players, after a visit to a nightclub in Colombo.

Police are hoping to identify and arrest the trishaw driver, who is believed to have given brown sugar narcotics to the ruggerites, while they were on their way to the night club in Kollupitiya.

British rugby player Thomas Howard (26) and 27-year-old Thomas Baty passed away while undergoing treatment at a private hospital after complaining of breathing difficulties.

Police are on the look out for a trishaw driver after Thomas Baty had given a statement from his hospital bed, where he said that they had consumed brown sugar drugs given by the driver.

The Fort Police said they had recorded statements from several trishaw drivers and were yet to identify the wanted driver.

Police suspect the cause of the deaths to be a drug overdose, because postmortem examinations confirmed there were no external injuries nor any other illness.()

By the end of 2017, China has invested $15 bln worth of infrastructure projects in SL, says envoy

May 23rd, 2018

Courtesy NewsIn.Asia

Colombo, May 23 (newsin.asia) – China, on Wednesday said that as of the end of 2017, Chinese companies had completed more than US 15 billion dollars worth of infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka and made great contributions to the economic and social development of the island country.

China’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Cheng Xueyuan, addressing the media for the first time since his posting in Colombo said that China maintained strong relations with Sri Lanka since ancient times, and in recent years it had contributed towards the economic development of the country.

The infrastructure of Sri Lanka such as roads, railways and ports had all been improved with China’s assistance in the last decade, the Ambassador said.

By the end of 2017, China has invested $15 bln worth of infrastructure projects in SL, says envoy

After finally bringing an end to the 26-year civil conflicts in 2009, Sri Lanka found itself severely suffered from war trauma and almost torn to pieces. When standing and trembling on the war ruins, Sri Lanka called for urgent support from the international community to rebuild this beautiful country, but surprisingly found that most countries chose to remain silent and watch the situation going on with folded arms. At this critical moment, it was China once again that stood up with open arms to Sri Lanka and participated comprehensively and deeply in the post-war reconstruction of the country,” Ambassador Cheng said.

The envoy further said that as one of the first countries to openly support China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Sri Lanka is an important partner with China in the Belt and Road joint construction.

We would like to work with our Lankan friends to further enhance mutual trust, respect and support to implement the mega projects of Colombo Port City as well as the Hambantota Port and Industrial Park, to boost the economic development of the island nation for the early harvest of joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative and to bring tangible benefits to our two countries and peoples,” the Ambassador said.

Meanwhile when questioned on the number of Chinese nationals presently working in projects in Sri Lanka, Ambassador Cheng said that at present there were around 6000 Chinese employees including in managerial posts, who were employed in Chinese projects in the island country.

He stressed that these workers were in Sri Lanka due a need for such skilled labour and only because Sri Lanka required their expertise.

He said all workers were here on the permission of the Sri Lankan government and these workers held valid work permits.

Meanwhile International Trade Minister, Malik Samarawickrema, speaking at the briefing said Sri Lanka looked forward to being part of China’s ambitious Belt and Road initiative as it would raise the living standards of all Sri Lankans.

Samarawickrema said that China and Sri Lanka had shared strong relations since ancient times and China had assisted Sri Lanka even in its rough times.

He added that China had greatly contributed in developing Sri Lanka’s economy, especially since the end of the country’s 30 year civil conflict, and it had launched mega projects under the Belt and Road initiative which would transform Sri Lanka into an international hub in the Indian Ocean region.
He further said more Chinese companies were eager to invest in Sri Lanka under the BRI and the government welcomed these investments. Within the next few months we hope to sign more agreements with China as we have received applications to set up a cement plant as well as rubber based industries,” Samarawickrema said.
China is willing to assist us in improving our economy. We are well aware that before 2050, China will be the major economic power in the world. I do not think that anyone can stop that. And working with them very closely, it will only help us and the people of Sri Lanka,” Samarawickrema said.
He added that the governments of China and Sri Lanka were also negotiating a Free Trade Agreement which Sri Lanka and China hoped to sign within the coming year.
China is sincerely looking to improve the economy of Sri Lanka and with their assistance I have no doubt Sri Lanka will be a better country in the near future,” the Minister said.

Clutching FTA crutches

May 23rd, 2018

Editorial Courtesy The Island

The yahapalana government is apparently labouring under the delusion that a sure-fire way of propping up the ailing economy is to ink free trade agreements (FTAs) with as many countries as possible. Its desperation seems to know no bounds. It came to power, promising to perform economic miracles and create a Utopia of sorts. But, it has become an economic cripple looking for free trade crutches to steady itself.

The yahapalana government’s latest attempt, to enter into an FTA with Singapore, has run into stiff resistance. Local professionals and entrepreneurs are opposing this move tooth and nail. They are of the view that the proposed agreement is heavily loaded in favour of Singapore. The government has sought to allay their fears, but in vain. Minister Malik Samarawickrama spoke sensibly in Parliament on Tuesday, countering, as he did, some of the arguments against the FTA at issue. But the government is faced with a severe trust deficit owing to questionable deals it has struck with foreigners for short-term gains.

The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government has shelved the Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India due to vehement protests; the government doctors are threatening stern trade union action if the government decides to go ahead with the controversial pact. Several professional outfits have pledged solidarity with the doctors, and the government, obviously, does not want to take unnecessary risks at a time when its chips are down on the political front. It has made a tactical retreat and craftily opened another front by undertaking to sign an FTA with Singapore. It is trying to wear down resistance from several professional groups which are also troubled by the prospect of foreigners taking the bread out of their mouths. The yahapalana administration has adopted the same modus operandi in handling the private medical school issue. It confuses its enemies by creating numerous other issues so that they will keep on protesting until they tire themselves out. As for the ETCA, the signs are that while feinting with its right the government may swing a left.

Not all arguments the opponents of the FTAs put forth, in a bid to justify their resistance campaign, hold water. But the concerns of the local stakeholders should be heeded and their views taken on board before vital decisions are made. One cannot but agree with them on the need for a national policy to prevent governments from entering into trade pacts with other countries in an ad hoc manner at the expense of the national interest.

It is time the government stopped trying to get lucky by hitching its wagon to strong economies. FTAs may be welcome so long as they are not blatantly lopsided. The FTA, it has agreed to sign with China, looks favourable, but whether the yahapalana negotiators will be able to ensure that Sri Lanka will stand to gain from the pact remains to be seen. However, FTAs are no substitute for a well thought-out plan to revitalise the national economy, which is in the doldrums. Similarly, the way to arrest the rapid depreciation of the rupee, which has aggravated the country’s economic woes, is not to depend on proceeds from the sale of state assets to foreigners to boost foreign reserves. The government ought to create an investor friendly environment to attract foreign direct investment. Corruption is driving foreign investors away and the gravity of the situation has become evident from the recent arrest of President Maithripala Sirisena’s Chief of Staff for taking a huge bribe from a foreign businessman.

Meanwhile, former Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera told Parliament on Tuesday that as for the proposed Sri Lanka-Singapore FTA, the government’s point man in Singapore was former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran. Politicians cannot be expected to tell us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, on the floor of the House, but the government had better counter his claim, if it is in a position to do so, because nobody in his or her proper senses will accept anything brokered by the likes of Mahendran and Mahanama.

Docs declare war on foreign funded civil society groups

May 23rd, 2018

By Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy The Island

Alleging that civil society groups were a threat to the country, the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) has declared war on Purawesi Balaya and National Movement for a Just Society (NMJS).

They played a pivotal role in January 2015 campaign to oust the Rajapaksa administration.

GMOA Secretary Dr. Haritha Aluthge yesterday alleged that those groups interfered and obstructed legitimate trade unions such as the GMOA and were engaged in a project inimical to the country.

Addressing the media at Professional Center at Stanley Wijesundera Mawatha, the GMOA vowed to do whatever it took to thwart anti-Sri Lanka projects undertaken by Purawesi Balaya and NMSJ..

Dr. Aluthge accused the those civil society groups of pursuing what he called arbitrary and covert motives targeting legitimate civil society representatives. The GMOA accused Purawesi Balaya and NMSJ of clandestine operations.

Referring to President Maithripala Sirisena’s speech at the recently concluded armed forces commemoration at Battaramulla, Dr. Aluthge pointed out that those so called civil society groups sponsored by foreign powers and groups were a threat to the entire country not only to the legitimate civil society. The GMOA alleged that those civil society groups couldn’t see the difference between terrorists and armed forces and were hell-bent on destroying existing systems.

The GMOA attacked those pursuing legal action against GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya as elements pursuing high profile operation against the establishment and legitimate trade unions.

The GMOA said that it had sought information pertaining to registration of Purawesi Balaya and NMSJ, their objectives and Constitution, funding sources, decision making process, office bearers and members and whether they could move court against others and vise versa from the Commissioner General of Labour and Director, Social Service Department.

The GMOA said the information was sought under the Right to Information Act enacted after the change of government.

One of the convenors of Purawesi Balaya Gamini Viyangoda told The Island that the group hadn’t received registration nor would it obtain recognition from any government authority under any circumstances. Viyangoda claimed that the GMOA lacked understanding of how civil society operated and was acting foolishly.

Declaring that Purawesi Balaya hadn’t been structured as a political party or group seeking political power, Viyangoda said that theirs was a voluntary organization built on consensus on issues.

The writer strongly disputed the GMOA’s assertion that only selected professionals and other interested parties could represent the civil society.

The Island sought Purawesi Balaya reaction in the wake of the GMOA issuing statement challenging its right to operate. Viyangoda issued the following statement in response to The Island request: ” The GMOA’s statement shows how narrow-minded these politicized  doctors are. They  think that The Civil Society should consist of formal, registered civil/professional organisations alone. Informal groupings are not eligible for civic activities of social transformation, according to them. Now they have taken into their heads that they should be the ones who call the shot. In fact, they should be sent back to their secondary school education to learn the role civil groupings have played throughout history to change the status quo. They can start from the French Revolution.

“They can go asking for information about Purawesi Balaya, but won’t get anything in return because we are not a registered civil society organisation for a good reason about which I can give them a lecture, if they want to learn some historical lessons of very concept “organisation” when applied to religion, politics, trades, etc. supported by past experiences in the world. Their organisation itself is a good example. It has become a political organisation than trade union organisation.

“I recommend them to read a world famous novel “Messiah” by Gore Vidal which I have translated into Sinhala some 18 years back titled “Galawumkara Isiwaraya” to have a glimpse of what could have happened to a so-called religious movement even, after being formed into an organisation.

“Simply these doctors are stupid. Otherwise they wouldn’t have mentioned about the court case that I and Sarath Wijesuriya have brought against Dr. Padeniya. That shows where there ‘social mindedness’ spring from.

“I am the one who emphasised from the very beginning that we should not have a Leader, President, Secretary etc like in other similar movements, instead we have three co-conveners, namely K. W. Janaranjana, Saman Ratnapriya and myself for organisational purposes. These conveners also can be changed in the future. Apart from that we have a manifesto of basic principles which has been published and in the public domain. In other words, no membership but co-partners as long as they agree on the basic principles.”

SILENCE REQUESTED

May 23rd, 2018

ALI SUKHANVER

Luckily or unluckily, Pakistan’s is one of those few countries where you can say and write whatever you like and you remain safe until unless the person you talk about takes your words serious. Some people may say that things were quite different almost ten to fifteen years back when the electronic media was not as powerful and advanced as it is now. There was only one TV channel, the PTV, which was fully under the control and command of the government and it was supported by the Radio Pakistan; also a government institution. It was the reign of President Musharaf when a media revolution brought a lot of changes in the whole of social structure of Pakistan. Gradually this liberty of expression got another ‘wing’ to fly on, that was the social media.

In the beginning, the things started in a haphazard way, people misused the newly acquired freedom or liberty of expression, knowingly or unknowingly but later on, the government of Pakistan introduced and implemented different rules and regulations to channelize this liberty of expression. Now situation is very much in control. Pakistan is now ranked very high in the list of countries where everyone is allowed to say everything using any medium of his own choice. Experts say that freedom of expression is no doubt a very positive trait but it becomes very dangerous rather disastrous if unchecked and without restrictions.

To avoid any unpleasant situation with reference to the freedom of expression, though the government of Pakistan has introduced new rules and regulations but still there are some factions of society which are simply distorting the simple face of the things, knowingly or unknowingly by misusing freedom of expression. Unfortunately most of such factions are supported, guided, pushed-up and even financed by some hostile foreign elements like the RAW, NDS and to some extent the CIA. Defaming the Armed Forces and the Intelligence Agencies of Pakistan is one of the most favourite topics for the people belonging to these factions.

Liberty of expression has ever been the most desired demand of the educated ones in every society but at the same time keeping the freedom of expression under some control has also been a very serious problem. Situation in this particular context is graver in the countries with low literacy rate.

In Bangladesh the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has recently taken a serious action regarding freedom of expression. She introduced an act with the name of Digital Security Act 2018 for putting a check on the misuse of freedom of expression. According to this Act a journalist could be convicted of espionage for entering a government office and gathering information secretly using an electronic device. The offender would carry a 14-year jail sentence. This act forbids spreading of negative propaganda about the country’s war of independence or about its founding leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman using a digital device. In case of violation, a life sentence is suggested.

According to different Bangladeshi newspapers, when the cabinet approved this act, hundreds of Bangladeshi journalists took to the streets and protested against this digital security bill.  The campaigners said this law would damage media freedom in the country. Different media rights groups including the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) have condemned the bill because according to them the act provides more grounds to grossly misuse the provisions to harass journalists and restrict freedom of expression.

Protest against the DSA 2018 is getting severe and severe day by day in Bangladesh and Sheikh Hasina’s government is under a very serious public pressure. Unfortunately most of her advisers belong to India; they have a very typical prejudiced type of angle of looking at the things. Moreover they have their own vested interests; it seems so they don’t want her move in the right direction.

But in Pakistan the situation regarding liberty of expression is somewhat different. Most of the people here are very much sincere to the motherland; the political process is gradually getting stronger; democracy is getting strength and above all the system of accountability is running faster. Our everyday is a better day but the problem lies with those few ones who are misguided by the notion that the Armed forces are a ‘wind’ that always blows counter to democracy. They think that by demoralizing the security forces, they are strengthening democracy.

To materialize their stupid philosophy they use freedom of expression as a tool. The fact of the matter is that freedom of expression does not mean a license to ‘ooze out’ every filthy idea that comes to a mind particularly in countries like Pakistan where the Armed forces and law enforcement agencies in collaboration with the judiciary have to play a very vibrant role in  keeping the country safe and secure. We don’t need any Bangladesh type Digital Security Act but we do need a specific demarcation of limits with reference to the Freedom of Expression. If this freedom damages the repute of national institutions like the Army, the Judiciary and the Parliament, and harms religious harmony, we will have to put a check on it. Freedom leading to destruction of the whole social structure could never be a blessing.

Special Tamil Problems, So called Tamil Politicians and Choice for Tamil Masses

May 23rd, 2018

Nimal Tissa Wijetunga

The more the Tamil politicians talk about, commemoration of war dead in the North, more they talk about Tamil Elam, more they talk about separatist agenda, more you talk against Buddhism and more you talked about Tamil Genocidal Day, do not expect any reconciliation with the Majority and by doing so, the current so called Tamil Leaders Taking the destructive violent path for Tamil masses by poisoning their minds as same as the previous leaders did since 1933 on non-existing demands and unrealistic solutions, which will never ever going to happen in the land of Sri Lanka although some are barking like dogs.

In view of the above, we would like to caution the Tamil masses that this kind of poisoning may end up another round of violent and destructive annihilation as same as what happened to LTTE after 30 years as the conflict brought the Tamil Masses enormous level of destruction, devastation, Cyanide capsule around the necks of children, force recruitment to use as cannon fodder in the battlefields, no schooling etc.

In the circumstances, we are very confident that Tamil masses may get the wisdom not to listen to so called Tamil Leaders for the sake of your families and the future of you all. Today, everybody living in this country is facing serious economic hardships due to increase in Bus Fares, fuel prices, and all the essential commodities and the TNA or any other so called tamil leaders talk about those in the parliament or outside as it is very clear that those talk about the above nonsense for their benefits and survival and not because they are really concern about the Tamil masses and we propose the Tamil masses to protest against this kind of behaviour when the so called leaders come to the villages.

There is no ethnic problem or any Special problems to Tamils in Sri Lanka as the problems are Economic in nature to everybody living here and howsoever, people argue Sri Lanka’s majority is Sinhalese Buddhist and if you dig the land anywhere including North and East, you find artifacts and archaeological evidence connected with Buddhism and not any other.

However, it is good to note that only a few are responded to those bickering by the so called Tamil leaders and we are confident that Tamil masses as a choice use the wisdom to accept the reality and the truth and live peacefully and harmoniously

A country divided over eradication of terrorism!

May 23rd, 2018

By Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy The Island

The Global Sri Lanka Forum (GSLF) celebrated Sri Lanka’s triumph over terrorism in May, 2009 with a public gathering in Dubai. Former Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohina addressed the gathering. On the invitation of the GSLF, Mrs S.G Juliet, mother of Corporal Gamini Kularatne of the Sixth Battalion of the Sinha Regiment garlanded a statue of her son. Gunaratne carried out suicide attack on an LTTE bulldozer on July 14, 1991 during the battle for the strategic Elephant Pass base, the gateway to the Jaffna peninsula.The event took place in the wake of the recent split in the GSLF, leading to the formation of another organization, World Patriotic Lankan Forum (WPLF), headed by Wasantha Keerthiratne.

Nine years after the successful conclusion of the war, Sri Lanka is still struggling to cope up with her greatest post-war achievement. A deeply divided Sri Lanka marked the ninth anniversary of the defeat of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), once considered invincible by many, on the Vanni east front, with a series of countrywide commemorative events this month. Much to the disappointment of the vast majority of people, the government and the military couldn’t even organize these events in one day.

Commemorative events were held on May 18 at the Security Forces Headquarters, Division Headquarters, Forward Maintenance Areas, Regimental Centers, Army Training Schools, Units, Field Headquarters and military rehabilitation centers.

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Many an eyebrow was raised when the Security Forces Headquarters, Jaffna, organized a commemorative event on May 4 with Northern Province Governor Reginald Cooray as the Chief Guest. It is still not clear why the Jaffna Security Forces Headquarters organized a commemorative event in the first week of May.

Religious events, too, were held with an aaloka pooja at Kelaniya Raja Viharaya, where 28,619 lamps were lit in memory of the fallen officers and men and those listed missing. The Kelaniya event was held on May 19.

 

The main national event was held at the National War Heroes Monument at Battaramulla on May 19, with the participation of President Maithripala Sirisena and service commanders. PM Wickremesinghe was very conspicuous by his absence. War-winning Army Chief and Sri Lanka’s only five-star General Sarath Fonseka, at the center of a recent controversy over publicly flaying President Sirisena, attended the event.

BUT THE GOVERNMENT REFRAINED FROM RESUMING THE VICTORY DAY PARADE, SUSPENDED IN 2015, AFTER THE CHANGE OF GOVERNMENT. UPFA General Secretary and Sirisena loyalist Mahinda Amaraweera declared, on May 19, that as the costly event wasn’t held, funds could be utilized for the welfare of the military.

Mullivaikkal Genocide Day

Northern Province Chief Minister and former Supreme Court judge, Canagasabapathy Visuvalingam Wigneswaran, took part in a commemorative event organized at the Mullivaikkal memorial ground on May 18 to mark what the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) stalwart called the 9th anniversary of the Mullivaikkal Genocide Day.

The Tamil Guardian quoted Wigneswaran as having said: “Even in this situation where we are not in a position to deliver any sort of justice to our people who have been affected; our people are protesting continuously on the streets for justice and their fundamental securities; and our land is becoming colonized by Buddhism by the many thousands of military officers deployed across the North-East today, we gather together to remember the 9th anniversary of Mullivaikkal Genocide Day.”

The Mullivaikkal event underscored the sharp split in the four-party TNA with Wigneswaran asserting leadership in a movement that could challenge the current TNA leadership.

Addressing the crowd, Wigneswaran urged the international community (read as Western powers) to establish what the Tamil Guardian called an international strategic mechanism to ensure justice.

Alleging that the Tamil community had been subjected to ‘institutional genocide’, Wigneswaran sought an assurance from the international community (read as Western powers) as regards a sustainable political settlement based on their sovereignty, their homelands and their individuality.

“Sri Lanka consented to install a hybrid Inquiry Panel before the world body. Now they refuse to abide by their promise and undertaking. This would point out to the world the manner in which our successive governments, for 70 years, have deceived and fooled our Tamil people.

“Still steadfast in their Mahawansa-oriented perception, the Sinhalese politicians consider the Mullivaikal debacle as the end of a Tamil – Sinhala war. That is why commemorative victory festivals are held in the South during this period.”

Calling on the military to withdraw completely from the North-East, Wigneswaran said, “The Vanni area has become the citadel for Sinhala colonization. Especially in this Mullaitivu District both land and sea have been seized by force by the Armed Forces.

“Next year, it would be the 10th anniversary since the brutal massacre at Mullivaikal. Let us dedicate the 18th of May, every year, as a day of mourning and as a symbol of our unity. Let us resolve that in the coming years we would bring all interest groups among us together, appoint an appropriate committee, devoid of political party affiliations and regional considerations, to organize an appropriate Day of Remembrance on 18th May in the coming years. Let us pray for peace to the souls of all those who died in Mullivaikal nine years ago.”

Those leaving the commemorative event at Mullivaikkal were offered cool drinks by the Army. Troops of the 68 Division, deployed in the Mullivaikkal area, provided the cool drinks. Those returning to the Jaffna peninsula, after having participated in the Mullivaikkal commemoration, were also provided refreshments by troops deployed at Iyyakachchi. The 55.2 Brigade is deployed in the Iyyakachchi area, a former LTTE stronghold, north of Elephant Pass.

Those at the Mullivaikkal commemoration had forgotten the origins of Tamil terrorism, fighting between various Tamil terrorist groups and Indian trained groups ‘exporting’ terrorism.

Institutional genocide

It would be pertinent to mention that Wigneswaran broke ranks with the State about two years before the change of the Rajapaksa government. Mullivaikkal accusation that his community had been subjected to ‘institutional genocide’ must be examined against the backdrop of his long standing association with the State as a member of the judiciary, especially being a member of the Supreme Court for four years, beginning 2001. When did Wigneswaran realize institutional genocide was taking place? Did the Northern CM at least discuss his fears with Vasudeva Nanayakkara, whose daughter is married to one of his sons. Having served the judiciary for over three decades, Wigneswaran couldn’t have served successive administrations if institutional genocide took place as alleged. Or, did institutional genocide begin only after Wigneswaran retired as a member of the Supreme Court in late 2004? If that was the case, twice President Mahinda Rajapaksa could be accused of institutional genocide? Wigneswaran should explain institutional genocide undertaken by the Rajapaksa administration. It would be interesting to know whether the likes of Wigneswaran felt institutional genocide still continued even after the change of government, in January 2015.

Having launched a political career, in 2013, thanks to the TNA, Colombo-born Wigneswaran is now stepping up pressure on his original sponsors. Wigneswaran’s strategy is obvious. As the most prominent leader of the Tamil People’s Council (TPC), Wigneswaran is seeking to undermine the incumbent TNA leadership in the wake of those opposed to R. Sampanthan’s outfit making progress at the Feb. 10 Local Government polls. Wigneswaran has no option but to take a very strong anti-establishment stand to strengthen his campaign, both here and abroad.

As long as the government didn’t counter unsubstantiated war crimes allegations, propagated by interested parties, Sri Lanka will continue to be mauled at local political platforms and abroad. For want of a cohesive strategy, the armed forces had been flayed with Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) recommending far reaching security sector reforms in response to wild war crimes allegations.

Responsibility of the media

The Sri Lanka Press Council (SLPC), in collaboration with the Information Department, organized a workshop on May 18 for the Colombo District print and electronic media provincial journalists. The workshop dealt with post-war national reconciliation process nine years after the war was brought to a successful conclusion on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon. The writer was invited to speak on the responsibility on the part of the media in national reconciliation process whereas Director General, Government Information Department attorney-at-law Sudarshana Gunawardena, former Irida Divaina editor now on the Presidential Secretariat staff Gamini Sumanasekera, Chairman of SLPC attorney-at-law Koggala Wellala Bandula and Senior Lecturer, Department of Mass Communication, University of Kelaniya Aruna Lokuliyana tackled related issues.

The writer took advantage of the opportunity to stress that reconciliation wouldn’t have been a reality if the armed forces offensive against the LTTE failed on the Vanni front. Obviously, the incumbent government is reluctant to acknowledge that eradication militarily of the LTTE, consisted of Tamils, paved the way for national reconciliation. The TNA that had regained its legitimate right to represent the Tamil community in the wake of the LTTE’s defeat, too, is reluctant to accept the reality. Both the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government and the TNA still remain committed to the Geneva Resolution 30/1, co-sponsored by Sri Lanka, in Oct. 2015.

Jaffna District TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran is on record as having said that the Geneva Resolution had been adopted on Oct 1, 2015, following tripartite negotiations, involving the Sri Lankan government, the US and the TNA. The MP declared that they had agreed for a hybrid court with foreign judges, prosecutors, defence attorneys and investigators.

The TNA, in a statement, issued on June 16, 2016, quoted MP Sumanthiran as having told the congressional hearing: “I was personally involved in the negotiations, with the United States of America also participating in that particular process. There were some doubts created, as to whether the Constitution of Sri Lanka would allow for foreign nationals to function as judges and we went into that question, clarified it, and said yes they can and that is how that phraseology was agreed upon. And so, to us having negotiated and compromised and agreed that there would be a hybrid tribunal to try these mass atrocities, it is not open for the government now to shift its stance and say “well, international involvement yes, but it’s in a different form, now…’. That is not acceptable to us all.”

The writer raised the following matters with the gathering:

(1) National reconciliation not possible as long as the LTTE retained conventional military power

(2) Battlefield defeat of the LTTE paved the way for national reconciliation

(3) Eradication of the LTTE allowed the Illankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi led TNA to recommence normal political activity

(4) The TNA had no option but to recognize the LTTE as the sole representative of the Tamil people

(5) Having backed the LTTE, until the very end of the war, in May 2009, the TNA switched its allegiance to war-winning Army Chief Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka at the January 2010 presidential poll. Can there be a better example to prove the TNA never really believed Fonseka’s Army massacred civilians

(6) None of those shedding crocodile tears today for the Tamil people ever pleaded with the LTTE to release over 300,000 civilians held hostage on the Vanni east front as a human shield to protect the cornered rump of the LTTE

(7) Sri Lanka is the only country to co-sponsor in Geneva a Resolution against its own armed forces and wartime leadership on the basis of unsubstantiated war crimes allegations

(8) The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government deliberately avoided an opportunity to effectively disapprove war crimes accusations on the basis of wartime British High Commission dispatches (Jan-May 2009) revealed in the UK House of Lords in mid Oct 2017

(9) Failure on the part of lawmakers representing the government and the Opposition to use the late Subramanium Sivakamy aka ‘Colonel’ Thamilini’s memoirs ‘Thiyuni Asipathaka Sevana Yata’ to expose lies propagated by interested parties. The writer stressed the fact that civil society activists Dharmasiri Bandaranayake and Gamini Viyangoda together with Thamilini’s husband, a British national of Sri Lankan origin, launched memoirs after her demise. She succumbed to cancer while receiving treatment from Sinhala doctors. The writer suggested that SLPC and the Information Department make arrangements to provide the late Thamilini’s memoirs to journalists.

(10) The TNA and the LTTE facilitated the then PM Mahinda Rajapaksa’s victory at the Nov. 2005 presidential polls by ordering the Tamil electorate not to exercise their franchise under any circumstances. Their move ensured Rajapaksa’s victory at the expense of UNP candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe, who lost by less than 200,000 votes

(11) The LTTE felt confident dealing with Rajapaksa whom the LTTE and Tamil Diaspora believed lacked experience and international support to face the LTTE

(12) The LTTE believed that Jaffna could be regained and the Army pushed southwards to Anuradhapura within two years. The writer based this assessment on what Kumaran Pathmanathan told him in Colombo several months after he was captured in Malaysia and brought down to Sri Lanka

The gathering was also told that the media couldn’t be expected to reconcile communities at a time major political parties were at logger heads over post-war reconciliation process. Recent verbal exchange between Health Minister Cabinet Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne and two journalists at the post-cabinet press briefing highlighted the lack of understanding of the contentious issue of Mullaivaikkal commemoration. Dr. Senaratne earned the wrath of the Joint Opposition and was vilified in social media for comparing the JVP with the LTTE and recognizing the Tamils’ right to commemorate those who fought for the LTTE.

The writer told the Information Department gathering that the right of the Tamil people to commemorate fallen LTTE cadres should not be challenged. In fact, interference and sabotaging such commemorative events can be counterproductive and those in power should be mindful of the loss of sentiments. But the contentious issue is not Mullivaikkal commemoration but the cancellation of the annual Victory Day parade at the behest of Western powers. There cannot be any other instance of a country depriving itself of its right to celebrate victory over terrorism. Shame on those politicians who suspended the Victory Day celebrations.

Finally, it was also brought to the notice of the journalists and the panel comprising Sudarshana Gunawardena, Gamini Sumanasekera and Aruna Lokuliyana European Union launching post-war reconciliation project on March 21, 2018 worth Rs 2.7 bn. It was pointed out that the European Union, since 2017, had funded various reconciliation projects to the tune of a staggering Rs. 3.7 bn. Strangely, the EU as well as all those trying to facilitate reconciliation seemed to be determined not to use wartime British High Commission dispatches to prove that (1) 40,000 civilians hadn’t been killed as alleged in UN Panel of Experts’ report released on March 31, 2011 (2) political and military leaderships hadn’t instructed the fighting forces to deliberately target civilians trapped on the Vanni east front and (3) the Army willingly suffered losses as it took civilian factor into consideration as revealed by classified US diplomatic cable originating from its Geneva mission a few months after the conclusion of the war.

Although President Sirisena reiterated at the Armed Forces Commemoration, at Battaramulla, that the military hadn’t been accused of war crimes by the UN, his government co-sponsored the Geneva Resolution on Oct. 1, 2015, on the basis that such atrocities took place on the Vanni front, particularly after the fall of Kilinochchi. President Sirisena maintained that war crimes allegations were propagated by those connected to the LTTE living overseas. Obviously, the government seemed to have conveniently ignored the UN stand on the issue of accountability and pronouncements that the country faced the prospect of Universal Jurisdiction unless Sirisena-Wickremesinghe fulfilled the four key Geneva recommendations, in addition to a brand new Constitution subjected to a referendum. The four specific measures meant to address accountability issues are (1) a judicial mechanism with a Special Counsel to investigate allegations of violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international human rights law (2) A Commission for truth, justice, reconciliation and non-recurrence (3) An Office for Missing Persons (OMP) and (4) An Office for reparations.

(To be continued June 6)

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Policy Challenges China, India and the Indian Ocean Part III

May 23rd, 2018

By Dr. Palitha Kohana Courtesy The Island

India maintains a base in the Seychelles and has concluded an agreement to build an airstrip and a sophisticated “monitoring station” at a cost of US$45million. It has also signed a Bilateral Agreement for Navy Cooperation with Singapore that provides Indian Navy ships temporary deployment facilities and logistics support at Singapore’s Changi naval base, which is near the disputed South China Sea. Indian military strength in Indian Ocean region is formidable.

It seems unlikely that China, even if it wished, and the alleged string of pearls (strategic harbours?) is real, would be rash enough to challenge nuclear-armed India in the Indian Ocean for decades to come. India enjoys overwhelming military superiority in the Indian Ocean and is likely to consolidate this position even further in the future. Additionally, the U.S. maintains a mammoth base in Diego Garcia to the south of Sri Lanka. It is highly improbable that Chinese policy makers would consider challenging the existing power arrangements in the Indian Ocean any time soon, if ever. They have not done so since Admiral Zheng He’s flotilla entered the Indian Ocean in 1405 and dominated the region till 1433. To over extend in order to meet a possible challenge from China would only result in expending scarce resources for a scenario that is unlikely to eventuate.

Sri Lanka’s diplomatic comfort level with India has always been considerable. India has been a major source of investments and tourists. The big neighbour must feel the reassurance that the small island to the south will not pose a strategic threat, and will not collude with any other country. It should never become someone else’s large aircraft carrier! Sri Lanka’s own interests will be served well with a reliable relationship with India.

This does not mean subservience or a one-way approach dominated by hectoring and gratuitous advice. The relationship, if it is to be comfortable and sustainable, must be one between two proud sovereign nations. India has a positive role to play as the bigger and stronger neighbour to the north. India’s burgeoning economy could provide a ready outlet for Sri Lankan businesses to expand but over-zealous and rash opening up of our economic doors with no comparable reciprocity would certainly create unease. Economic relations must be developed on the basis of reciprocity and transparency.

Sri Lanka must seek its own friends and benefactors and its development path and that might mean seeking to collaborate with whomever we like, including China. Sri Lanka has maintained excellent relations, particularly economic, with Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, etc. With many of these countries Sri Lanka enjoys historical links, particularly through the shared religion and culture.

China, coincidentally, is India’s major trading partner. Japan has been a consistent source of development funds and political support for Sri Lanka.

In recent times, both the Chinese and Indian leaders have made explicit overtures to each other with repeated references to historical religious, cultural and trading links, both recognizing the opportunities presented by cooperation than by confrontation. The ground breaking visit of Prime Minister Modhi to meet president Xi Jinping in Wuhan is likely to have major implications and help restore the confidence levels of both countries in each other. Prime Minister Modhi’s “Look East. Act East” approach contains a distinct Buddhist echo of bygone connections. China’s Buddhist links with India go back a long time. This is a factor that Sri Lanka has in common with both Asian giants and could be used to strengthen our relations.  Recent efforts to recalibrate the bilateral relationship between India and China will be welcomed by all.

A prosperous and stable Sri Lanka will be an asset to India not an unhappy and resentful neighbour to the south. Sri Lanka’s prosperity including through the Belt and Road Initiative will be to India’s advantage as well. India could also benefit extensively from a proactive engagement with the BRI.

Sri Lanka, as a small neighbour of India, eager to ascend the development ladder in the shortest possible time, is caught between the discomfort of our closest and much stronger neighbour and the need to develop deeper and pragmatic economic relations with another. There is little doubt that as a longtime friend and a country that has provided much of Sri Lanka’s religious and cultural inspiration, Sri Lanka must create an environment that makes India comfortable. The relationship with India needs fostering with care. India’s unilateral effort to insert itself in to Sri Lanka’s conflict in the eighties with disastrous consequences for itself and for Sri Lanka and memories of this adventure still irks the psyche. Sri Lanka must ensure that such an eventuality will not be repeated. This should be a priority and will be Sri Lanka’s foreign policy challenge.

Concluded

දහම් බේබිගේ පුංචි පැල්පත

May 23rd, 2018

 

7 Really Gross Reasons to Never Eat Meat Again

May 23rd, 2018

By: Judy M. Courtesy care2.com

You know the statistics that eating red meat will take years off your life, and you’ve probably heard of pink slime. If, for some reason, you’re still hesitating, here are seven reasons why you might want to think twice before eating your next steak.

1. SUPERBUGS

Thinking about turkey burgers for dinner tonight? You may want to think again.

A report from the Food and Drug Administration  found that, of all the raw ground turkey tested, 81 percent was contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. But ground turkey wasn’t the only problem. These bacteria were found in some 69 percent of pork chops, 55 percent of ground beef and 39 percent of chicken.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are known as superbugs. The use of antibiotics on factory farms, in order to bring animals to slaughter faster or to make up for crowded conditions on feed lots, is one of the reasons why antibiotic resistance is on the rise.

Government data has revealed that one antibiotic-resistant strain of a germ called Enterococcus faecalis, normally found in human and animal intestines, was prevalent in a wide variety of meats. This means that the meat likely came into contact with fecal matter — and that there’s a high likelihood that other antibiotic-resistant bacteria is present too.

How’s that burger looking now?

2. ANTIBIOTICS

Antibiotics are used in livestock to make animals grow faster and to prevent disease. Some 29.9 million pounds of antibiotics were sold in 2011 for meat and poultry production — compared with the 7.7 million sold for human use, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. And that number has been on the rise.

Dr. Gail Hansen, a veterinarian and senior officer for the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming, believes the use of antibiotics in animals is out of hand:

We feed antibiotics to sick animals, which is completely appropriate, but we also put antibiotics in their feed and in their water to help them grow faster and to compensate for unhygienic conditions. If you have to keep the animals healthy with drugs, I would argue you need to re-examine the system. You don’t take antibiotics preventively when you go out into the world.

3. CLEANING PRODUCTS

School districts and parents had not been aware that some 7 million pounds of meat served up in school cafeterias was coming from scraps swept up from the floor. These meat parts were then sent through a series of machines, which grind them into a paste, separatesout the fat and lace the substance with ammonia to kill bacteria, such as salmonella and E. coli.

The end product, known as pink slime, looked disgusting. And the puffs of ammonia used to kill the bacterium E. coli really grossed everyone out.

It turns out there’s also another cleaning product used in meat production. According to the website MeatPoultry.com, 99 percent of American poultry processors” cool their birds by immersion in chlorinated water-chiller baths.”

Yum.

4. MEAT GLUE

What you think is a slab of meat, perhaps a filet mignon, often turns out to be comprised of meat scraps held together with something commonly referred to as meat glue.” Officially known as transglutaminase,” the product has its origins in the farming industry, when the natural enzyme was harvested from animal blood. Nowadays, it is produced through the fermentation of bacteria.

The FDA has ruled that meat glue is generally recognized as safe,” and it is required to be listed as one of the ingredients. However, it’s unlikely that any restaurant or banquet hall would list the ingredients of its meat on the menu.

Ever thought of going vegetarian?

5. CHEMICALS, PESTICIDES AND HEAVY METALS

In 2010 the Department of Agriculture’s inspector general condemned the U.S. for allowing meat containing pesticides, heavy metals, veterinary drugs and other chemicals to reach supermarket shelves. That’s because the country’s standards for testing meat for pesticides and chemicals were so lax that, in 2008, Mexico turned back a shipment of American beef because it didn’t meet its standards for copper traces.

How about a veggie burger instead?

6. HORMONES

American beef is so heavy in hormones that the European Union has said it doesn’t want the product. The European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures claims that hormone-heavy beef production poses increased risks of breast cancer and prostate cancer,” citing cancer rates in countries that do and don’t eat U.S. beef. Perhaps you didn’t know that the synthetic hormones zeranol, trenbolone acetate and melengestrol acetate are a routine part of the recipe for production of U.S. beef.

7. CARBON MONOXIDE

Have you ever wondered why those steaks on the supermarket shelf are so red? That’s because as much as  70 percent of meat packages in stores are treated with carbon monoxide to keep the meat’s red color — oxymyoglobin — from turning brown or gray — metmyoglobin — through exposure to oxygen.

According to Ann Boeckman, a lawyer with a firm representing major meat companies, consumers do not need to worry about being deceived. When a product reaches the point of spoilage, there will be other signs that will be evidenced—for example odor, slime formation and a bulging package—so the product will not smell or look right.”

Good to know.

Photo Credit: USDA/Flickr

දහම් ගැන කතකොලොත් web තහනම්, මෛත්‍රී වෙබ් දෙකක් තහනම කරයි

May 23rd, 2018

HNB Kilinochchi Branch – Commemorating proscribed LTTE during office hours!

May 22nd, 2018

The social media relayed 2 horrifying photos of the staff of HNB Branch Kilinochchi commemorating dead LTTE terrorists. Candles were lit in front of an image that had printed Remembering the Tamil Genocide” May 18 War Crimes Day” this comes in the backdrop of a meek & ineffective government allowing the commemoration of a banned terrorist group publicly & even inside the state run Jaffna university. It therefore comes as no surprise when a leading bank in which the Sri Lankan state also has shares is actually commemorating the LTTE during office hours!

The action being taken by the HNB top management against the Manager & the staff is one in which the public will no doubt be watching.

Many have openly stated that the most likely outcome is that the staff member who released the photos will end up the victim & the manager may get a promotion or transfer. Such is the outcome of justice nowadays. If such does happen, it seriously should make depositors to re-evaluate whether they can faith in such a bank. The bank is duty-bound to publicize its findings & issue a public statement in this regard.

Let us not forget, the LTTE started out in the early 1980s by robbing banks. The LTTE is renowned for its ability to gather information on people, their assets & they have in the past kidnapped & sought ransom.

LTTE extortion is rampant in the West in countries like UK, Canada, France & even US where Tamil people are intimidated to monthly donate to the LTTE kitty, those that do not donate, have ended up dead or physically injured.

Anyone doubting this or challenging this may first like to go through Human Rights Watch report

https://www.hrw.org/report/2006/03/14/funding-final-war/ltte-intimidation-and-extortion-tamil-diaspora

In Canada according to the Globe & Mail paper Tamils have to pay $10,000 while Tamil entrepreneurs pay $100,000 each.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/extortion-threats-routine-for-tamils-report-says/article18158687/

We can also recall LTTE had its own Tamileelam bank!

The knowledge of who has how much comes in handy for LTTE to make such demands. This is where the general public must take the commemoration of the LTTE dead inside a leading bank seriously. We have to seriously now wonder how much of banking information is being leaked to external forces of customer accounts by these banking staff.

In UK one Arunesh Thangarajah, 28, has been stabbed to death. When MP Siobhain McDonagh a long time LTTE sympathizer issues a statement on this we have to wonder at the LTTE connections!

http://www.dailynews.lk/2018/05/21/local/151516/sri-lankan-man-stabbed-death-london

France is no different – Tamil Tiger Mafia, a major threat to French society http://asiantribune.com/node/12064

Crimes by Jaffna Tamil Boys in UK

http://www.sinhalanet.net/crimes-by-jaffna-tamil-boys-in-uk

If people can commemorate a banned terrorist organization during office hours – what else can they be not capable of doing! People’s minds are certainly working.

Customers cannot be faulted for having fears of their confidential banking information being leaked to terror sources & even others as a result of this action.

That the Manager has been bold enough to arrange the commemoration for LTTE preparing candles & printing posters while some statement has been read out as can be seen in the photo relayed has more questions than answers. HNB must provide customers & the public answers.

For a Manager to have the guts to actually arrange something of this nature is beyond comprehension – even the security guard is taking part as can be seen from the photo. What is also alarming is that this would have been planned some days in advance, if so why did no one in the staff inform the head office or make an official complaint against it or was such a complaint made & was it ignored. Were there similar commemorations in any of the other 251 HNB branches – the questions are certainly piling.

These are no exaggerations and people commenting on the photo & voicing their views & objections cannot be faulted.

HNB management not only has to take immediate action but they must tender a public apology in particular to all depositors & anyone dealing with HNB who are fast losing confidence in the bank & issue a statement to the effect that May 18 is NO WAR CRIMES DAY, It is NO TAMIL GENOCIDE DAY.

If a bank cannot light a single candle for the soldiers that defeated a terrorist movement, saved close to 300,000 Tamils then they most certainly cannot be allowed to commemorate the LTTE movement that killed thousands of innocent people over 30 years.

If anyone wants to mourn even a terrorist they have all the freedom to do so privately inside their own homes without public display and this is why we are against the commemorations being held openly which are pretending to claim it is to mourn innocent civilians but in reality it is the LTTE dead because LTTE families are taking part, LTTE insignia are being used – LTTE flags, LTTE emblems etc which completely nullifies their claim.

In all probability these LTTE families given that they are from low caste & poor homes must be taking part in these commemorations having being promised some remuneration for appearing for these public tamashas to make political pressure on a very weak, meek & spineless government. Apart from a few hundred present, we do not see thousands representing the supposed to be killed 40,000!

There is no doubt that innocent Tamils were roped into becoming LTTE cadres. It is also true that the majority of Tamils who are now living abroad did so riding on the discrimination tag & wish to have some sort of trouble continuing in order to obtain their refugee status etc. Invariably these LTTErs become the pawns for a selfish game & sadly they are being used by their own people. All LTTE cadres were low caste & from poor families. How many of those who are now enjoying life & holding foreign passports are actually looking after at least one LTTE family except to fund annual tamashas with another agenda in mind?

What are the connections to the LTTE of this Kilinochchi bank manager & the rest of the staff. LTTE being proscribed the State must also conduct its own investigations!

Picture Courtesy – Social Media Sources

 

HNB is incorporated as a Public Limited Company. Taking over from Rienzie Arseculeratne as Chairman HNB is Dinesh Weerakkody, the Advisor to the PM & son-in-law of Christian Affairs Minister John Amaratunga.

Shenali D Waduge

Jaffna University-do not let racist politicians to destroy the future of Jaffna youth and the University.

May 22nd, 2018

Prof Channa Jayasumana Secretary, National University Teachers’ Association

22nd May 2018,

Prof. Ratnam Vigneswaran,
Vice chancellor,
University of Jaffna,
Thirunelvely, Jaffna.

Dear Prof Vigneswaran,

Jaffna University-do not let racist politicians to destroy the future of Jaffna youth and the University.

We, as responsible university academics in Sri Lanka have noted with dismay the involvement of the Jaffna University students during the recent so called Mullivaikkal Remembrance Day” observances.

While the general population of Jaffna was mostly uninvolved, the Jaffna University students were acting like unofficial private army of the chief minister of the Northern Province CV Vigneswaran and transgressing the law of the country by commemorating members of a banned terrorist organization. People in the south hold intelligent youth of the northern peninsula in high esteem. However, their recent behavior showed that they are being misguided by crafty racist politicians such as CV Vigneswaran, who himself never studied in the North. In fact, not a single member of Hon chief minister’s family has studied in the North. He is sending the intelligent youth of the north and east to the dungeon while his family members are safe abroad or in Colombo. Our understanding is that recent incidents create unsavory picture about University of Jaffna among the majority of Sinhala and Muslim people in the country.

End of the internal armed conflict widened the path for the young people in North and East to obtain university education. Otherwise they would be conscripted by the terrorists and living in a bunker, suffering immense difficulties, under the command of a thug. Those misguided youths should be thankful to the political leadership and Sri Lankan forces that ended the armed conflict and made it possible for them to reap the benefits of higher education freeing them from battlefront.

We observe that greedy politicians are pushing the misguided youth to another reckless program. Further, We feel that they are abandoning the golden opportunities presented to them by the people of Sri Lanka. We do hope that you would take our letter seriously and discuss this matter with senior responsible academics in the University. Offer guidance to Jaffna University students and teach them reconciliation and harmony.

Thank you,

Prof Channa Jayasumana

Secretary,

National University Teachers’ Association


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