Protect Sinhala Buddhism from the educated – V

June 11th, 2014

By Nalin de Siva Courtesy Island

N A de S Amaratunga, who is engaged in a so-called dialogue with me in Vidusara writes to that paper as Prof. Ashoka Amaratunga D. Sc., and cannot be different from the latter in his loose thinking. I had written only three articles on “Protect Sinhala Buddhism from the educated” when he published his response to my series of articles, but he had claimed I had written four articles, probably counting some other article I had written as one of the series. In fact my fourth article appeared on the same day Amaratunga’s article was published in The Island.

It appears that Amaratunga does not understand the difference between culture and religion, and by Sinhala Buddhism I refer to a culture and not to a religion as I have explained in my series of articles. It is unfortunate that many so called educated people in the country cannot think clearly, if they think at all. I would reply to Amaratunga after I finish this series of articles but in the meantime would like to see him defending “war” in Theravada Buddhism without referring to a culture. Amaratunga I am sure has no objection to defeating the LTTE in the humanitarian operations but could he defend “war” in Theravada Buddhism which he and others want to portrait as a rational empirical Bududahama though rationalism and empiricism are poles apart as Philosophies in the western tradition. Amaratunga does not believe in Punabbhava (rebirth) Kamma, Bodhisathva concept and thinks that the latter concept is from Hinduism through Mahayana.

Budunvahanse was not a teacher like Socrates Plato or Aristotle or the Greek Geometers and others such as Archimedes and Euclid. The latter were products of a culture and they did not introduce a new Chinthanaya or a culture or even a paradigm within a Chinthanaya. Aristotle refined what was already in the Greek culture, and most probably some knowledge associated with his name is not his work. Budunvahanse on the other hand introduced a new Chinthanaya and a new culture. Religions are associated with cultures though there may be cultures without religions. Of course a lot depends on what is meant by religion but for the purposes of this series a religion may be understood as a system of knowledge with a concern for “life” after death and with a set of rituals very often associated with priests or “pujya” as in Bududahama. Priests very often come between the God and the individual, but in Bududahama as there is no God the “pujya” have a different role. It is not only Bududahama and Hinduism that speak of life after death, as the other religions though they may not believe in “samsara” preach of hell, heaven, places where at least human beings find themselves after death. In almost all religions ways and means are taught how to live indefinitely in order to avoid death, but in Bududahama death is avoided by not being born again.

In the west it was Martin Luther who initiated a new religion in the sixteenth century, and defined the new culture that had been associated with people such as Michelangelo. Though the so called renaissance saw the beginning of a new culture it was Luther who gave flesh to the culture in more than one way by introducing a new religion. We still live with the culture and Chinthanaya of Luther, Michelangelo, Galileo, Newton and others though they have evolved over the last five hundred years or so. This culture is nothing but the Judaic Christian culture as opposed to Catholic and other cultures, and in Sri Lanka we have patches of Sinhala Buddhism on a Judaic Christian culture.

The Sinhala Buddhism as we have already noticed has gone through various stages, the most important being the introduction of Bududahama to the Yagu Kauranas (the so called Yakshas), the introduction of Ashokan Buddhism and the interaction between the Andra Pradesh Bhikkus and the Mahavihara Bhikkus around the fifth and sixth centuries. Then we have the two “kathikavathas” (definitely not discourses) Polonnaruwa and Dambadeniya, and the revival of Sinhala Buddhism by Ven. Velivita Sri Saranankara Thero. Finally we come across the nineteenth century revival and of course Olcott Buddhism.

I tend to think that the Hela Buddhism of Yagu Kauranas had the Bududahama of Budunvahanse at the core as the religion but was surrounded with rituals associated with the culture of the Yagu Kauranas with their gods and rituals. When Ashokan Buddhism with its Vedic coronation was introduced to the country it was not the core Vibhajjavadi Bududahama of the third Sangayana (council) that the people (those who had come with Vijaya or the Vedic people and may be a few others) embraced but the rituals such as Bodhi Vandana. The pirith most probably was known in Hela Buddhism and Ashokan Buddhism would have followed the former continuing with the tradition.

If somebody thinks that Vibhajjavada would have survived without the rituals then he (usually women do not think so stupidly) is living in a world of dreams. The Vibhajjavada or any other interpretation of Bududahama could survive in libraries without rituals but not in the lives (hearts) of people. It is the ritual associated with the core religion than the core itself that is more important as far as the survival of a culture and Sinhala Buddhism has survived mainly due to the rituals the women have been involved with and the amalgamation of Sinhalaness with Buddhism as a culture by some Bhikkus who were of course males. It is the male Bhikkus and lay women who have kept Sinhala Buddhism alive and not the pedantic lay male scholars or pundits who have not done anything significant in the process. Of course there was another set of people who were instrumental in connection with the survival of Sinhala Buddhism, and it was none other than the Sinhala Buddhist kings and those males who went to war with the Kings, or the ranviruvas if I may use a word that is popular at present. I wonder what the pundit males were doing when the King had no choice but to go to war in defense of the country, nation and the religion, though these concepts would not have been formulated then in that manner.

 Sinhala Buddhism is the result of evolution of Ashokan Buddhism after defeating Hela Buddhism and absorbing the rituals of the latter. The Hela Buddhists had been not followers of two valued two fold logic of Vibhajjavada and most probably they were influenced by “prathyaksha” in “understanding” the world or creating the world. There are three important facts that we have to remember on this Poson Poya day associated with the arrival of Ven. Arhant Mahinda Thero. They are the interview with the King Devanampiya Tissa, Cullahaththipadopama Sutta the sutta that was the topic of the first Dharmadeshana, and the Bodhi Vandana introduced by Ven. Arhant Mahinda Thero. They are so significant, and it clearly demonstrates that the Arhant Thero was responding to the then existing Hela Buddhist Culture. In fact there was no Vibhajjavada in any of these three significant events clearly demonstrating the understanding of the Arhant Mahinda Thero of the Hela Buddhist culture.

The dialogue between the Arhant Thero and the king goes beyond two valued twofold logic of western Mathematics (and of course Vibhajjavada) and defies set theory in western Mathematics. I have demonstrated this in a number of articles that can be accessed through the Kalaya website, and when the king said he was neither a relative nor a non relative of himself he showed that his logic was not confined to limited Aristotelian logic, which the present day male pundits and few imitating female pundits are familiar with. The logic of Hela Buddhists and of Sinhala Buddhists has been different from the logic of the westerners who can only think in terms of dualist concepts. The Cullahaththipadopama Sutta says that it is prathyaksha that is important and not deductive logic or present day logical positivism or anything else in coming to conclusions. The Bodhi Vandana goes against dry male pundit imitators who think rationalism and empiricism or their offshoots are the best that have been created (discovered in their imitating worlds) by the human beings.

 (To be continued)

Disgraced Navi Pillay, declared agent of West leaves UN Human Rights Council in shame

June 10th, 2014

Shenali D Waduge

Accolades will soon pour in from quarters that are fully satisfied with the role played by Navi Pillay in facilitating their agendas. It showcases how UN has been turned into a peace body flooded by puppets and agents of the West who are being used to legally redraw governance of sovereign nations and through UN legislation, remove the governing power held by sovereign nations. Third World, China, Russia and perhaps now India need to realize the gameplan and resolve to address this ground reality. Navi Pillay’s role on behalf of the West has been unprecedented creating precedents outside of the mandate afforded to her. These precedents have been created primarily as a result of sovereign nations sending incompetent representatives not passionate enough to defend their country’s integrity and sovereignty. It is not difficult to benchmark in whose interest the UNHRC has been used during the six years Navi Pillay has held office.

The UN Human Rights Council created by UN General Assembly resolution 60/251 on 15th March 2006 succeeded the UN Commission on Human Rights established in 1946. The position of UN High Commissioners has existed since December 1993. Navi Pillay took over from another disgraced UN High Commissioner Louise Arbor on 1st September 2008.

To add meat to the credentials of Navi Pillay, her function must be exemplary, unbiased and transparent. These were all lacking in her performance not just against Sri Lanka but all the non-Western nations she helped put down. A good look at all statements and actions by Navi Pillay and her office since 2008 will show no actions taken against US, UK or NATO countries. Is it not strange that from the time Navi Pillay took over as UN Human Rights Chief she has not made a single call to investigate US, UK or NATO for their crimes in Afghanistan, Iraq while she called for not only investigation but intervention upon Libya and Syria?

Can she then argue that she has honorably carried out her duties? It will be these countries that would soon shower praises and accolades at the wonderful work she has done and of course they can afford to do so, Navi Pillay has facilitated their agendas to perfection.

Agent for West against Libya

  • Navi Pillay abused office to demonize Gaddafi and son to lay groundwork to facilitate calls for an international intervention.
  • Navi Pillay stands accused of turning a nation without debt, a nation that had $150billion reserves to a nation in anarchy.
  • Navi Pillay used lies of NGO Bouchiguir to suspend Libya from UNHRC so that Libya would not be able to reply to the charges made against it. This meeting which she chaired, she called for the international community to ‘act without delay’ to protect Libyan civilians. After the US-mercenaries created anarchy in Libya she has failed to make any calls to ‘protect Libyan civilians’.
  • Navi Pillay prevented Libya from appointing a new ambassador to the UN and Libya had to use Rev. Miguel D’Escoto Brockman (former Nicaraguan Foreign Minister) but was blocked by US Susan Rice showing how UN and officials have shamed their roles.
  • Navi Pillay without basis referred Libya to the UN Security Council and called ICC to lead an international investigation against Gaddafi and son.
  • Navi Pillay’s lies include quoting casualty figures without verifying truth – She claimed that 250 people had been killed in Libya going on to say “widespread and systematic attacks against the civilian population” which “may amount to crimes against humanity.” – these were all lies prepared for the intervention by US and NATO.
  • Navi Pillay is morally responsible for destroying Libya. Navi Pillay / the US or Allies have NOTHING to show that Libya is better in ANY WAY after Gaddafi to how the country was under Gaddafi.

Agent for West against Rwanda

  • Rwanda’s civil war was in reality a stage managed conflict as part of US conglomerate foreign policy of gaining strategic and economic advantage in Africa (not for Americans but for the handful of corporate that run America).
  • Navi Pillay is accused of being party to the agenda of the West as she carried out role of President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
  • Lawyer Justry Patrice Lumumba Nyaberi objected to Navi Pillay as President of ICTR in view of her bias.
  • Navi Pillay and Stephen Rapp prosccutor at ICTR were accused of covering US culpability.

Agent for West against Syria

  • When people congregate and commit money to fund ‘rebels and supply equipment’ there has to be a catch. The plan against Syria was set in early 2011 through ‘Friends of Syria’ initiated by Canada and represented by 70 countries with US committing to provide ‘communications equipment’, Saudi and Qatar pledging large sums o money for regime change and Canada committing $8.5m. Fast forward and when Navi Pillay issues statements on violations of human rights, calls for international intervention, Syria to be referred to the ICC we should all know what was in store for Syria.
  • That plan made sure President Assad who was repelling mercenaries funded by the West was faulted and accused of crimes against humanity and an arrest warrant was issued turning Assad into an international fugitive.  
  • Navi Pillay took side of Western-backed rebels most of whom were non-Syrian nationals outsourced from other countries. She chose not to take the side of the legitimate Syrian Government trying to protect the country from rebels using lethal arms supplied by Western Governments. US have admitted sending lethal aid to Syrian rebels.
  • Navi Pillay’s role in Syria regime change alleges her guilt in violating Article 1 and 2 of the UN Charter that says regime change within a sovereign country is a war crime and no one can threaten regime change.  
  • Navi Pillay quoted only from casualty figures supplied by foreign-backed Syrian opposition (just like she quoted from pro-LTTE sources against Sri Lanka)
  • Why has Navi Pillay not accused Al Qaeda / Al Nusra and Takfiris arriving from 40 states facilitated by Qatar and Turkey? Why has Navi Pillay not condemned Qatar for spending $3billion for the war in Syria?
  • Why does Navi Pillay not allow sovereign Syria the right to protect its country and its people especially when Syrian people have given overwhelming thumbs up for Assad?
  • The accusation that Navi Pillay functioned as an agent of the West was seen in predicting massacres to take place in Al Oseir 20 days before the events started.
  • When Navi Pillay does not have a mandate to refer countries to ICC why was she allowed to function outside her mandate just like she is functioning outside her mandate on Sri Lanka?
  • The words of the Syrian delegation at UNHRC aptly sums up the bias – ” My country’s delegation inspected the Commissioner’s report and wants to express their deep denunciation and regret at the obvious bias which Pillay practices in her dealing with the events in Syria’. (Faisal Al-Hamwi) / “If the High Commissioner’s office isn’t qualified to give documented data, then it’s better for it to remain silent,” / from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates: “It is really strange that she used the UN human and financial resources against Syria, based on lies and calls outside her jurisdiction,” / “The Commissioner has rejected to consider the acts of terrorist groups as crimes against humanity, although all standards of identifying crimes against humanity apply to them, and chose instead to level this accusation at the state which is doing its duty in protecting its own people,”

Sri Lanka’s issues with Navi Pillay.

Question of Conflict of Interest

  • Nemo iudex in causa sua implies no one should be a judge in their own cause. A principle of natural justice is that a person should not judge a case in which they have an interest as it would undermine confidence in the process as well as impair the individual’s ability to perform duties and responsibilities. Not only must Justice be done; Justice must be seen to be done. Thus the recusal of judges (required by law under Continental civil law systems and by the Rome Statute, organic law of the International Criminal Court) is imperative for true impartial justice and Navi Pillay should have chosen to judicially disqualify herself from taking part in affairs related to Sri Lanka. 
  • Navi Pillay is of Tamil origin and born to a Tamil family who had migrated from Tamil Nadu to South Africa. Tamil Nadu is home to 72million Tamils and first launched a bid to separate from India in the early 1930s. The calls from Tamils for a separate land continue to come from Tamil Diaspora and Tamils all over the world. Therefore, being Tamil is it fair for her to sit in judgment in Sri Lanka’s conflict which revolves around an aspiration to create a separate Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka?  Does her emotional, genetic and ethnic ties being Tamil not stand in the way of unbiased, neutral and impartial judgment? Her lack of appearance of objectivity and neutrality is evident when looking through every statement issued by her in her official capacity against Sri Lanka especially when she quotes extensively from pro-LTTE/LTTE fronts sources. When she visits ‘victims’ who are spouses of former LTTE but does not pay a single visit to the Sinhalese and Muslim victims of LTTE terror this adds to her list of bias
  • Navi Pillay’s Indian Tamil community in South Africa was said to be aligned with LTTE, funding LTTE and secretly operating military camps to train LTTE – these camps were dismantled by President Mandela after consultations with former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadiragamar.
  • Her February 2014 report calls for an international investigation against Sri Lanka but she has never called for international investigations against military interventions by US and Allies. The pattern of her behavior is not the same.
  • Navi Pillays conclusions on Sri Lanka are arbitrary and selective and she has cared not to provide a single piece of evidence to substantiate her allegations
  • She has never made a single reference to the violations committed by Indian Peace Keepers during their 3 ½ stint in Sri Lanka
  • She can listen with empathy to spouses of dead LTTE leaders but she has no time to travel to other parts of Sri Lanka where LTTE struck terror for 30 years.
  • Her calls for international investigations echoes similar calls against Libya and Syria at the behest of US and NATO and questions the framework that UNHRC is planning for Sri Lanka using the false reports likely to be compiled.
  • She is attempting to polarize communities by creating the image of discord out of isolated cases but not issuing a single statement despite 700 attacks on mosques in UK
  • Navi Pillay is accused of procedural bias for not circulating Sri Lanka’s response to her incriminating report.

There are many Uncle Toms and Aunt Sally’s amongst us. Their backgrounds and living styles are such that they cannot connect to the heritage of the country they have been born into to feel pride or passion to defend their nation. They feel they belong to other foreign cultures and will do whatever to feel belonged to that culture. These people will immediately take offence for accusations made against Navi Pillay because they belong to the same category which is why they would argue in favor of Navi Pillay by explaining why she demanded investigations against Libya and Syria but did not do the same for Iraq and Afghanistan against the US & NATO? Supporters of Navi Pillay must also explain why she lost sleep about 300,000 IDPs immediately following the end of conflict (all of whom are now out of refugee camps 5 years after the end of conflict) while she remains mum on 12MILLION people living as refugees for over 10 years?

Her supporters may also like to answer why she has not taken a single action to investigate international mercenaries who are being used by Western governments to destabilize nations. Her supporters need to also explain why she has not taken action against the West for using and supplying banned chemicals including white phosphorus and sarin gas which these governments have openly admitted. Her supporters may like to also let us know why she does not investigate NGOs and other religious institutes who are foot soldiers for Western regime change and why she has not made any statement on unethical conversions which are an issue for Asia including India. Her supporters need to also tell us why she has not initiate investigations or made calls for such on terrorists who function under charities and NGOs abusing tax-free status to transfer money across the world. Anyone defending Navi Pillay must supply reasons to showcase why the issues mentioned have not been included into the action plan of Navi Pillay during her 6 year term. When Canadian anti-war  activist Ken Stone accuses Pillay of abusing her power to facilitate western intervention and regime change it sums up the argument quite aptly.

The cases referred above are cause for alarm because no one expected Syria to face this calamity but now Syria is in a mess, no one expected a debtless Libya to have its leader publicly killed. No other thought that internal conflicts could be created inside nations to form the grounds for foreign presence/intervention – that’s what happened to Rwanda. Faked documentaries and films are media inducements to fool international public- Syria and Libya are victims and Sri Lanka too. No one thought Kosovo or South Sudan could happen but they did and these are all precedents. Sri Lanka’s international investigation is also a precedent. It is the FIRST time a country is being investigated for a concluded conflict but that investigation covers just 1/3 of the entire conflict. The officer chosen by Navi Pillay had been expelled by the Somali and South Sudan governments for doctoring reports so we can imagine how Sri Lanka’s report will be compiled when they have already declared that they have already compiled necessary details.

Sri Lanka’s leaders need to seriously wonder what is the urgency, time and effort behind 3 Resolutions and a UNHRC investigation and it has to be far more than simply regime change. We need to realize that the puppets are preparing to legitimatize a grievance and from that build up a legal argument for creating a separate state in Sri Lanka (for the moment it will take the form of Eelam but in reality it is not an Eelam for Tamils, at least not for the Hindus). It is good for India to start relooking at the entire scenario.

If it could happen to Syria, Kosovo, South Sudan, Libya, Rwanda and Sri Lanka it could happen to any other country so countries should not be lukewarm in their response. There is a serious flouting of international laws by public officials of the UN and Navi Pillay is just one of them.

Navi Pillay has not done anything for the Non-Western World to be proud of.

THEY CALLED US CHEATERS

June 10th, 2014

By Gomin Dayasri

Jo Butler had moved far out – a yard out of the crease on Sky television replays [not mere inches]- indeed audacious after two warnings; when Sachitra Senanayake broke the stumps and appealed for a run out. Butler was warned previously by the same bowler for advancing outside the crease before the release of the ball as was his partner at the other end Chris Jordan. Both warnings went unheeded. Third time, mind you, within a few balls – tried again: duly ‘stumped’ by the bowler, as in the case of a wicket keeper, if a batsman is caught outside the crease. Freeze the picture for a moment. Lets take a close up from a wide angle.

 Both the batsmen were stepping ahead of the crease which meant a single could be registered covering a distance which was less in space than a legitimate one run: if it resulted in two runs – one run is still shorter; yet could not be ruled ‘one short’ by the umpire as it took place at the point of origin. Is that not collusive cheating” to pick extra runs? An intentional sought after advantage for the batting side in a match where every run counted. One thing is for sure…. It was not dozing” at the crease as the British media made out. Professional sportsmen stay wide – awake and do not sleepwalk at the crease. At their level, it is not affordable to cat nap. ‘Dozing’ at a critical stage of a 50 over match is not like taking a snooze in the press box after a free lunch washed down with choice wines.

 It takes two to tango. Both batsmen were over-stretching – not by inches but in yards – from their legitimate stations with a common intention of making the running distance shorter   gaining a lesser chance of being run out on a reduced 18 yard spurt. Does an unfair disadvantage result to the bowling side? It does. Therefore it is made into a dismissal in the cricketing statute: a prohibitive measure. A common intention between two consenting adults attempting to register run/s makes the committed offence graver. An offence that carries the maximum punishment in cricket of being ruled OUT: as it was in this case.

 Who erred/cheated first, erred/cheated again, erred/cheated thrice during a space of 8 balls in two overs at one end but is painted squeaky clean by the British media except for a sturdy studious few. It’s the intention that counts-the intention to err/cheat seeking an improper gain. It’s ‘dozing’ to the British press- temporary malfunctioning in the mind of the batsmen for a dubious purpose. Does it make it NOT OUT in cricketing parlor?

 A warning in not required in the law but in the spirit of the game; twice administered by Sachitra Senanayake. Yet he was booed a cheat by the Edgbaston crowd while TV showed replays of live acts of repeated cheating by the purported ‘innocent victims’ in terms of the specific laws of cricket. The saw it on the big screen while bawling!

 Edgbaston was not a full house like at Lords for the decisive 50 over game. Local crowd that constituted the overwhelming majority at the grounds were backing England to a 3-2 win. In the pubs around the talk was rugger not cricket on the bitters. There were a smattering of Sri Lankans in the cheaper stands with the Tamil diaspora conspicuously absented in numbers at all games: message was delivered ahead: don’t cheer for a rouge country! Ethnicity extends beyond cricket in UK unlike back home where any a difference is forgotten in the playing fields.

 Who is described a cheat in the cricketing almanac? The batsmen who intentionally seeks to gain an unfair advantage for his team after due notice of a sharp practice or the umpire who ruled it out strictly according to the laws of cricket or the bowler who issued two warnings to the batsmen at the crease which is not required under the laws or the captain standing unto no-nonsense or the media men who picked on Matthews and Senanayake – both buddies from two Mariyakade colleges who play their cricket tough following the style of brash cricket.

 Ironically, in this series there is no officiating umpire or match referee or substitute umpire from an Asian country: more seriously, none too in the panel that will test the ‘offender’ Senanayake for throwing who is made the fall guy by the British media for playing according to the rules! Which takes precedent… laws of cricket specifically spelt out in rule 42 or the spirit of cricket undeclared? Umpire gave his ruling. None dared to question because it was correct. Period – it should be. Not so … instead picked on Matthews and Senanayake for vilification.

 Talk of the spirit of cricket. Lets learn it from the Brits. Take what Tony Greig did in the Caribbean in 1974. This was 40 years ago during the second test in Port of Spain in the West Indies, when Alvin Kallicharran, unbeaten on 142, started to make his way to the pavilion after the last ball of the day had been bowled. The batsman took his cue that there was to be no more play after the England wicketkeeper Alan Knott had removed the bails from the stumps at the other end of the pitch. So he nonchalantly walked in the direction of the pavilion. But the umpires had not officially called proceedings to a halt. So, seizing his chance, Greig cunningly removed the remaining set of bails, appealed and Kallicharran was given out.

 Next day riots broke out in Trinidad and the continuation of the English tour was in jeopardy. The British embassy was embarrassed with the prevailing anarchy and there was no alternative but for the English team manager to request Kallicharran be permitted to continue his innings.

 The story does not end there. It is the reaction of the British media at the relevant time that is more telling as reported by the Daily Telegraph correspondent Jim White:

 Intriguingly, in the English press the reaction in the following days centred not on speculation as to whether Greig was leading sportsmanship to hell in a handcart. Instead, there was much concern that the reversal of the dismissal set a worrying precedent for the rest of the tour, when every decision could now be decided by mob rule.”

 Patriotism is alive and kicking in the UK –they stand by their team whether right or wrong? Instead lets determine who is right and who is at fault.

 When Vinoo Mankad of India did something similar to Senanyake; a new word was mockingly coined in Fleet Street called ‘Mankadism’ but no such word was devised after Tony Greig’s horrendous event- instead he was elevated as the captain of the English team. A taste of good old British Justice would call it ‘Greged’

 Talking cricket is the most appreciative gesture towards the Brits out of colonialism in South Asia. British public is patriotic when they screamed cheats at the Sri Lankans and predictabily so – don’t ask whether it was reasonable? Brits were rooting for their country. British media – they are obliged to be more balanced and objective. They are not! Ask Cameron or Clegg, confidentially.

Ramdas Athawale, Indian Dalit Buddhist leader enters Rajya Sabha as BJP nominee for Maharashtra

June 10th, 2014

Senaka Weeraratna

Ramdas Athawale is the President of the Republican Party of India (Athawale). In 2014, Athawale was elected to the Indian Upper House of Parliament i.e. Rajya Sabha. He represents Maharashtra as a nominee of the BJP.

Earlier he was a member of the Lok Sabha representing the constituency of  Pandharpur, Maharashtra from 1999 – 2004. He was born on 25th December 1959 (age 54). He is a Buddhist.
ramdos
Photo shows Ramdas Athawale taking an Oath as newly elected MP of Rajya Sabha at Sansad, Delhi.on June 09, 2014

The Indian Prime Minister Hon. Narendra Modi is also seen in the picture behind Mr. Athawale.

In a Vesak Message issued on May 13, 2014, Ramdas Athawale said:

” The whole world needs peace. If humanity has to progress, ahimsa has to be followed. World doesn’t want “Yuddha but they want the Buddha”. Aant, Deep, Bhav & Buddha’s Panchseel Marg is the only way to progress in life. Dr BabaSaheb Ambedkar has accepted Buddhism for the larger humans betterment. I wish all the Indians & humans to follow the path of Satya, Pradnya, Ahimsa & Karuna on the occasion of Buddha Poornima”.

Meeting with President Mahinda Rajapakse on February 22, 2013 in Kandy
Mr. Ramdas Athawale visited Sri Lanka as part of an an eight member Indian Buddhist delegation led by Ven. Dr. Bhadant Rahula Bodhi Maha Thera and met HE the President Mahinda Rajapakse at the President’s House in Kandy on February 22, 2013.  The primary purpose of the visit of the Indian delegation was to strengthen ties between the Buddhists of the two countries and bring India and Sri Lanka closer to each other through the historical bond and civilizational link of Buddhism.They also canvassed the possibility of the installation of a statue in Colombo in honour of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, the Indian Buddhist savant, who in the wake of the foundation laid by the Anagarika Dharmapala for the revival of Buddhism in India in the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th Century, was instrumental in bringing large numbers of Indians i.e. literally hundreds of thousands of down trodden people (Dalits) into the fold of Buddhism.
http://www.dorjeshugden.com/forum/index.php?topic=3236.0
Left to RightFront Row :  Dr.Sachchidanand Fulekar, Avinash Kamble, Ramdas Athawale, President Mahinda Rajapakse, Ven. Rahula Bodhi, Sachin M. Moon,

2nd Row:  Hon. Tikiri Kobbekaduwa (Governor, Central Province), R.L. Tambe, Vishwas Sakru Sarode, Dr. Lilaknath Weerasinghe

3rd Row:  Senaka Weeraratna, W. Panditaratne, Dr. W.A.L. Wickremasinghe, Dr. Jivaki Bandara

4th Row: Dr. Shirani Jayasinghe and Sena Dumbaranga

5th Row: Dr. H. B. Jayasinghe,

The Indian Buddhist team arrived in Sri Lanka on February 21 at the invitation of Dr. Lilaknath Weerasinghe, President ‘Success Sri Lanka’ based in Kandy and its membership, which hosted the delegation during their stay in Kandy and Colombo and accompanied them to Anuradhapura in conjunction with the generous assistance provided mainly by the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress and co – ordinated by the German Dharmaduta Society (in association with the Indo – Sri Lanka Buddhist Network), all of which entities constitute Regional Centres of the World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB).

The Indian Buddhist Team comprised the following members:

1)Most Venerable Dr. Bhadant Rahula Bodhi Maha Thera

President Bhikkhu Sangha’s United Buddhist Mission, India.

2)  Mr. Ramdas Athawale, Former Member of Parliament (MP), Vice President – The World Fellowship of Buddhist, India ( Now newly elected Member of the Rajya Sabha)

3) Mr. Avinash Kamble, President – United Buddhist Federation, India.

4)Mr. R.L. Tambe,Principal – Tambe Education Society College, Mumbai.

5) Mr. Sachchidanand Fulekar, Principal – Dr. Ambedkar Law College, Nagpur.

6) Mr. Sachin M. Moon, Managing Director, Lord Buddha Television, India.

7)Ven. Bhadant Rewat Bodhi, High Priest, Bhikkhu Niwas Gedam layout, Nagpur, India.

8)  Mr. Vishwas Sakru Sarode, Director, HR & IR, Lilavati Hospital & Research Centre, Mumbai

During the course of their visit the Indian Buddhist delegation met the Maha Nayaka Theros of the Malwatta and Asgiriya Chapters, Ven. Banagala Upatissa Nayaka Thera, President, Maha Bodhi Society, Ven. Kirama Wimalajothi Maha Thera (President, Buddhist Cultural Centre), Ven. Dr. W. Wimalagnana Thera (Gangaramaya, Peliyagoda), Ven. Medagama Dhammananda (Asgiriya Maha Viharaya), Ven. Getamande Gunananda Thera, Ven. T. Palitha (Nalandaramaya, Nugegoda), Ven. Mettavihari and Ven. Galayaye Piyadassi Thero ( Chief Sanghanayake Thero of the United Kingdom currently on a visit to Sri Lanka), among others.

The convening of an International Conference on the topic ‘ The Revival and Renaissance of Buddhism in India in the 20th Century’ has been mooted. Both India and Sri Lanka share a deep civilisational continuum. The frequency of these interactions through the bond of Buddhism will re- activate our civilisational paradigm, and make people of both countries re- discover the lost sense of our history, geography, and culture, which determined our understanding and relations with each other, and others in our neighbourhood.

Acceptance of Buddhism by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar converted to Buddhism along with about 380,000 of his followers on October 14, 1956 at Deekshabhoomi which is situated in Nagpur, Maharashtra. Ven. Dr. Hammalawa Saddhatissa Maha Thera, a reputed monk from Sri Lanka, presided over this historic function.

<< Dr.Ambedkar embraced Buddhism on October 14, 1956 at Nagpur. Bhante Chandramani (Burmese monk) is seen administering the oath in Pali to Dr.Ambedkar & Dr.Mrs.Ambedkar. Devapriya Valisinha, General Secretary, Mahabodhi Society, is seen in the center of the picture.

Dr. Ambedkar and his wife Mrs.Savita Ambedkar took oath of Three Jewels and Five Precepts from the Burmese monk Mahasthavir Chandramani.

Dr. Ambedkar then gave the oath of Three Jewels, five precepts, and 22 Vows to his thousands of followers.

Devapriya Valisinha, General Secretary of the Mahabodhi Society was present at  this function. Devapriya Valisinha had for long years been in correspondence with Dr. Ambedkar.

Dr. Ambedkar died on December 6, 1956, just one and a half months after this ceremony. A two-mile long crowd formed the funeral procession. One of the biggest gatherings for a funeral in India up to that time.

Video: Babasaheb Ambedkar embracing Buddhism in Nagpur on 14th October, 1956

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=EOr-FYwnpyw

Senaka Weeraratna

Sri Lanka says will not cooperate with the OHCHR-driven “comprehensive investigation”

June 10th, 2014

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN, Geneva

Sri Lanka has reiterated its categorical rejection of the Human Right Council Resolution 25/1, and said it will not cooperate with the OHCHR-driven so called comprehensive investigation” emanating from it. Sri Lanka has observed that the Government is firmly committed to continuing its ongoing processes of reconciliation, nation building and accountability, and towards this end, will continue to work with countries and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations that are genuinely interested in the welfare of the Sri Lankan people.

Sri Lanka’s position on the “comprehensive investigation” was outlined by Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and Leader of the Sri Lanka delegation Ravinatha Aryasinha on the opening day of the 26th Session of the Human Rights Council that opened in Geneva on Tuesday (10 June 2014). This followed UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay briefing the Council in the course of her opening address on the manner in which she was operationalizing the “comprehensive investigation” on Sri Lanka.

Ambassador Aryasinha said, the March 2014 resolution “adopted with the support of less than half the Council’s membership which mandated this action, challenges the sovereignty and independence of a member state of the UN, violates principles of international law, is inherently contradictory, and is based on profoundly flawed premises inimical to the interests of the Sri Lankan people. The resolution’s lack of clarity sets a dangerous precedent and will destabilize the intricate balance in the homegrown process of national reconciliation. The prejudice and bias concerning Sri Lanka repeatedly displayed by the High Commissioner and the OHCHR remain of deep concern, while reports which question the credibility of the coordinator appointed for the investigation have already emerged “.

He said “it is ironic that the Resolution calls on the Government of Sri Lanka and the OHCHR to conduct parallel investigations. Its OP 2 and 10, are contradictory, with the latter violating a basic principle of international law, that national remedies need to be exhausted before resorting to international mechanisms. The Government of Sri Lanka upholds that the processes of national reconciliation already instituted amply satisfies the elements contained in OP 2, and therefore the implementation of OP 10 becomes unnecessary”.

The Sri Lanka national statement also provided an update to the Council on Sri Lanka’s constructive engagement with the mechanisms of the Council and progress made in the reconciliation process since the Council last met in March 2014. It also detailed how although the LTTE has been militarily defeated, its overseas network, including trained cadre and funding by sections of the expatriate Tamil community, continues to pose a security challenge to Sri Lanka and the region.

The Sri Lanka delegation to the 26th session of the Human Rights Council includes Ms. Manisha Gunasekera, Deputy Permanent Representative in Geneva, Mr. Chandana Weerasena, Director/UN of the Ministry of External Affairs, Ms. Priyanga Wickramasinghe, Minister Counsellor of the Permanent Mission in Geneva, Mr. Chatura Perera, Second Secretary of the Permanent Mission in Geneva and Ms. Dilini Gunasekera, Second Secretary of the Permanent Mission in Geneva. The session which commenced on 10 June will continue until 27 June 2014.

Geneva

10 June 2014

The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva

June 10th, 2014

 Statement by H.E. Mr. Ravinatha P. Aryasinha Ambassador / Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka & Leader of the Sri Lanka Delegation

The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva

 Human Rights Council

26th Regular Session

 Agenda Item 2

 Update of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on her Annual Report to the Human Rights Council

 Statement by H.E. Mr. Ravinatha P. Aryasinha Ambassador / Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka & Leader of the Sri Lanka Delegation

 (Geneva, 10 June 2014)

 Mr. President,

Madam High Commissioner,

  1. At the outset, Sri Lanka wishes to associate itself with the statement made by the Islamic Republic of Iran on behalf of the Non Aligned Movement.
  1. My delegation takes note of the update by the High Commissioner.
  1. We urge the Council to give equal focus and attention to economic, social and cultural rights and civil and political rights, as well as to undertake a more robust approach to upholding the right to development.
  2. We observe the financial constraints and challenges faced by the OHCHR and strongly believe that there is an imperative need for more sustainable resourcing to ensure the efficient and objective execution of the High Commissioner’s mandate under the administrative direction and authority of the UN Secretary General and the General Assembly. To this end, we reiterate our call for greater allocation of funds from the UN regular budget, and for voluntary contributions to be unearmarked, in order to ensure transparency and non-politicization.                                  
  3. We have submitted our observations to the High Commissioner on the OHCHR Management Plan (OMP), the UNSG’s Strategic Framework for 2016-2017 as well as the OHCHR Annual Report 2013. We have, among other issues, highlighted some of the errors contained with regard to references to Sri Lanka in these reports. Like several other countries, it is our considered view that the OMP needs to be guided by the Strategic Framework and carried out in alignment with the latter, with due regard to member-state driven processes.

 Mr. President,

  1. Like many countries, Sri Lanka remains deeply concerned that the lack of financial independence of the OHCHR has an adverse bearing on the overall independent functioning of the Office. We have observed that this contributes to the selective targeting of some countries for country-specific action in the Council, while situations, human rights violations and restrictive practices in some other parts of the world which warrant urgent action are not given the attention that they deserve. This increasing trend of exploiting human rights to fulfil politicized agenda of countries needs to be arrested in order to uphold the high purposes and principles of the Human Rights Council.

Mr. President,

  1. In pursuance of our pledge, we have continued our proactive engagement with mechanisms of the Council including special procedures, treaty bodies and the UPR.
  2. With regard to our continued engagement with special procedures, Sri Lanka facilitated the visits of the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of IDPs and the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants in December 2013 and May 2014, respectively. Pursuant to his visit, we look forward to our engagement in the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of IDPs which will take place later this week.
  3. It is however regrettable that some of the Special Rapporteurs in their statements and reports pursuant to visits appear to have exceeded their mandate. We will be addressing these concerns in the relevant Agenda Items. We therefore reiterate that given the importance attached to the special procedures mechanisms, it is imperative that mandate holders maintain their credibility and relevance in the execution of their mandates through a professional and impartial assessment of facts, in strict adherence to the Code of Conduct as delineated in Council Resolution 5/2.
  1. Requests for visits by special procedures will continue to be processed by the Government as mutually convenient and taking into account national imperatives. The Government will also seek to process the request to visit by the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) following the conclusion of the work of the Presidential Commission on Disappearances, as the findings of the latter could have some correlation with that of the Working Group.
  1. Sri Lanka has meanwhile continued its regular engagement with the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID), having transmitted 1,270 cases to the Working Group for clarification in the period January 2012 to date. From January 2013 to date, Sri Lanka has responded to 28 communications from special procedures (both country specific and general), excluding communications by the WGEID which are indicated as a separate category. The Government continues to endeavour to respond to all communications by special procedures in a spirit of cooperation and dialogue.
  1. Similarly, Sri Lanka has continued to submit its periodic reports to the respective treaty bodies. We hope that the treaty body strengthening process mandated by the General Assembly in April this year, will help overcome past challenges in a sustainable manner, supported by the allocation of additional meeting time and financial resources from the regular budget. We also reaffirm the importance of the independent nature of the treaty bodies and the independence and impartiality of their members. 

Mr. President,

  1. In keeping with our policy of continuous engagement, allow me to take this opportunity to update this Council on progress made in the reconciliation process since our last update to the Council in March 2014:
  1. The Government has continued with the implementation of the recommendations of the Lessons and Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) through the National Plan of Action (NPoA). Of the 285 paragraphs contained in Chapter 9 of the LLRC, the Government has identified 144 as recommendations for implementation. As of 03 June 2014, out of the 144 recommendations of the NPoA, 45 have achieved their objectives, and there are 89 recommendations where implementation has progressed to a considerable extent with long-term timeframes, and 10 recommendations where preliminary steps are being taken for implementation.
  • The Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons concluded its fourth round of Public Sittings in the Batticaloa District which were held from 6 to 9 June 2014. The Commission had previously conducted Public Sittings in January, February and March this year in Killinochchi, Jaffna and Batticaloa, respectively. To date, 18,590 complaints have been received from many parts of the country, inclusive of approximately 5,000 from relatives of missing security forces personnel. The Commission has thus far inquired into 462 complaints, which are being analyzed for further investigations through an independent investigation team. The Commission has also held regular meetings with the ICRC, the UNDP and obtained their views and experiences gained in other parts of the world on matters relating to persons missing at the end of a conflict. The mandate issued to the Commission of Inquiry to investigate cases of alleged disappearances of persons in the Northern and Eastern Provinces has been extended by six months to 12 August 2014.  
  • Processing of data of the Island-wide Census to gather information on deaths/injuries to persons and property damages that have occurred from 1982 to date as a direct or indirect result of the internal conflicts, as per the recommendations of the LLRC, is in progress. Preliminary Report data of the census is being verified and the Report is nearing completion. Data for the Final Report is being keyed in concurrently. An additional budgetary allocation of Rs 150 Million was granted in January 2014 to the Department of Census & Statistics to complete the Census.
  • The Government has initiated action to prepare legislation with regard to Witness and Victim Protection. The Bill is currently before the Cabinet of Ministers, which has referred it to other stakeholders for their observations.
  • As noted in the government’s response to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of Internally Displaced Persons in April 2014, with regard to the resettlement of IDPs, nearly 766,307 IDPs (226,239 families) have been resettled between 2009 and April 2014 in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. As a result of ongoing cooperation between the Government and the UNHCR following a series of meetings conducted from January to March 2014 at the district level in the Northern and Eastern provinces with the participation of the Ministry of Resettlement, the Presidential Task Force for Resettlement, Development and Security in the Northern Province (PTF) and the UNHCR, a significant achievement has been the reconciling of IDP figures. Emanating from this exercise, as at 31 May 2014, according to the Joint Study between Ministry of Resettlement, PTF and UNHCR, a total of 30,007 persons (9,073 families) remain to be resettled, which includes 22,453 persons (6,766 families) from the North and 7,554 persons (2,307 families) from the East. All 18 recommendations of the LLRC pertaining to the issues of IDPs, including land, housing, infrastructure and livelihood needs as well as their emotional and spiritual needs, are comprehensively addressed in the LLRC NPoA, of which 3 recommendations have been addressed and completed.
  • Landis one of the most complex and sensitive residual issues of the conflict and continues to be addressed.

o       The Ministry of Justice has taken the initiative to embark on a programme of land mediation initially in the North and East.

o       An inter-Ministerial Committee has been appointed to study the special nature of problems and displacement of families in former ‘threatened villages’. The final report of the Committee is due to be submitted shortly.

o       The Land Commissioner General has alienated 6,391 plots of land to resettled Muslim families to facilitate their resettlement. Land Kachcheries to select suitable allottees is in progress, and 1,993 allotments have been alienated so far.

o       The Prescription (Special Provisions) Bill drafted to give relief to persons disadvantaged by reason of the thirty year conflict has been sent to the Cabinet of Ministers which has referred it to the Ministry of Finance and Planning for their observations.

  • Work has also commenced on the Joint Needs Assessment (JNA) conducted by OCHA in consultation with the PTF to address residual displacement needs. The Letter of Agreement was signed between the Government and the UN Country Team on 25 March 2014 to give effect to the JNA which aims to identify the specific needs of those displaced persons who have returned or resettled but are still having specific needs linked to their displacement. This was also discussed during the visit of the SR on the human rights of IDPs to Sri Lanka. The JNA is being implemented under the guidance of co-chairs, the PTF and the Humanitarian Country Team (HC), and is supported by OCHA as the JNA Secretariat and the lead consultants.
  • As recommended by the LLRC, the Government has mobilized funding for restitution and the provision of compensatory relieffor those affected by the conflict. Rs. 596 Million has been provided for the payment of compensation from 2010 to 2013. The 2014 budget has allocated SLRs. 475 Million to continue the implementation of this recommendation. Compensation schemes have also been implemented by the Rehabilitation Authority to provide relief for the next of kin affected by the death or injury of those involved with the LTTE. Such relief is also provided in cases of property damage due to the conflict, including religious places.The Rehabilitation Authority has in this regard implemented several loan and compensation schemes at a cost of Rs. 1.32 Billion.
  • In line with the LLRC recommendation, an Inter-Ministerial Committee coordinates work carried out separately by stakeholder line Ministries to ensure that the needs of vulnerable groups are met in a comprehensive manner, without duplication, and gaps are filled through timely interventions. The status of women, children, elderly and other vulnerable groups is monitored by each stakeholder agency according to their mandate.
  • In line with the 10-year National Plan for a Trilingual Sri Lanka that was launched in January 2012 for the implementation of the Trilingual Policy, the Government continues with its programme to make public sector workers bilingual in Sinhala and Tamil. The Government continues to recruit Tamil-speaking civil servants and police officers to serve the public in North and the East in the language of their choice. The Convention on National Unity in Diversity’ was held in April, 2014 organized by the Ministry of Languages & Social Integration together with relevant stakeholders.

 Mr. President,

  1. Even as the country moves on the path of reconciliation, the Government of Sri Lanka has for long maintained that although the LTTE has been militarily defeated in Sri Lanka in May 2009, its overseas network which includes a number of trained cadre, funded by some sections of the expatriate Tamil community, continues to remain in place, posing a medium and long term security challenge to Sri Lanka and the region. This assessment has been shared by India as well as many other countries, which have continued to keep the LTTE on the proscribed terrorist list. The recently released EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2014 (TE-SAT 2014) of the EUROPOL observes that “LTTE networks remain in numerous countries, and continue to attempt to rebuild their structures and operating capabilities, especially via fundraising and money laundering”. It notes that “in Switzerland, for instance, police continued to investigate the activities of a number of former LTTE members. The investigation focused primarily on operations aimed at channeling funds collected on Swiss territory to Sri Lanka”.  
  1. In 2012, LTTE cadres operating on instructions of LTTE operatives in France carried out an assassination of a member of a political party (EPDP) in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. This was the initial indication that the LTTE was regrouping to carry out acts of violence in the country. Subsequently, further evidence emerged of a network of connections stemming from Europe, Malaysia, India, and Sri Lanka of LTTE operatives attempting a resurgence of terrorism in the country.
  1. Based on information received a combined operation launched by the Indian and Sri Lanka authorities resulted in the arrest of connected LTTE operatives in Chennai in December 2012. The group in Chennai, had been found providing training to make IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) to youth/
    ex-LTTE cadres coming from Sri Lanka. These were clear indications of LTTE’s new efforts of revamping the organization.
  1. In March 2014, as we noted in our statement to HRC 25, investigations confirmed that these activities were coordinated by a broader network of LTTE operatives functioning from overseas. Three LTTE operatives who were overseas and had returned to Sri Lanka were found to have been actively involved in the reorganizing of the terrorist organization in the North. They were involved in the recovery of arms caches, planning to assassinate high profile targets in Colombo, re-establishing the intelligence network, recruiting unemployed youth and rehabilitated ex-combatants and collecting information on potential targets including in other provinces, with the intention of carrying out terrorist acts in the country. Investigations revealed that funding for such activities came from Europe and were being transferred using an illegal system of money transfer widely used in the subcontinent. It was also revealed that many safe houses, vehicles and other resources required for resurgence the terrorist group had been procured by them using this money. The incident highlights the very real dangers that exist in this regard for Sri Lanka.
  1. In March 2014, the Government of Sri Lanka took measures to list entities and persons under UN Security Council Resolution 1373 who were, believed on reasonable grounds, to be committing, attempting to commit, facilitating or participating in the commission of acts of terrorism. This order designating entities and persons was undertaken following several years of consideration of information and monitoring of their activities. There have been several actions by the law enforcement authorities both in Sri Lanka and abroad before as well as after Government action under UNSC Resolution 1373.
  1. In May 2014, the Malaysian authorities immediately took action, at the request of the Government of Sri Lanka, to extradite 3 key LTTE operatives arrested by them who are wanted in relation to terrorism related offences in Sri Lanka. These operatives had been designated as refugees by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. It is imperative to ensure that the UN system does not fall prey to manipulations by terrorist groups. It is also incumbent upon nations to be vigilant of such misplaced initiatives.

Mr. President,

  1. Allow me now to address the issue of the so called ‘’comprehensive investigation’’ on Sri Lanka being launched by the OHCHR, regards which the High Commissioner earlier today informed this Council that her office has now put in place a staff team that will be supported by several experts and Special Procedures Mandate holders.
  1. During the March session, the Government of Sri Lanka made clear its position with regard to the Council Resolution A/HRC/Res/25/1 which mandated this action, which was adopted with the support of less than half the Council’s membership. As we have placed on record, this resolution challenges the sovereignty and independence of a member state of the United Nations, violates principles of international law, is inherently contradictory, and based on profoundly flawed premises inimical to the interests of the people of Sri Lanka. The resolution’s lack of clarity of mandate in requesting the OHCHR to undertake an investigation with the ‘assistance from relevant experts’ sets a dangerous precedent. Further, the prejudice and bias concerning Sri Lanka repeatedly displayed by the High Commissioner and her Office which have been vested with the mandate to carry out the comprehensive investigation”, is a matter of deep concern to Sri Lanka. In fact, regrettably reports which could question the credibility of the coordinator appointed for the investigation have already emerged.
  1. We reiterate the categorical rejection of this Resolution, and our non-cooperation with the OHCHR-driven comprehensive investigation”. The Government of Sri Lanka remains firm in its conviction that the Human Rights Council’s efforts should contribute to a State’s own efforts in the promotion and protection of human rights, and that any external assistance and initiatives to protect human rights in a country should be in consultation with, and with the consent of, the country concerned, as stipulated in Council Resolution 5/1. As we have placed on record previously, operative paragraphs 2 and 10 of Resolution A/HRC/Res/25/1 are also mutually contradictory. The latter violates a basic principle of international law that national remedies need to be exhausted before resorting to international mechanisms. Ironically, the Resolution calls on the Government of Sri Lanka and the OHCHR to conduct parallel investigations.
  1. The Government of Sri Lanka upholds the processes of national reconciliation already instituted in Sri Lanka, amply satisfies the elements contained in operative paragraph 2. Therefore the implementation of operative paragraph 10 becomes unnecessary and is a violation of international law.
  1. I wish to re-iterate that the Government of Sri Lanka is firmly committed to continue its ongoing processes of reconciliation, nation building and accountability, which have the best interests of the people of Sri Lanka, who after three decades of suffering at the hands of ruthless terrorism, deserve nothing less. Towards this end, the Government of Sri Lanka will continue to work with countries and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations that are genuinely interested in the welfare of the people of Sri Lanka.
  1. In such context, any attempt to impose on these processes externally, without the consent of the country and disregarding its inherent social, cultural and ethnic particularities, will only serve to destabilize the intricate balance of the homegrown process of national reconciliation. It is for this reason that the operationalizing of Resolution A/HRC/Res/25/1, we are convinced, will affect a sensitive domestic process detrimentally.

 

In conclusion, Mr. President,

Sri Lanka reiterates its continued cooperation and engagement with the Council.

Thank you.

Sovereignty of a Nation: Sri Lankan Encounter- A Book by Dr Donald Chandraratna

June 10th, 2014

donaldc22a

Sri Lanka’s Media racist towards Buddhists

June 10th, 2014

Shenali D Waduge

Mass media have a power far more than Governments to tilt public opinion to their line of thinking using a plethora of modes at both international and local levels with a dangerous ability to make mountains out of molehills. The scope of their manipulation is phenomenal and profit driven. Humans are sensitive to emotional blackmail and fall victim to either mind conditioning or the human weakness of money and power. Media stands guilty of portraying situations in worse scenarios for its own gains and is largely accountable for creating tense situations in a country. Sri Lanka is currently facing a combination of these onslaughts. Media can create victims” and then engage in efforts to slander the target, a combined effort with external forces. Balanced content is nil. Sanity is what is required to sieve the lies from the truth. The current issue is the projection of Sinhalese Buddhists or Buddhist Sinhalese as racists” – let us see how fair or truthful this is.

 When news media control what we see, hear, think, learn and know – it is a dangerous situation.  When lascoreens become decision makers in governance they end up compromising the country’s heritage and history. A good look at Sri Lanka’s education system placed under lascoreens has resulted in diluted the true history of Sri Lanka. A group of patriots need to take all the school textbooks and highlight the lies and request the President to correct the status quo before education creates a generation of lascoreens.

 The situation in Sri Lanka

 There is a proud history that the Sinhela race should not feel shy about which secularism and liberals cannot simply write off, undermine, laugh at or legislatively remove simply because it does not conform to their ideology. Nevertheless, the growing tension is that an increasing lobby is galvanizing the theory that the majority is discriminating the minorities. A lot of effort is been given to shape this theory into acceptance.

 Historical evidence cannot be ignored. The prehistoric settlement in Sri Lanka is proved in the discovery of the oldest human found in Pathirajawela in deep South of Sri Lanka who had lived 20,000 years before the Neanderthal inhabited earth. Pathirajawela also exposed a flake and stone tool industry belonging to 125,000 to 75,000 BCE. The 2nd oldest human was found in Bundala again in the deep South. The 3rd oldest Lankan human was found in Fa-Hien the largest natural cave in South Asia known as Pahiyangala which can accommodate over 3000 humans. From 123,000 BCE it was in 546 BC that the Sivu-Hela (Simhala which became Sinhela) tribes of Yaksha, Naga, Deva and Raksha tribes lived. This was the origins of the civilization of the hela people (Sinhela) far before the arrival of King Vijaya in 543BC. http://www.srilankaheritages.com/oldest-human.html

 Sri Lanka’s history is chronicled from 5th century BC led by Sinhalese Buddhist kings. There were invasions and incursions of Cholas and Pandyas but these were defeated. Elara (235 BC – 161 BC) ruled in Anuradhapura more or less as a Sinhalese kingdom. There is no Tamil archeological evidence to prove that a long standing Tamil civilization existed in Sri Lanka.

 The Muslims in Sri Lanka have different origins. A vast majority of them have their origins in South India which explains why they spoke and still speak Tamil. Muslims that settled in Sri Lanka never had a linguistic connection to Arabs and began settling in Sri Lanka only after the 10th century.

 The Dutch brought the Vellalas from South India for tobacco cultivation in the 1700s while the British brought the Indian Tamils as plantation workers in 1800s because the Sinhalese refused to work as coolies in tea plantations that were originally land belonging to the Kandyan peasantry but grabbed from them under the draconian Waste Land Ordinance which was enacted in 1840. Under this law all lands for which there was no proof of ownership or possession were regarded as waste land or Crown land. Vast acreage was thus grabbed by the British Colonial Govt. without taking into consideration the customary ownership rights of the Kandyan people. This bred dissatisfaction among the Kandyan people which was the major cause for the 1848 rebellion.

 Of late, the media has become a platform to denigrate the Sinhalese and ridicule Buddhism. As an example a pro-Christian website run by exiled local journalists paid from foreign funds publishes everything that serves this objective. Its article headings clearly show their bias: Bhikku brigade”, Buddhist Taliban”, Attack on Muslims”, Extremists BBS Majoritarian virus”, Hamuruduwane Booruwane”, Sinhala-Buddhist nationalism”, bigotry of SinhalaBuddhism”, haunted by the Mahawansa”, … the labels that Sinhalese Buddhists have been tagged with that media enthusiastically promotes are many. It is a gross violation of ethics of Journalism.

 Before writing off the Sinhalese Buddhists and believing every word that transpires over the media it is necessary to engage in a content analysis of all the English language newspapers in this country. It is evident that the main feature writers are more or less the same in all the newspapers and saying the same things over and over again and media gives only space for them and it is their views that monopolize what people are made to read and form their opinion upon. There is no room or opportunity extended for alternate views.

 The objective is always to make the readers believe that the Sinhalese Buddhists are the cause of all the ills, the source of all the trouble and disharmony between races and religions, and that their numbers in the country (70%) prevent adequate space to minorities from exercising their rights. This is realistically far from the truth.

 Who are the real minorities?

 On a broadsheet the minorities statistically in religious terms are Hindus, Islam, Christians while ethnically the minorities will be the Tamils, Muslims and Burghers. Yet, in reality when we take the capital Colombo it is these minority ethnic groups and the minority religions that rule – they control much of the commercial sector, they have a monopoly over the wholesale trade, they hold prime immovable property in greater Colombo and form the greater composition of elite in terms of the monetary power they hold. It is for these primary reasons that politicians end up gravitating towards them, for power and money are fatal attractions. It is through these influences that a lot of unwarranted and irregularities have taken place often bypassing customary laws.

 What have the minorities not been given in Sri Lanka? Do Buddhists have these privileges in other nations as minorities themselves? Do Muslims not have 3 public holidays, do Christians not have 2 public holidays plus 52 Sundays for Sabbath? While Hindus have 3 public holidays. Places of worship for all religions abound in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka issues stamps in honor of all the faiths every year – which is unique and sets Sri Lanka apart from all the countries in the world. Not a single Muslim or Christian country has issued a stamp in honor of Buddha.

 Are the minorities not given recognition in the national flag? Is it not on account of the unmonitored freedoms that we are faced with a situation of conversions to the Abrahamic religions and unnumbered groups of faith healers all over the island spreading the Word” or promoting ‘Born Again’?

 Let’s be candid. The ever vociferous Christian promoters of freedom of religion” slogans cry freedom” so long as they can inflict their religious beliefs on others. Sri Lanka has not forgotten the work of Catholic Action and the secret societies that continue to prevail.

The truth is that the role of Sinhalese Buddhists are confined to only bringing politicians to power and these politicians end up deserting the voters that voted them to power. That is the sad reality.

 Buddhists have reacted to these rapidly developing scenarios that they have identified as similar to those brewing in other parts of the world. These potential threats to Buddhists and Buddhism in Sri Lanka have been clearly articulated but media has purposely blocked giving publicity to the fears and warnings of future trouble expressed by the Buddhists.

 In a population of under 50,000 why should 42 mosques emerge in Kattankudy alone? Is this fair and justifiable? The visible rise in the proliferation of mosques is said to be 5000 throughout the island where the Muslim population is just 1.6million.

 Should there not be a moratorium on establishing any more mosques?

 Is it wrong for people to object to use of loudspeakers at Mosques that purposely project outward causing noise pollution beginning early in the morning at 4.30 a.m. disturbing the sleep of non – Muslims in the neighbourhood who are forced to listen to the sounds of Islam against their will? Especially when the Government has given a radio channel for people to listen to azan – no media gives space to opinion calling for the enforcement of the Supreme Court interim order given in 2007 which clearly hold that use of loudspeakers is not a fundamental right but the right to silence is! Instead anyone bringing this argument is labeled an anti-Muslim. How correct is this?

 When halal method of animal slaughter is banned in other nations and Muslims do not object why is it that in Sri Lanka media jumps to say that any opposition to the barbaric killing through slitting of throats and allowing an innocent and defenseless animal bleed to death slowly, is violation of religious cum human rights?

 Is the advocacy for rights of animals no longer accepted in a country that for over a period of two millennium protected animals from man’s inhumanity under the benign rule of Buddhist Kings? Why is the denial of animal slaughter practiced through centuries suddenly being changed in the past several decades and for whose benefit is this?

 Should people coming from Abrahamic religious backgrounds be allowed to have the last word on how this country should preserve and protect animals and see to their welfare through appropriate legislative reform?

 Is it wrong for Buddhists to object to animal sacrifice when the founder of the religion Gauthama the Buddha vehemently condemned it as an evil practice and Sinhalese Buddhist Kings prohibited Animal Sacrifice in their Kingdoms following Buddhist injunctions against such practice until the fall of the Kandyan Kingdom in 1815?

 Is it wrong for Buddhists of Sri Lanka to object to a takaran shed developing into a Muslim Shrine in Anurdhapura that Buddhists consider their most sacred city when it is right for the Pope and the Catholic Church to claim the Vatican as the Holy City for Catholics, and Mecca as the Holy Land for Muslims where non-Muslims are prohibited from entering? Has the media ever balanced this side of the argument?

 When it was clear that the halal certificate and logo on every consumer item being purchased was something illegal and extortion was taking place why has this aspect not got media attention except to convey the impression that the Sinhalese were objecting to Muslims and creating an anti-Muslim story to sell the world ?. Why did the media not speculate as to the sudden demand for halal labels when purchase of foods and items without halal certificates/logos had taken place for centuries – moreover with GMOs which are legally not to be tested before release to market what is the guaranteed that foods we eat have not been crossed with pigs? So much of food-modification is taking place around us all to the profit of the food industry.

 When nations are banning burqa’s and niqabs and citing the reasons of unnecessary segregation disuniting people why is it when similar sentiments are expressed in Sri Lanka the media goes to town to again project the notion of anti-Muslim.

 When evidence is given of the disregard and disrespect for Buddhist cultural heritage why does that not get media attention? When Sinhalese object to Muslim encroachment of traditional Sinhala Buddhist temple land and demolition of historic sites and archeological remains why does the media project it as anti-Muslim and encourage articles that tow that line of thinking only?

 There are enough of sensible arguments and articles available by people who have handled both sides of the issue in order for people to realize the need to balance things and more importantly for people to realize that incursions of the present nature are that which is creating the divides. Should the media not be highlighting the incursions and encourage people to not overstep their boundaries?

 In a majority Buddhist country why has no English media dedicated an editorial to the plight of the Bangladeshi Buddhists, the anti-Buddhist happenings in Maldives, or Myanmar who are trying to protect their Buddhist nation from Islamic fundamentalists who have been smuggled via Bangladesh over the years?

 Do all these liberals and Human Rights proponents and the minorities simply want the Sinhalese Buddhists to silently watch the take over of a nation that they have defended over centuries? Can they not understand that it is the Abrahamic religious take over” that the Buddhists fear?

 Are the Buddhists only good enough to be sacrificed by the LTTE so that all others can live safely? Was it not 99.9% of the Sinhalese Buddhist soldiers that died in defending the nation and is it not why the people do not want a similar instance where another lot of Sinhala Buddhists may end up in graves?

 Given that 74% Sinhalese Buddhists are difficult to annihilate we realize the foreign driven multipronged efforts to break up the foundations of Buddhist nationalism being the last line of defense. This is what Myanmar is currently facing in a fierce competition between the two major Abrahamic faiths for world domination through control of the world’s people and territories.

 Do people seriously think that the Sinhalese Buddhists would create situations where it is they who will end up dying?

 In reality is it not the Sinhalese Buddhists who are in real terms in the minority? As against 77million Tamils – 72million Tamils who live in Tamil Nadu alone the world has only 14.8million Sinhalese (of which less than 300,000 are Sinhalese Christians). Efforts must be made to protect the Sinhalese Buddhists as an indigenous species on account of the language and the ethnicity of the Sinhalese being spoken only in Sri Lanka.

 Religious Freedoms worldwide

 Studies show that in a Muslim-majority nation there is a high level of government restrictions. Ironically, in these very Muslim nations Muslims themselves are often the victims of religious intolerance. It’s a battle over what type of Shariah law should be enacted, or who holds the reins of power in government – as Islam and its practice rests on the leaders that call the shots.

 Afghanistan – an Islamic Republic….The sacred religion of Islam shall be the religion of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan….No law shall contravene the tenets and provisions of the holy religion of Islam in Afghanistan

 Argentina – Article 2 of the Constitution of Argentina reads: “The Federal Government supports the Roman Catholic Apostolic religion.” Article 14 guarantees all the inhabitants of the Nation the right “to profess freely their religion.”

 Canada – In most parts of Canada there is a Catholic education system alongside the secular “public” education system. They all run on Catholic principles and include religious activities and instruction as a matter of course. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is entrenched in the Constitution, states in the preamble that Canada “is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law.”

 Denmark – Section 4 in the Constitution of Denmark: “The Evangelical Lutheran Church shall be the Established Church of Denmark, and, as such, it shall be supported by the State.”

 Finland – National churches of Finland, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and the Finnish Orthodox Church have a status protected by law. The special legal position of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland is also codified in the constitution of Finland.

 Malaysia – Islam is the official state religion and the Constitution of Malaysia provides for limited freedom of religion, notably placing control upon the ‘propagation’ of religion other than Islam to Muslims

 Saudi Arabia – Islamic theocratic monarchy in which Islam is the official religion; the law requires that all Saudi citizens be Muslims

 Turkey – 99.0% of the Turkish population is Muslim of whom a majority belong to the Sunni branch of Islam. The constitution explicitly states that they cannot become involved in the political process (by forming a religious party. No party can claim that it represents a form of religious belief. Turkey, like France, prohibits by law the wearing of religious headcover and theo-political symbolic garments for both genders in government buildings, schools, and universities.

 United Kingdom (UK) – provisions of the Act of Settlement 1701 which ensures that no Catholic shall ever be the monarch of the United Kingdom, nor shall they be married to one. Religious education is mandated in state schools based on a syllabus reflecting the country’s Christian traditions. Britain is a predominantly Christian country with two established, the Church of England (COE), the mother church of the Anglican Communion and state church in England and the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. The Church of Scotland is Presbyterian while the Church of England is Anglican (Episcopalian). The former is a national church guaranteed by law to be separate from the state, while the latter is a state-established church and any major changes to doctrine, liturgy, or structure must have parliamentary approval.

 Maldives – the supposed paradise for over 60,000 tourists annually are given arrival cards giving lists of prohibited items (materials contrary to Islam). Saudi Arabia and Maldives both 100% Muslim nations. The 2008 constitution adopted states non-Muslim may not become a citizen of the Maldives”. In Maldives too the Wahhabi Islamic pattern is increasing. Women in the early 1990s did not wear the black burqa and men with long beards – but that is now seen increasing. Many say that these attire changes come with an exchange of remunerations both cash and kind!

 Iran’s constitution recognizes 4 religions whose status is formally protected – Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

 In Egypt, a 2006 judgement by the Supreme Administrative Council demarcated recognized religions (Islam, Christianity, Judaism) and other religious beliefs – other religious affiliations were prohibited which means they including Bahai’s are denied rights of citizenship in their country – they cannot obtain ID cards, birth certificates, death certificates, marriage or divorce certificates, passports, they cannot be employed, educated, treated in public hospitals or vote!!!

 As far as religious freedoms go when it is forbidden for Muslims to convert from Islam to another religion Islam encourages conversions of non-Muslims to Islam. When the Vatican speaks of freedom of religion, equality of faiths – the Vatican will not consider ever putting a non-Catholic structure inside the Vatican City – where is the logic?

 Let’s look at the laws in some of these countries.

 In France and Belgium students in state schools and government workers cannot wear conspicuous religious symbols” – forbids Islamic headscarf, Sikh turban, large Christian crosses, Jewish yarmulke. Both countries ban people from publicly wearing full-face veils. France also forbids people from wearing any headgear in official identity document photos. The body covering burqa and face-covering niqabs in public was banned unanimously in France in April 2011 claiming 6.5million Muslims were not integrating into French society – the fine is €150 ($215). Those that force others to cover their faces will be subject to a fine of €30,000 ($43,000) and a year in jail. Human Rights Watch claims that the burqa and niqab do not constitute a religious practices sanctioned or prescribed by Islam but is only a cultural practice. The new law was introduced because French voters are becoming worried that the Muslim minority is building a parallel society in France which was why France claims multiculturalism is a failure.

 Switzerland, Netherlands and other EU states are debating similar prohibitions.

 In some Swiss and German states Islamic dress restrictions exist for teachers.

 The restrictions that are rising across the world and especially Europe are due to 2 main reasons : historical and demographic. Western Europe has a history of monolithic state religion and secularism was included as a mere monoculture. No one can deny that Norway treats their official churches as vestigial organs and they would not give that same place to any other religion whatever demands are made. The other factor that the world is now beginning to take serious note of is the rise in the Muslim population which go hand in hand with Islam and visible rise in their anti-secular behaviors and actions drawing rise in public sentiments forcing Western European parliamentarians to review the prevailing situation.

 What goes without saying and as the European Court of Human Rights has rightly declared is that religious freedom is a right but not an absolute one. Where an individual’s religious observance impinges on the rights of others some restrictions have to be made. In Sri Lanka our Media refuse to highlight this aspect.

 In summary, a very interesting comment on a website by a Tamil Christian (using the name Lorenzo) is being shared to convey the above in very simple terms.

 Being a Tamil Christian, I believe Sri Lanka is a SINHALA BUDDHIST country.

 Let’s play a game.

 1. Show me where is Tamil Hindu country?

 Tamil Nadu. Good.

 2. Show me a English Anglican country?

 England. Good.

 3. Show me a Hindi Hindu country?

 India. Good.

 4. Show me an Islamic Arabic country?

 Saudi. Good.

 5. Now show me the Sinhala Buddhist country?

 ????

 It is now called Sri Lanka. Correct name Sinhela.

 Did God Jesus Christ visit Sri Lanka? NO.

 Did Prophet Mohammad visit Sri Lanka? NO.

 Did Krishna visit Sri Lanka? NO. (Rama did visit Sri Lanka but to destroy it.)

 Did Buddha visit Sri Lanka? Oh! Yes!

 So it is a Buddhist country. Sri Lanka is the ONLY country Buddha visited BY CHOICE. He was in Nepal/India so he had no choice there. But the moment he got a choice, where did he visit? Sri Lanka

 So this is why Sri Lanka is the Sinhala Buddhist country.

 But some foolish Sinhala Buddhists have out of GENEROSITY given up their claims. So all the cats and dogs have started to claim it as theirs.

 If you still don’t believe it let me explain from the Bible – Wise King Solomon.

 Once upon a time there was a very wise king by the name Solomon

 He was the king, army commander, the judge and the jury and the parliament. Somewhat like MR.

 One day 2 women came to him claiming ONE baby as theirs. 2 mothers, 1 baby!

 King asked, Yako, whose son is this?”

 MINE! Screamed both women.

 Then the king asked, whose son is this?”

 MINE! Screamed both women.

 hmmmm…thought the wise king. He ordered a soldier to cut the baby into half and give each half to each woman. Then ONE woman came to the baby’s rescue and stopped the king. She begged to spare the baby.

 So the king found the OWNER of the baby!

 And he hacked the other FAKE woman to death.

 When Norway, UK, India, USA, UNHRC, LTTE, PLOTE, IPKF, Tamil MODA-RATES, etc. tried to CUT SL into halves, who came forward to defend it?

 Muslims? NO.

 Tamils? NO.

 Europeans? NO.

 (Well VERY few of them DID come forward UNDER the leadership of real owners).

 Sinhalese. YES. Like the REAL mother of that baby, Sinhalese came forward to defend their baby – Sri Lanka

 That establishes who the REAL OWNER of Sri Lanka is.

 (I know we are not as wise as King Solomon, but we are enough intelligent to get it, aren’t we?)

වයස් සීමාව අඩුකිරීමෙන් තරුණ උපාධිධාරීන්ට මාණ්ඩලික සේවයේ රැකියා අවස්ථා අහිමිවෙයි – තාරුණ්‍යයේ හඬ

June 10th, 2014

තාරුණ්‍යයේ හඬ

ශ්‍රී ලංකා පරිපාලන සේවයේ මාණ්ඩලික ශ්‍රේණියේ තනතුරු සඳහා වන විභාගය වෙනුවෙන් ඉදිරිපත් විය හැකි වයස් මට්ට අඩු කිරීම හේතුවෙන් ලාංකීය තරුණ උපාධිධාරීන් එම ශ්‍රේණියේ රැකියා අවස්ථා අහිමි වන බවත් මෙයින් ඔවුන්ට බලවත් අසාධාරනයක් වී ඇති බවත් අද දින (10) පැවැති මාධ්‍ය හමුවේදී තාරුණ්‍යයේ හඬ සංවිධානයේ ජාතික සූදානම් කිරීමේ කමිටුවේ සම කැඳවුම්කරු ගයාන් ජානක සහෝදරයා ප්‍රකාශ කරයි.
වැඩි දුරටත් අදහස් දක්වමින්……..
‘‘අපේ රටේ මාණ්ඩලික සේවයේ තනතුරු සඳහා පැවැත්වෙන තරඟ විභාගයේ වයස් සීමාව අවුරැදු 28 දක්වා අඩු කරලා තියන එකත් ශ්‍රීලංකා රෙගුවට බදවා ගැනීම ස‍ඳහා වයස් සීමාව අවුරැදු 32 සිට 28 දක්වා අඩු කරලා තියන එකත් කියන මේ කරැණු දෙක නිමිත්ත කරගෙන තමයි තාරුණ්‍යයේ හඬ සංවිධානය මෙම මාධ්‍ය සාකච්චාව පවත්වන්න අදහස් කළේ. විශේෂයෙන්ම තරුණ උපාධිධාරීන්ගේ අවධානයට ලක්කරන්න, මේ සම්බන්ධයෙන් රජය අවධානයට ලක්කරන්න ඕනකම තියන නිසා තමයි තාරැණ්‍ය හඬ සංවිධානය විදිහට මෙවැනි මාධ්‍ය සාකච්ඡාවක් කරන්න අරමුණ වුණේ. ඒ වගේම මේ මොහොත වන විට රටතුළ නීති අධ්‍යාපන කේෂත්‍රය තුළ මතුවෙලා තියන ගැටලුකාරී තත්වයත් පිළිබ‍ඳවත් අදහස් දක්වන්න බලාපොරොත්තු වෙනවා.
ඔබ දන්නවා, අපේ රටේ මාණ්ඩලික තනතුරු ලබා ගැනීම ස‍ඳහා වුණු දීප ව්‍යාප්ත සේවා ආයතනවල තනතුරැ 14ක් තියෙනවා. ශ්‍රීලංකා රේගු නිළධාරී තනතුර. ශ්‍රීලංකා පරිපාලන සේවය, ශ්‍රීලංකා විදේශ සේවය, ආගමන විගමන දෙපාර්තමේන්තුවේ බලයලත් නිළධාරී තනතුර, ශ්‍රීලංකා කෘෂිකර්ම සේවය, ශ්‍රීලංකා විද්‍යාත්මක සේවය, සත්ව නිෂ්පාදන හා සෞඛ්‍ය සේවය, අධ්‍යාපන පරිපාලන සේවය ආදී මාණ්ඩලික සේවයට අයත් තනතුරැ 14ක් තියෙනවා. මේ මාණ්ඩලික සේවයේ තනතුරැ සඳහා අපේ රටේ පත්කර ගන්නේ උපාධිධාරීන්. හැබැයි දැන් පසුගිය 6 වැනිදා ආණ්ඩුව ඉදිරිපත් කළ ඒ ගැසට් නිවේදනය සහ මැයි මාසයේ ඉදිරිපත්කරපු ඒ ගැසට් නිවේදනයෙන් අභියෝගයට ලක්වෙලා තියෙන්නේ මේ උපාධිධාරීන්ට ඒ තනතුරු සඳහා පැවැත්වෙන විභාග සඳහා පෙනී සිටින්න ඕනී වයස් සීමාව අඩු කරලා තියන එක ඔවුන්ට ගැටලුවක් බවට පත්වෙලා තියනවා. උදාහරණයක් විදිහට ගත්තොත් මීට වසර කිහිපයකට පෙර පාරිපාලන සේවය සඳහා උපාධිධාරියෙකුට යෑමට අවශ්‍ය නම්, ඔහුට උවමනාවක් තිබුණ නම් තමන්ගේ වයස අවුරුදු 35ක් වුණත් ඒකට බාධාවක් වුණේ නැහැ. නමුත් දැන් පසුගිය 6 වැනිදා ඉදිරිපත් කළ ගැසට් නිවේදනයේ පැහැදිලිව තියනවා අවුරුදු 28 දක්වා අඩුකරලා තියනවා. දැන් හරිම පැහැදිලි, වෙන්නේ මොකක්වත් නොවෙයි ඇත්තටම ඒ දීපව්‍යාප්ත සේවාවන් වල, නැත්තනම් මාණ්ඩලික සේවයේ තනතුරු සඳහා උපාධිධාරීන්ට ඇතුල් වෙන්න තියන ඉඩකඩ ඒ වයස් සීමාව ක්‍රමාණුකූලව අඩුකිරීම යටතේ ප්‍රශ්න ගණනාවකට අද ලංකාවේ තරුණ උපාධිධාරීන්ට මුහුණ දීමට සිදුවෙලා තියෙනවා.
ඔබ දක්වා දැන් අපේ රටේ විශ්වවිද්‍යාල පතිපාදන කොමිසමේ අනුමැතිය ලබාගෙන තියෙන පුද්ගලික විශ්වවිද්‍යාල තියෙනව. එතකොට අද ඒ සල්ලි තියෙන, ඒ වියදම් කරන්න පුලුවන් අයට පුලුවන්කම ලැබිලා තියෙනවා ඒබලයට, මුදලට උපාධිය ගන්න. ඒ නිසා ඇත්තටම ගත්තොත් ඔවුන්ට පුලුවන් වෙලා තියනවා අඩු වයසින් මුදල් දීලා උපාධිය අරගෙන මෙන්න මේ මාණ්ඩලික සේවය සඳහා ඇතුලත් වෙන්න. එකෙන් විශ්වවිද්‍යාල අධ්‍යාපන ලබපු අපේ දුප්පත් අම්මා තාත්තගේ දරුවන්ට ක්‍රමානුකූලව අවස්ථාව අහිමිවෙලා තියනවා. අනිත් පැත්තෙන් ගත්තොත් අපි විශ්වාස කරන විදිහට වයස්සීමාව එන්න එන්න අඩුකරපුවාම මතුවෙන්න පුලුවන් තවත් ගැටලුවක් තමයි තනතුරක් සඳහා තෝරාගන්න කොට ඒ තෝරාගන්නා මේ විභාගය සඳහා වැඩි පිරිසක් සහභාගි වුනොත් තමයි ඒ සඳහා තරඟකාරිත්වය තියෙන්නේ. එතකොට ඒ අතරෙන් තමයි හොඳම කෙනා තෝරාගන්න පුලුවන් වෙන්නේ. දැන් මේ වයස් සීමාව අඩු කරන එක ඇතුලේ ඒ විභාග සඳහා පෙනී ඉන්නේ ඉතාමත්ම සුලුතරයක්. මොකද වයසම ඒකට බාදාවක් විලා තියෙනවා.
අපි යෝජනා කරවා වයස වැඩි කිරීම යටතේ වැඩි පිරිසකට මේ විභාගය ස‍ඳහා පෙනී ඉන්න පුලුවන්. එතනින් උපරිම දක්ෂතා දක්වන කෙනාට තේරිපත්වීමේ ඉඩකඩ ලැබෙනවා. ඔබ දන්වා අපේ රටේ සාමාන්‍යයෙන් පාසලකට ළමුන් 100ක් ඇතුලු වුණාට පස්සේ ඒ ළමුන්ගෙන් 5%කටත් වඩා අඩු ප්‍රමාණයක් තමයි විශ්වවිද්‍යාලට තේරීපත්වෙන්නේ. ඇත්තටම ගත්තොත් ඒ නිදහස් අධ්‍යාපනයේ යම්තරමක් හෝ තිබෙන නිසා තමයි මෙවැනි මට්ටමකට හෝ අපේ රටේ දුප්පත් අම්මා තාත්තාගේ දරුවන් විශ්වවිද්‍යාලට යෑමට පුලුවන්කම තියෙන්නේ. නමුත් දැන් ක්‍රමාණූකූලව වෙලා තිබෙන දේ තමයි. ඒ විදිහට විශ්වවිද්‍යාලයට එන දරුවන්ට ඒ රාජ්‍ය සේවය යටත් මොකක්හරි මට්ටමකට පියවරක් තියාගැනීමට තිබෙන අවස්ථාව ක්‍රමානූකූලව අඩුවෙලා තියෙනවා. දැන් ආණ්ඩුව මේකට ගොඩනගන තර්කය තමයි රාජ්‍යය සේවයේ මාණ්ඩලික සේවයේ තනතුරු සඳහා බඳවා ගැනීමේ වයස්සීමාව අඩු කිරීමෙන් රාජ්‍ය සේවය තුළ ඔහුට වැඩිපුර කාලයක් සේවය කරන්න පුලුවන් කියලා. දැන් අවුරුදු 28කින් බඳවා ගත්තොත් අවුරුදු 32ක් රාජ්‍ය සේවයේ ඉන්න පුලුවන් කියන එක. අවුරුදු 32 සීමා වුනොත් මෙන්න මේ කාලය අඩුවෙනවා කියන එක. ඇත්තටම රාජ්‍ය සේවය වැඩි කාලයක් ඔවුන්ගේ සේවය ලබාගැනීම සඳහා වයස් සීමාව අඩු වෙනවා කියන එක. තාරුණ්‍යයේ හඬ සංවිධානය හැටියට මෙන්න මේ තර්කයට එකඟවෙන්න බැහැ මොකද පහුගිය කාලයේ අපි දැක්කා රාජ්‍ය සේවකයන්ගේ විශ්‍රාම වයස අවුරුදු 60 දක්වා වැඩිකලා සහ ඉදිරියේදී මේක අවුරුදු 65 දක්වා වැඩිවෙන්න තියන ඉඩකුත් තියෙනවා. ඒ නිසා අපි කියන්නේ එහෙම බැලුවමත් අවුරුදු 32 කියන වයස් සීමාවවත් මේ සඳහා තියා ගත්තොත් තවත් අවුරුදු 28ක් රාජ්‍ය සේවයේ සේවය කිරීමට පුලුවන්කම තියෙනවා.
ඉතිං මේ නිසා ආණ්ඩුව ගේන මේ තර්කයට අපට එකඟ වෙන්න බැහැ. ඒක අපට පිළිගන්න බැහැ. ඒ නිසා අපි ආණ්ඩුවට බල කරන්නෙ වෙන මොකක්වත් නෙමෙයි. එකක් තමයි අපේ රටේ මේ තරුණ උපාධිධාරීන්ට මාණ්ඩලික ශ්‍රේණියේ තනතුරු සඳහා ඉදිරිපත් වෙන්න, ඒ විභාග සඳහා පෙනීසිටින්න බාධා වී තිබෙන මේ වයස් සීමාව අවම වශයෙන් අවුරුදු 32 දක්වා වැඩි කරන්න කියන එක. අනෙත් එක තමයි මේ ක්ෂේත්‍ර 14 තුළ නිරන්තරයෙන් කරන වෙනස්කම් නවත්වන්න කියන එක. මොකද අපි කවුරුත් දන්නවා දරුවෙක්ට, විශ්ව විද්‍යාල ශිෂ්‍යයෙක්ට ජීවිතයේ කිසියම් මාර්ගයක් තිබෙනවා. කිසියම් අභිලාෂයක් තිබෙනවා. සාමාන්‍ය පෙළ පාස් වුණාට පස්සෙ, උසස් පෙළට ආවට පස්සෙ, විශ්ව විද්‍යාලයට ගියාට පස්සේ ඔහු තමන්ගේ ජීවිතේ ප්ලෑන් කරනවා. එතනින් එහාට තිබෙන විභාගය මොකක්ද, ඒක පරිපාලන සේවයේ නම්, එතකොට ඔහු ඒකෙදි බලාපොරොත්තු වෙනවා තමන්ගෙ වයසත් එක්ක මේක සංසන්ඳනය කරන්න. අපි අවුරුදු 5න් පාසල් අධ්‍යාපනයට ඇතුළත් වෙනවා. ඊට පස්සේ ඊට පස්සෙ උසස් පෙළ කරලා විශ්ව විද්‍යාලයෙන් උපාධිය අරගෙන එනකොට අවුරුදු 24 – 25ක් වෙනවා. ඊට පස්සේ අවුරුදු 28 – 30 ‍වෙනකොට නිශ්චිත කාලයකදි පරිපාන සේවයට ඇතුළත් වෙන්න පුළුවන් කියලා මෙන්න මේ විදියට උපාධිධාරියෙකුට තමන්ගේ ජීවිතේ නිශ්චිත ක්‍රමවේදයකට සැලසුම් කරගන්න තියෙන හැකියාව ආණ්ඩුව නිතර නිතර සිදු කරන මේ වෙනස්කම් නිසා නොහැකි වෙලා තිබෙනවා. අවිනිශ්චිත වෙලා තිබෙනවා. ඒ නිසා නිරන්තරයෙන් කරන මේ වෙනස්කම් නතර කරලා නිශ්චිත ක්‍රමවේදයකට අනුව මේක පවත්වන්න කියලා අපි යෝජනා කරනවා. ඒ විතරක් නෙවෙයි එමඟින් අපේ රටේ උපාධිධාරීන්ට මෙම මාණ්ඩලික තනතුරු සඳහා ඇතුළත් වීමට අවස්ථාව පුළුල් කරන්න කියන එකත් රාජ්‍ය අංශය තුළ උපාධිධාරීන්ට ඉහළට යාමට තිබෙන මේ ඉතාමත් සීමිත ඉඩකඩ හෝ කප්පාදු නොකර ඒ සඳහා අවස්ථාව සුරකින ලෙසත් අපි ආණ්ඩුවට මෙම මාධ්‍යය සාකච්ඡාව තුළින් බලකර සිටිනවා.
ඉන් අනතුරුව සිය අදහස් දක්වමින් තාරුණ්‍යයේ හඬ සංවිධානයේ ජාතික සූදානම් කිරීමේ කමිටුවේ සාමාජික නීතීඥ තුෂාර රණතුංග සහෝදරයා දැක්වූයේ මෙවන් අදහසකි.
‘‘මේ වන විට සම්පූර්ණ නීති ක්ෂේත්‍රයම දරුණු අර්බුධයකට ගිහින් තිබෙන මොහොතක නීති අධ්‍යාපනයත් එවැනිම අර්බුධයකට ගිහින් තිබෙනවා. නමුත් මේ ගැන කිසිවෙකුත් හඬ නැගීමක් සිදුකරන්නේ නැහැ. මොකද ඉහළින් වෙන බලපෑම්වලට ඔවුන් යටත් වෙලා. නීති ප්‍රවේශය තුළ තිබෙන ප්‍රධානතම ගැටළුව තමයි මෙතෙක් නීති ප්‍රෙව්ශ විභාගය පැවැත්වූයේ සිංහල, දෙමළ, ඉංග්‍රීසි යන භාෂා ත්‍රිත්වයෙන්ම. ඒ නිසා මෙතෙක් ඕනෑම කෙනෙක්ට ඒ ඕනෑම භාෂාවකින් විභාගයට පෙනී සිටීමේ අයිතිය තිබුණා. නමුත් දැන් නීති අධ්‍යාපන සභාව අත්තනෝමතිකව කටයුතු කරමින් එය ඉංග්‍රීසි මාධ්‍යයට පමණක් සීමා කරලා තිබෙනවා. ඒ නිසා ඉංග්‍රීසි භාෂාවෙන් අධ්‍යාපනය නොලත් ශිෂ්‍යයන්ට නීති ප්‍රවේශ විභාගය සඳහා පෙනී සිටීමේ හා නීති විද්‍යාලයට ඇතුළත් වීමේ ඉඩකඩ විශාල ලෙස ඇහිරී තිබෙනවා. මොකද නීති ප්‍රෙව්ශ විභාගය ලංකාවේ තිබෙන තරඟකාරීම විභාගයක්. එහි ප්‍රවේශය සඳහා එක ලකුණත් වැදගත්. 20000ක් පමණ දෙනා ලියන විභාගයෙන් වසරකට නීති ප්‍රවේශය සඳහා සුදුසුකම් ලබන්නේ 200 – 225ක් වැනි පිරිසක්. ඒ නිසා මේ තත්වය තුළ ඉංග්‍රීසි මාධ්‍යයෙන් අධ්‍යාපනය ලැබූ අයට විශේෂයෙන් ඉතා පහසුවෙන් අවස්ථාව ලැබෙනවා නීති විද්‍යාලයට ප්‍රවේශ වන්න. විශේෂයෙන්ම ග්‍රාමීය මට්ටමින් අධ්‍යාපනය ලබන අයට මෙහිදී විශාල අසාධාරණයක් සිදු වෙනවා. ඒ නිසා අපි බල කර සිටිනවා මේ රටේ තරුණයින්ගේ භාෂා අයිතිය උල්ලංඝනය නොකර මේ විභාගය සිංහල, දෙමළ හා ඉංග්‍රීසි යන මාධ්‍ය තුනෙන්ම පවත්වන්න කියලා. අනෙත් කාරණය තමයි නීති විද්‍යාලයට ඇතුළත් වීමේ වයස් සීමාව අවුරුදු 30 දක්වා කප්පාදු කර තිබීම. නමුත් මේ කප්පාදු කිරීම සඳහා සාධාරණ හේතුවක්ද නැහැ. මොකද නීතීඥවරයෙක්ට සිය දක්ෂතාවය මත සිය ජීවිත කාලය පුරාම වුවද සිය වෘත්තියේ යෙදීමට බාධාවක් නැහැ. ඒ නිසා මේ වයස් සීමාව අනවශ්‍ය බාධාවක් ලෙසයි අපි දකින්නේ.
මේ අතර මෙම මාධ්‍ය හමුව සඳහා තාරුණ්‍යයේ හඬ සංවිධානයේ ජාතික සූදානම් කිරීමේ කමිටුවේ සම කැඳවුම්කරු ගයාන් ජානක සහෝදරයා, තාරුණ්‍යයේ හඬ සංවිධානයේ ජාතික සූදානම් කිරීමේ කමිටුවේ සාමාජික නීතීඥ තුෂාර රණතුංග සහෝදරයා මෙන්ම එම සංවිධානයේ සාමාජික අසිත නිරෝෂණ සහෝදරයාද සහභාගී වූහ

Celebrating victory of soldiers who defeated fascist terrorism

June 9th, 2014

H. L. D. Mahindapala

 Just last week — on June 6, 2014, to be precise —  I was glued to CNN channel watching its day-long coverage  of the 70th anniversary of D-Day held on the Sword Beach of Normandy. What prompted me to follow this event closely was my curiosity to find out whether  the Western leaders were guilty of triumphalism” in commemorating their victory that began with the landing of massive forces on Normandy Beach on the dawn of June 6, 1944. It was the decisive day which marked the beginning of the end of World War II.

 That happened 70 years ago. Gen. Eisenhower declared that every soldier who set foot on Omaha Beach in Normandy was a hero. His forces never looked back, stopping at nothing that stood in their way, until they reached Berlin. The 70th anniversary held in Normandy last week was a celebration of the courage of the war veterans whose heroism saved Europe  from the inhuman horrors of Nazism. It was a fitting tribute to their sacrifice, their heroism and their indomitable spirit that fought against all odds to save Europe and the world from the horrors of fascist terror.

 Nineteen heads of states, from Barack Obama to Vladimir Putin and the Queen to the new President-elect of Ukraine, chocolate billionaire, Petro Poroshenko, presented a united front  of triumphalism in paying homage to the victory of Allied forces that reduced Germany to rubble and wiped out the Nazis from the face of  this earth. The commemoration had all the trappings of a victory celebration. The 21 gun salute, a fly past, military taps, flags and parades gave it a military coloration that reflected the martial spirit of the 1000-odd veterans assembled, perhaps, for the last time in Normandy. It was a grand show of the power and the glory of the Western victors.

 The triumphalist spirit of the day celebrated the victory of democracy over fascist tyranny. President Obama hailed Normandy as the beachhead for democracy”. French President, Francois Hollande, paid a tribute to America for liberating Europe. In the foreground facing the nineteen leaders was the tragic Omaha Beach where 9,387 American youth were mowed down by German soldiers on the first day of landing. President Hollande recalled their courage and honoured them as heroes. Yes, they were heroes.” he repeated. The leaders agreed unanimously that it was the sacrifice of  the soldiers that gave them the legacy  of peace, democracy and freedoms they enjoyed today.

 No  one shed a tear for the Germans. No human rights pundits piped in to say that hundreds of thousands of German civilians were killed by the Allied  forces. No NGO moralist wrote that the triumphalism of the 18 leaders of the West hurt the sensitivities of the defeated Germans. Neither the German version of events nor any German who fought for Hitler was a given a place in the celebrations. There were no Nazi flag or images. Every event of the 70th commemoration was to glorify the heroism and the victory scored by the Allies on the beaches of Normandy.

 The assembled leaders declared their gratitude and their debt to the veterans who sacrificed their lives and limbs for the cause of peace and freedom. Some were in wheel-chairs. President Obama asked them to stand, if they can, and receive the applause of the people. It was the longest applause of the day. He also went round shaking hands with the war veterans. In fact, he arrived for  the celebrations  accompanied by a war veteran whom he accompanied protectively all the way on the red carpet.

 CNN reporter covering the ceremonies said, pointing to the monumental memorials in Germany, that they are all dedicated to the fighting spirit of the Allied forces and  not for the defeated Germans. He pointed to one monument that stood for the Soviet soldiers. The German youth who fought for Hitler had been wiped  out of the official memory of the nation. The commemorating ceremony itself was held against  the background of the memorial erected for the American youth who sacrificed their lives n the beach to liberate Europe. The memorial on Omaha Beach – the mass graveyard of GIs who never came home —  says: The spirit of the American youth rising from the waves.” There were rows and rows of white crosses and all were for the Allied soldiers. There were none for the Germans.

 The most striking feature in last week’s commemoration was that Germany’s Angela Merkel, who represented Germany, never uttered one word against the Allied forces that (a) fire-bombed and flattened Dresden, (b) killed hundreds of thousands of German civilians, (c) subjected Germany to humiliating conditions, (d) imposed terms  and conditions of surrender forcibly down the throats of the Germans, including  stripping its armed forces, (e) enforced rapacious reparations, (f) put on trial Nazi leaders and sentenced the leaders to death, (g) hunted and brought to justice those who escaped, and, (h) last but not the least, launched a de-Nazification program with a ruthless thoroughness until the Nazi power to raise its head in any form was eradicated forever. Except for the fringe freaks in neo-Nazis haircuts there is hardly a trace of Nazism left in Europe today.

 The humiliating outline sketched above was the reality faced by the defeated Krauts in post-war Germany. The triumphalism of the Allies has not stopped even seventy years after the collapse of the Nazi regime. While Western conquerors celebrated their  victory in grand style President Mahinda Rajapakse couldn’t even eat a piece of kiri buth or kiss the Sri Lankan earth when our  soldiers ended the needless Vadukoddai War that raged for 33 years. His endeavors to offer thanks to the nation and the soldiers that stood by him were criticized by the moral morons in the NGOs as triumphalism”.  For instance, Izzeth Hussain, who claims to be one of the five great diplomats of the world” (he has yet to mention the names of the other  four!), complained that the President should  not have kissed the tarmac at the airport when he got off the  plane, delighted with the news of the defeat of the Tamil fascists, but should have gone to Bambalawatte beach and bathed in sand like the Caliph who conquered Constantinople. The idiocy of these critics was exposed once again last week on the Normandy Beach.

 The heroic Sri Lankan soldiers ended the 33-year-old war with three great achievements to their credit: 1. liberated the Tamil children from the heartless Boko Haram of Jaffna – a feat which even highly paid bureaucrats  in the UN like Radhika Coomaraswamy, acting as the Mother Teresa of all children, failed to achieve; 2.  restored peace to war-torn Jaffna after 33 years – an achievement that all the foreign-funded punditry of NGOs failed to achieve with their pro-Prabhakaran publications, lobbying and seminars etc., and 3. opened up democratic space for the Tamils of the Northern Province en bloc to elect their representatives for the first time in the history of the northern territory.

 As revealed in recent history, these are remarkable achievements which billions of dollars poured into the Middle-East by the biggest powers on earth failed to achieve. The declared objectives of the humongous  offensives launched by the West on a global scale (examples: Iraq, Afghanistan) have been to liberate nations under dictators and democratize societies for the greater good of peace, stability and reinforcing democratic institutions.  But when Sri Lankan forces liberated the north and delivered Tamil children back to the desperate Tamil parents the entire Tamil Diaspora, which financed and cheered the abduction of Tamil children, worked tirelessly to put the soldiers on trial.

 When President Mahinda Rajapakse restores democratic institutions, free from the threats of Tamil Tiger terrorism, Navi Pillay, another Tamil in the larger Tamil diaspora, puts her sticky beak in to hold inquiries into the conduct of soldiers. Western leaders who suffer from selective amnesia about their nations’ role in the last five months of World War II commemorated the 70th anniversary of their military triumph to honour, rightfully, of course, the war veterans who made victory possible – a victory won over the millions of dead civilian left behind in the wake of the advancing Allied soldiers. But when President Rajapakse pays tribute to the heroic village lads and lasses who saved the Tamils and restored peace and democracy he is branded as a triumphalist” who has no right to celebrate victory in any form.

 The elimination  of Prabhakaran – the most evil force in Tamil history after Sankili — from the political equation is a historic achievement which led to the re-unification of the nation under one democratic umbrella. It was a victory for the Tamils who were freed to exercise their political rights without seeking  permission from the Tamil Pol Pot of the Vanni. Mahinda Rajapakse won for Sampanthan, Sumanthiram and Wigneswaran their birth right  not to go on their bended knees to get nominations from Prabhakaran. They are liberated human beings today who can walk the earth with a dignity that was denied to them by their Suriya Devan”. However, it must be stated that though the extremist Tamil lobby and their agents in NGOs deny the right of the heroic soldiers to celebrate their victory they are privately happy that the Sinhala Government”, which they love to hate, has restored to them the dignity and the freedom which they never had under their Tamil Suriya Devan”.

 After the sudden and unexpected fall of the one-man regime in Vanni the Tamils were spinning in a political vacuum. Their bitterness turned into vindictive politics. Their only relief came from refusing to believe that Prabhakaran was dead and in reviving the failed politics of Prabhkaranism. And of course, doing their damnedest to spoil the honours due to the soldiers who liberated the Tamils.

 As seen in the D-Day celebration it is the most natural thing in  the world to celebrate victory. It  is the natural instinct of human beings in any society to celebrate victories, particularly if it is a victory scored in a  battle between good and evil, between democracy and fascist terrorism, between war and peace. But this legitimate and justifiable celebration of a historic victory was denied to the Sri Lankans ONLY by the West and the Tamil separatists.

 The Sinhala people, who sacrificed the most in restoring peace and democracy, were told that they should have covered  themselves in ash and gone into mourning in perpetuity. However, the NGOs who prescribed wailing as the appropriate mode for post-war conduct, a la the hired Negombo women at funerals, never failed to celebrate their rich life style sustained by sucking Bloody Marys” oozing from the victims of the war. Their income from foreign donors increased in proportion to the number of Sri Lankans killed by Prabhakaran. They also offered each other awards for peace which never came out of their theories, formulas, dissertations or some useless seminars.

 Sri Lankan Security Forces put an end to the war and the fake theories of the NGOs on May 18, 2009. They liberated the Tamils who were used as the human shield to protect the most brutal leader in Tamil history. They paved the way for the creation of democratic institutions which has given the Tamils of the entire northern territory a representative body elected by the Tamils for  the first time in their  entire history. Earlier  they had elected local members for small-scale Tamil village councils, Tamil town councils, and Tamil municipal councils. But they never had the entire northern territory under the control of their elected representatives until the Sinhala soldiers opened new paths of peace for the Tamils to elect the TNA representatives by defeating Tamil fascism.

 It  is the pride of liberating the Tamils of the north and restoring democratic institutions in the north that give the Security Forces their right to celebrate the defeat of the most evil figure in Tamil history. The NGO moralists who argue against celebrating victory of democracy over Tamil fascism should take another look at the 70th anniversary commemoration  that celebrated the triumph of democracy over fascism in Normandy. The Western leaders who  were in Normandy last D-Day  are, after all, the paymasters of these NGO leeches who lived off the blood of the helpless victims of the Vadukoddai War they justified all the way to Nandikadal.

 If celebration of victory over their enemies is good enough for the paymasters of NGOs why is it bad for the people of Sri Lanka and their leaders? In my mind every soldier, who fought to liberate the Tamils and saved nearly 300,000 Tamils used as a human wall to protect Prabhakaran, is a hero. Their contribution to the restoration of normalcy in the north deserves respect and glory. Tamil vindictive politics, of course, cries for the blood of these soldiers. In contrast, the grateful Germans erected public monuments to thank the Allied  forces that liberated them from Hitler’s tyranny. But in Jaffna the sado-masochistic Tamils are rushing to erect monuments for Prabhakaran who killed more Tamils than all the other forces put together.

 They say that people get the government they deserve. And the Tamils got Prabhakaran – the first Tamil Boko Haram that came out of Vadukoddai militarism. The post-war conduct of the Jaffnaites indicate that they deserve not  only Velupillai Prabhakaran  but many other genetically engineered Prabhakarans to keep them in their place. The Vellahla rulers that  preceded Prabhakaran kept the Jaffnaite under sub-human upper caste fascism. Prabhakaran  kept them under his jackboot through barbaric low-caste fascism.

 Cloning more Prabhakarans seems to be the only way of solving the problems of the diseased Jaffna Tamil politics. Prabhakarans have the power to do what others can’t do: to kill more Tamils than  anybody else and be deified as the Tamil saviour. What  is more, the Tamils in the Diaspora will rush to take back to their homes in Canada, Australia, America, UK etc., photos of them standing next to the deified mass murderer of Tamils. They will place these photos in their mantel piece, to boast to their children, or their friends, that they stood shoulder to shoulder with first Boko Haram of Jaffna who, mercifully,  had no chance of grabbing the Tamil children in the Diaspora.

 They will lobby internationally to justify and praise their cloned Prabhakaran as their savior who can kill more Tamils than anyone else with impunity. Which, in their political blindness, seems to be the Final Solution they yearn for right now. That is understandable considering their desperate state of mind. The question that arise from this latest Tamil aspiration is simple: how many more Prabhakarans do the Tamils need to get wiped out from Jaffna and solve not only their problems but also that of all the other communities? 

Sri Lanka: A Change in Strategic Focus when Asia becomes the Power Centre?

June 9th, 2014

Dr D.Chandraratna, Perth   

Sri Lanka must be conscious of the possible threats to its territorial integrity and sovereignty at all times. Our entry into the post conflict age, with lessons learnt, requires a reorientation of our maritime strategy given the limitations of our own defence capabilities. Sri Lanka’s geographical position in the Indian Ocean must be the key factor in defence planning for the future. We live in a multi polar world where major and middle powers are contesting the hegemony of US as a super power. Smaller nations are bound to face demanding contingencies for which they must be prepared well in advance. Sri Lanka will be tested for its mellowness and uncertainty by the likes of Tamil Nadu. With the advent of the BJP to power in India forging a change in the political and cultural orientation our first strategy must be to redesign our relations within the region in South East Asia. Our South East Asian connection must also include Australia in the light of its new defence strategy.

Australia is now planning a more active role in the Asia pacific with special attention to South East Asia. This emphatic change in the defence focus of Australia cannot be ignored. The recent white paper here suggests that ‘the security of South East Asia is of enduring strategic interest because of its proximity to Australia’s northern approaches and crucial shipping lanes. Accordingly defence expenditure has been jacked up to 2% of the GDP. With the growing assertiveness of China Australia is positioning itself to make substantial military contributions for this purpose by investing heavily in military hardware. Sri Lanka must also hedge its bets in more ways than one because current strategic trends suggest growth of new centres of power, major and middle level. If threats to Sri Lanka come from internal or external enemies our alliances with minor and major powers may act as a counterforce. In low intensity conventional conflicts that Sri Lanka may face in the future our vulnerability in the North East has to be factored in. Obviously as we cannot acquire or maintain expensive air or naval capabilities an alignment with a regional power becomes essential. It is no secret that in the terrorist conflict Sri Lanka was assisted by both regional and super powers in different stages. In the unlikely possibility of major powers acting unilaterally smaller nations like Sri Lanka’s strategic reliance on one centre of regional power may be misguided. Also it is in our self-interest never to display fawning support for the adventurism of any of the regional powers. Smart diplomacy is of the essence. We cannot afford to be embroiled in regional conflicts, i.e. Vietnam with China. Siding with either party can yield unhappy results however much damage control is done a posteriori. Strategic alliances need not necessarily be strategic automatons.  

 The enigma of Narendra Modi teaches many a lesson to Sri Lanka. In times of need the sugar coated platitudes about shared cultural and religious traditions may count to nothing. It’s the same kind of lazy, unintelligent sentimentality that Sri Lanka generally suffers from which has landed us in trouble in the past. Jayawardena foolishly backing US for no earthly reason made Indira Gandhi put Sri Lanka through the wringer for three decades. It was only the straight talk and an upright backbone of Rajapaksa that rescued us from that blood sport of Prabhakaran. Sri Lanka- India relationship has to be seen in the same manner as Lord Palmerston saw foreign policy in the 19 th century when he said that there are no eternal allies or perpetual enemies. It is interests that are eternal. Any alliance is valued only of it assists us against a threat of coercion, aggression and subversion. We must align ourselves with countries, which have a commitment to rules based system for the conduct of international relations. Our maritime cooperation with Australia paid heavy dividends at the UNHRC recently. On our part it has to be understood that there is no alliance that is going to stand in good stead unless Sri Lanka responsibly contributes to its own security by an investment in ethical governance, strong democratic institutions and a commitment to the rule of law. We must never leave room for the strategic partner to be diffident to defend us in an international forum for our lack of transparency. A strategic alliance with a regional power will accrue a number of benefits. The use of military force against us will be sanctioned or constrained by the allied power as in the case of Syria recently. Inter-country disputes will be necessarily taken to properly constituted international mechanisms not like the contrived tribunals like the Darusman panel or Pillay driven Commissions of Inquiry. The Security Council will be the arbiter of international disputes. A strategic partner offers us the room for consultation and negotiation in situations like the food drop by India in 1987 when no country spoke in our favour against the encroachment to our air space by a foreign power.

 Lanka’s foreign policy focus must be understood in the light of a US pivot to Asia to contain China. The US is keen to reinvigorate its waning hegemony by repositioning its military power in the Indian and South China seas. The current US involvement regarding the uninhabited islands in the Sea of Japan and other such maritime skirmishes with Philippines and Vietnam is only a clumsy excuse to move its naval and military power to South Asia. The most important development in the 21 st century in international matters is the unmistakable growth of the maritime power of China. It is also no secret that by dominating the seas that bear its name it is maximizing its territorial and resource claims. China is keen on challenging the status quo of the previous world order. It is also a matter of argument why China is involved in serious maritime disputes with a dozen or so Asian states which perversely has provided the opportunity for US to reinvigorate an alliance network in South East Asia. An explanation is that China is reordering the hierarchical positions in the neighbourhood even though the regional disputes are counterproductive in the short term. A foreign policy correspondent Alan Dupont called this the Monroe doctrine with Chinese characteristics. Dupont says that from a Chinese perspective this makes seemingly clear that just as much a rising US constructed a Doctrine in the nineteenth century to keep all other powers off the Pacific why should an ascendant China not seek a comparable outcome in the Western Pacific.

 Sri Lanka’s dalliance with China has to be understood in this global super power contest. In this day and age with trade interdependence being crucial to the survival of all contesting parties it will virtually be unlikely to see high intensity conflicts between major powers. It is likely that the incoming world order will be a Pax Sinica in the Greater Asia rather than a Pax Americana. Although there are many who chafe at Sri Lanka’s over reliance on China, given the possibility of Indian angst, hedging its bets in many ways ways seems strategic. Modi may be more appealing than Singh and Gujarat may be littered with Buddhist ruins, or Hindutva ideology may be sympathetic to a Buddhist ethic, but we should be shaping up to a strategic contest between regional powers to win our trust. This is new thinking in foreign policy given the altered foreign policy environment in the new world order, which is still evolving. All depends on how Sri Lanka plays the defence stakes leveraging effective diplomacy with a confidence building multilateralism. 

Persons who supped and shook hands with Prabakaran have no right to talk on removing military governors in Sri Lanka

June 9th, 2014

Shenali D Waduge

Close to 27,000 men sacrificed their lives while scores of soldiers have become injured to deliver peace to Sri Lanka. We call them our ranaviruwos. Handful of others wined, dined and shook hands with the enemy gleefully signing a bogus ceasefire agreement infront of an eelam flag. We should call them traitors.This political party leader is known for his infamous handshake agreeing to represent the Ranil Wickremasinghe government despite the explicit knowledge that the LTTE evicted the entire Muslim community from the North, successively attacked Muslim villages and massacred villagers including over 100 praying at the Kattankudy mosque. This single gesture showed his lack of care and empathy for his own people. Calling such people opportunists and traitors is not suffiicent enough. Nevertheless the irony of political correctness is such that people of no integrity are kept enjoying ministerial portfolios at the expense of the tax payer on the logic that they are easy to manipulate, yet the demerits are obviously piling against any merit. We now have this same person calling for the removal of military governors and brings the question to the political leadership of how much more are we to tolerate?

http://colombogazette.com/2014/06/08/hakeem-slams-ex-military-governors/ ( 8 June 2014)

Hakeem slams ex-military Governors in an event in Yatinuwara/Kandy in 2014 while in 2002 he shook hands with Prabakaran infront of the eelam flag.

probasupportsaprobasupports2aPoliticians in government or opposition kangarooing from one side to the other purely on the basis of remaining in power to enjoy perks and privileges need to realize that their track record is such that they have no moral ground to be ‘slamming appointments’ of others when their own is being publicly questioned by people burdened economically because of their maintenance bills.

If such politicians ‘fail to understand why retired military officers have been appointed as Governors to the North and East’, such people must empathize with the public who also FAIL TO UNDERSTAND why the person who shook hands with Prabakaran a direct affront to our ranawiruvo’s should be given a cabinet rank Ministerial portfolio and one as important as Justice, while not giving him clear instructions on what grounds he can keep his position!

Going on to say that ‘what I feel is happening is that while on the one hand we allow the minorities to enjoy their powers in the provinces on the other hand we are taking that away”.

It is no better a time to remind him of the irregularities taking place not just now but in the past as well. We are reminded how the former leader Ashroff flooded the ports authority with his supporters taking payroll from the port while living in the East. Not much has changed with the present leader doing the same with the Justice Ministry while also influencing student intakes to the law college and calls for investigations kept swept under the carpet.

If the minorities are enjoying their powers we need to wonder what the majority is actually enjoying and have been enjoying since independence.

It is no better a time than now for the majority to realize that the Buddhist civilization and heritage of the country is being subtly diluted and the majority remains a namesake majority only and this situation will reach shocking proportions if the Buddhists do not seek redress and demand their own rights as well. Politicians have shown by their actions that they do not represent the majority.

We have seen how under the multicultural banner it has become political correct for the majority to ‘share’ their heritage sites, pooja bhoomi, historical sacred sites etc every time the minorities demand using the argument of ‘peaceful co-existence’ but whole villages and towns taken over by minorities for that minority only denies right of purchase for a member of the majority and not a single politician comes forward to protest. Such is the state in some villages in Sri Lanka. Madawala in Kandy district is one such example.

We have seen how food, banking systems and dress has been totally influenced by the rights of one minority, an element that did not prevail before questioning the simple logic of how these minorities ate, banked or dressed decades previously when these new ‘cultural’ laws were not known or practiced. The other minority repeatedly gets away by calling for separatism and chanting separatist slogans when constitutional provisions are in place to take action against them.

The crux of the argument is the manner in which handfuls of people who had been throughout the conflict working for the enemy are now coming to preach on the right things Sri Lanka must do. We have people who have been on the dole of foreign governments using every argument they can muster with their academic background to argue why Sri Lanka should give 13tha in full and the Government pays for their expert opinion too! We have others similarly holding high ranking profile who went round the world preaching the wonderful merits of the ceasefire agreement and now because the color of the hat has changed praises the soldiers. Not out of conviction but simply because they might lose their position if they do not. There are others too who think that generousness in giving a portfolio entails their right to introduce their ideologies which the public have repeatedly rejected via elections. There are others too who enjoy dictating what the Government should and should not do but feared to open their mouths when LTTE prevailed. The public are exposed to only their voices because the media has an agenda of itself. As another example we can recall how many of our politicians stood up to defend the nation when David Cameron arrived and humiliated our country and only the President and Defense Secretary were left to defend the nation.

What needs to be said is that our soldiers braved their lives to give us a hard won victory. The army commander made a serious fault in falling prey to calculation errors thinking that minority votes could give him power, other parties continue to falter at elections purely because of this miscalculation.

People may enjoy portfolios because they have no integrity to debase but people know who really loves the nation and who would not compromise the integrity of the nation.

Our lessons cover far more than terrorism alone. The realpolitics of terrorism is hidden behind a greater agenda, one that involves power and profit shared amongst a handful. Politicians are simply pawns used to facilitate the bigger agendas. It is for the alert public to ensure that politicians are made to realize that dazed by power and profit they cannot take away or dilute the historical and cultural ethos of the country.

Let us remind everyone that the present ranaviruwo’s and the ancient heroes who came forward to save our nation from the colonial invaders came from the same blood. It is they who came forward to defend the nations. Those who not only did not come to defend the nation but sided with the enemy have no rights whatsoever to tell how the country should be run or have rights to put forward any template for how the country should be run for their past records have shown that their actions are dependent only on the money and remunerations that are given to them. This is applicable to most of the politicians in our midst and advisors who have been themselves jumping from one side to the other for profit. Only those who have a proven track record of working towards safeguarding the nation and its people can come forward to make their views public.

Navi Pillai’s Controversial Picks: Sandra Beidas – South Sudan’s expelled UN officer & Dame Silvia Cartwright to lead investigation on Sri Lanka

June 8th, 2014

Shenali D Waduge

When the country given independence in July 2011 by the West declares a UN Human Rights Officer, a persona non grata and expels her from the newly independent country in 2012, it is unusual news. Her crime, South Sudan declared was ‘unethical reporting’ as she had doctored records. Somalia too had banned 2 officers working for the UN Human Rights Commissioner – Sandra Beidas was one. Juxtapose that with Navi Pillai’s decision to appoint the same person and we have a foregone conclusion on where the investigation on Sri Lanka is likely to lead. To add to credibility is the appointment of Dame Silvia Cartwright who was a judge on the Khmer Rouge Tribunal  to head the investigation against Sri Lanka. Defense lawyers sought her removal as she had been having secret meetings with the prosecutors. It would be nicer if the UN giving itself mandates to conduct investigations upon targeted countries were to appoint people with clean records and people that the country and its leaders can respect. It is unfair and unjust for the UN to appoint officers with tainted past trysts and publicly condoned backgrounds for roles that require high standards of professionalism.

Expulsion history of Sandra Beidas

Expelled from Somalia: Sandra Beidas working for Navi Pillai’s office was banned by Somalia in 2011.

The ministry… has the honour to convey the decision of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia to declare Mr Scott Cambell and Miss Sandra Beidas …persona non grata,” the statement said. The Somali Government statement went further Our country needs to have the ability to protect human rights but the barriers we are facing… include the High Commissioner for Human Rights who failed to assist us to improve rights agencies and law enforcement institutions in the country,” Sahra Mohamed Ali Samatar, minister in the prime minister’s office.

This was how Somalia expelled Sandra Beidas chosen by Navi Pillai   

Expelled from South Sudan: The expulsion of Sandra Beidas in 2012 following her expulsion from Somalia was really no surprise. The accusation was no different to what Somalia accused her of too. Two records of misappropriation in UN roles does not really give Sandra Beidas the right to project herself as the know-it all of Navi Pillay.

Sandra Beidas roles within the UN system

Prior to joining the UN, Beidas was working for Amnesty International which adds to her controversial past records.

  • January 2006 – Head of Protection and Reporting Section – Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR-Nepal)  
  • UN Mission in Haiti – 120 team comprised representatives of 20 countries following ouster of President Aristide in 1991 and setting up of the UN mission after US intervention. Beidas handled peacebuilding efforts in Haiti.
  • UN Human Rights office in Somalia – Susan headed the UN Human Rights political office in Somalia
  • UN Human Rights office in South Sudan

 Beidas in Nepal:

In Nepal, her role was to promote a Truth & Reconciliation Commission – a TRC in her words was an independent, impartial and competent body, free of government interference”.  The creation of TRC is a very important initiative that can assist a nation in building a culture of peace and reconciliation based on truth, justice and reparation. It should provide an opportunity for the people of Nepal to address the past so as to identify the root causes of the armed conflict, and also an opportunity for meaningful justice for the thousands of victims of the violence, and their families by bringing to account the perpetrators of serious human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law.”

There are Governmental advisors whose strategy is nothing but ‘appeasing’ to the other side who are pushing the Government to commit to a TRC for Sri Lanka, what the Government should know is that none of the TRC’s held thus far at colossal financial burden provided any Truth or any Reconciliation.

The fact that Beidas herself reiterates that the TRC could ‘also investigate other issues such as social, economic and cultural injustices, discrimination, internal displacement, destruction of property, for example the demolition of religious sites or schools. ” will show that she will use her position to not only push the Government to foolishly accept a TRC but ensure that all the non-last phase related allegations against Sri Lanka are also plugged into the TRC.

What Sri Lanka should do is to conduct an investigation that covers the entire spectrum of the conflict while also including how the armed conflict started, who were the players involved, who financed/supported and trained armed militancy – people need to know how LTTE terrorism emerged and who were involved (foreign & local)

The TRC in reality takes the form of the Christian Inquisition and the concept of Born Again, accepting one’s sins and being forgiven.

Beidas herself says of the Nepal TRC The law says if the victims reconcile with the perpetrators then there is no prosecution even if s/he has committed rape and torture, and murder”.  The TRC is a carrot to draw perpetrators to come forward even if they have violated human rights, committed genocide or any other form of serious crime and tell what they have committed and be granted amnesty. As for the victims if they are willing to ‘reconcile’ with their enemy they are given compensation. In other words the victims will get compensation ONLY IF they accept the apology and forgive the perpetrator. Otherwise the victims don’t get anything! What the TRC in actual fact is AMNESTY for the perpetrators!

In South Africa, none of the whites came forward to accept their crimes and only a handful of Africans came forward making a mockery of the South African TRC.

On what grounds of moral superiority can Navi Pillai stand up to defend the investigators to Sri Lanka who has been expelled twice from 2 countries for writing false reports while Dame Cartwright has faced calls for her to be removed for bias as well?

Sri Lanka should make objections on the appointments at least for the record for it becomes futile to keep silent when glaring misappropriations are taking place and then complaining afterwards. It becomes no different to endorsing Navi Pillai’s second term (following the advice of the appeasers in the Government advisory team) when that compromise left Sri Lanka in worst fate. The Governments of South Sudan and Somalia can be approached to give an account of exactly why Sandra Beidas was given 24 hours to leave their countries and why Cambodia made calls to remove Dame Cartwright.  

Moreover what needs to be said is that the mandate for the investigations is between 2002 and 2009. Nothing outside this period can be investigated and it is good for Government politicians and public officials to be aware of this as well even if Sri Lanka does not support or cooperate in the investigation.

This comment taken from www.penhpal.com aptly puts into perspective what everyone’s opinions about International investigations and Tribunals are all about

However, the real scandal may be the fact that most of these lawyers and judges, like Dame Silvia, have personally benefited to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries and innumerable perks – such as being paid tax-free – and lived like royalty in a country that is one of the poorest in the region”.

UN must realize that commentaries against their appointees come with good reason and by disregarding valid issues and conflicts of interests, UN is showing the world that it cares too hoots about what the people of sovereign nations think. Now, that is not the way to go about peacebuilding and all the other fancy terminologies UN officials love to preach to the world about through their workshops and reports. Therefore, the UN General Assembly members in particular must not sit silent and begin to make their objections known to the UN systems before the system ends up taking over the governing rights of sovereign nations because of their silence.

Calls to dismiss Cartwright from Tribunal – http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/asia/6846841/Calls-to-dismiss-Cartwright-from-Tribunal

 

Goodbye Mahbubul Alam Dangoria

June 8th, 2014

By Nava Thakuria

It was a December evening of 2001, when I first met Mahbubul Alam, veteran journalist of Bangladesh, in the office The Independent, a prominent English daily newspaper published from Dhaka. In fact, he was the first Bangladeshi editor, whom I knew and occasionally talked to him from my home city (Guwahati of northeast India). At that time, the internet communication facility was not mush popular in Assam and Guwahati with a population of 15,00,000 had hardly five internet cafes. The rate was much higher like 60 rupees per hour.
I browsed the e-mail contacts of  The Independent and sent a mail addressing the editor with an interest to write for him from Assam.

mahabul

Moreover I wanted any contact number of Dr Muhammad Yunus, the pioneer of micro-finance and Grameen Bank of Bangladesh. At that time, Prof Yunus was not much popular in our region. Of course, he was well known in Bengal.
I generated the idea (and interest) to meet Prof Yunus following a long article in Desh, a Bengali magazine published by the Kolkata based Ananda Bazar Patrika group. It was a cover page story with the projection of Prof Yunus getting the Nobel award for Economics in the coming years. The economist turned banker received the prestigious award (jointly with the Grameen Bank)  five years later, of course, not for Economics, but peace.

Two or three days later, I got an e-mail from the office of The Independent, where it was said that its editor (Mahbubul Alam) welcome me to Dhaka any time. Moreover the mail had mentions about three telephone (all were fixed line) numbers of the  Grameen Bank head office in Dhaka.

I dialed up the numbers and finally fixed a tentative date for an appointment with Prof Yunus. The respondent said I can have at the most 30 minutes with the managing director of the bank in his office at Mirpur in Dhaka. I agreed happily.

Till then I had not applied for visa to visit Bangladesh. And I had no idea about the hurdles getting visa for an Indian journalist to visit Bangladesh (or vice-versa). Soon I travelled to Agartala, the capital of Tripura, which is adjacent to Akhaura locality of Bangladesh by bus.

With some troubles I got the visa for probably a week from the Bangladesh consulate office in Agartala. And accordingly I entered Bangladesh through the Akhaura check post next day. After one hour of cycle rickshaw and three hours of passenger train journey I had finally arrived in Kamalapur railway station of Dhaka.
Getting inside a budget hotel near to the station, first thing I did…called the office of The Independent to put me to the editor.

Mahbubul Alam was on the other side of the telephone.
Oh, you have arrived. Are you coming to my office now?” asked the editor.
It was already 8 pm (Bangladesh is ahead of India with 30 minutes).
Moreover I had no idea about the city. But contrary to my hesitations,  the editor make me easy with his soft voice, You can come now. I am relatively free at this moment.”

Alam Dangoria (we the Assamese use the word Dangoria for some one respected) also guided me to reach his office by a baby taxi or even on a rickshaw. I took a rickshaw from the front of the hotel, as it was cheaper and the rickshawala convinced me that he knew the location.

After 20 minutes of evening rickshaw ride in the crowded Dhaka city, I had arrived in Karwan Bazar locality, where the office of The Independent was located at that time, before shifting to its permanent address to Tejgaon locality.
The lady receptionist smiled at me before I introduced myself. She guided me to the chamber of Alam Dangoria. I entered and found a clean-shave gentleman sitting on the chair comfortably with series of questions ranging from the black magic of Mayang to lush-green tea gardens of Assam to insurgent outfits of northeast India.

That was the beginning and we maintained our warm relationship for all these years. Whenever I visited Dhaka, I made it sure that I would have a cup of tea with Alam Dangoria. Even I wrote news based articles for his newspaper for some years from Guwahati.

So the news was heartbreaking for me-Mahbubul Alam, former editor of The Independent passed away in a hospital in Dhaka today (June 6,2014) at the age of  78, reported Bangladesh media outlets.

Alam Dangoria started his journalism career with Associated Press of Pakistan in 1957 and retired as the editor of The Independent last year after serving the  newspaper for 18 long years. He also edited the weekly Dialogue, Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha and The New Nation.

He was involved with the Bangladesh Press Council, Press Institute of Bangladesh, National Press Club, Newspaper Owners’ Association of Bangladesh etc time to time. A tireless preacher of democracy and free thinking, Alam Dangoria also lectured on various Bangladesh affairs in different universities of USA.

Hailed from Munsiganj, Alam Dangoria completed Masters in Political Science from Dhaka University. Besides journalism, he served the Bangladesh government in various capacities from an adviser to the caretaker government, spokesperson to Bangladesh foreign ministry to press counselor to an ambassador to Bhutan.

Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury ete have expressed grieves in separate condolence messages at the demise of Alam Dangoria, who left behind three daughters, now living in America with other close relatives and well wishers.

I may visit Dhaka again very soon, but my stay in the noisy capital city of Bangladesh will never be the same. This time I will miss the cup of tea with the soft spoken gentleman. Good bye my beloved editor and friend in a foreign city. May the Almighty keep Alam Dangoria’s soul in compete rest and peace!

The writer is a Guwahati (northeast India) based journalist

The Demise of the Valachchenai Paper Factory marks the Ruin of our Great Industries: What has to be done?

June 8th, 2014

By Garvin Karunaratne

I was sad to read about the demise of the Valachchenai Paper Factory in the Ceylon  Today of 18 th May. It detailed how the machinery is being sold for scrap.

In fact I was rather surprised to read of this demise because  in August 2012 the Sunday Observer  reported that Valachchenai will soon be resumed to full capacity”, which news filled me with hope..

Again the Sunday Observer of 24 th November 2013 said that a foreign investor was sought.

It is my experience to hear of a foreign investor being involved to be invariably  followed in a few months with a disaster- the sale of the industry as scrap and a final closure- a death knell. For instance when the Embilipitiya Paper Mill was handed over to a foreign investor AusLanka PaperCo for 30 years for Rs 600 million of which only half was paid up they bolted after a few years leaving behind an unpaid bank loan of Rs. 400 million! This was true of the Tulhiriya Textile Mill where the investor bolted leaving an unpaid bank loan and arrears of salary and EPF. Funds.  Sadly we trust these exploiters who come in the guise of ‘investors’. We need investors but we have to take care that they do not exploit us.

It is true that the LTTE manhandled the machinery ay Valachchenai but  it was up to us to reclaim the factory. I admit that it is no easy task to recuperate a factory that is ruined. About five years ago on one of my visits to the Southern Province I visited the former Agrarian Services Rice Mill at Ambalantota, my home for over a full year as Assistant Commissioner. I gazed in amazement at how the rice milling machinery, which we carefully cared for,  had been pulled to bits and even the Mill Premises had been parceled out. I could not believe my eyes as to what had happened to the Rice Mill that worked 24 hours a day for six days of the week and at that time in the Fifties and Sixties it was a state of the art rice mill. Rice Milling was a successful industry and this and many other State run commercial ventures were completely ruined by the sale/privatization policies of the United National Party under President Jayawardena under the advice of the IMF. Now(1/6) I hear that Prima has increased the price of wheat flour. Who gave Prima the right to import wheat. It was President Jayawardena that decided to hand over wheat milling to Prima. They were authorized to buy the wheat and decide the sale price to us. Earlier it was a Deputy Food Controller that bought wheat flour. Now the profits in wheat milling go out of Sri Lanka and giving Prima the right to buy wheat flour is not in the national interest. Yet once the multinationals are entrenched it is they that call the shots.

To get back to Valachchenai, my attachment came in a strange manner. When I worked at Head Office in the Agrarian Services in 1961-62 and again in 1965 to 1967, I went on circuit to Batticaloa and Amparai very often and  a telephone call to Valachchenai Mill brought me a cosy room in their Circuit Bungalow. I had several times gone through the working of the Mill, the paddy straw being washed and being made into pulp and the Paper being manufactured.

Then on many a day motoring in my Peugeot 203, I happen to be trailing lorries laden with straw all the way from Polonnaruwa to Valachchenai. At that time I saw it as a nuisance because I had to trail behind them being unable to overtake. Now in my incessant travels all over the world I have had to trail behind lorries laden with sugar cane in Thailand and India and manioc in Thailand. I have trailed behind truckloads of wheat straw(hay)being transported vast distances in Prince Edward Island and many other places in Canada, the UK and Europe.It was a nuisance to us motorists, but then it brought money to the farmers-to  farmers in Polonnaruwa and Hingurakgoda. Valachchenai produced quality paper. The short fibre of the paddy straw was mixed with a small proportion of imported paper pulp from wood which had the long fibre to add strength to the paper.

The Valachchenai Paper Mill was originally meant to turn out the illuk grass in the dry zone to paper pulp.  After installation we ran out of Illuk grass and it was due to the ingenuinity of Sri lankan  engineers that we adapted the machinery to use paddy straw. At that time in the Fifties paddy straw was not used and once our engineers did that trick there was no stopping till the LTTE debacle.

It may be of interest to note that now straw is being used in India, Canada, America  and China  to make paper pulp out of paddy straw. None of them were making paper out of straw in the Fifties. In other words those countries are now benefiting  from the spade work done by our great engineers.. Isn’t it sad that our ingenuity is not allowed to flower now

The grand success at  Valachchenai made us establish a second Paper Mill at Embilipitiya. This was run efficiently and commercially sound till the late Nineteen Nineties, when it started.  When there were some teething  problems. I made inquiries from a worker at Embilipitiya whom I met at their sales deport at Union Place in about 1998. He told me that the major problem was the dust in the straw. Dust is there in many industries. In the Rice Mill at Ambalantota when I was in charge I had to work on some days in the dust for a full day with an handkerchief tied  around my nostrils and end the day with a shower. The answer to that was a few extractor fans. At that time an import tariff of 10% was levied on paper imports and President Kumaranatunge removed this tax favouring the multinationals and Embilipitiya Paper breathed its last. In the infancy of all industries the industries have been helped in every country, which we forget when multinationals approach and influence us!

To my thinking the demise of the Paper Mill sounds meddling by multinationals who  are engaged in manufacturing paper and who will not hesitate to sabotage any attempt made to ruin their manufacture and trade. This is evident in many industries today.  In the Dairy Industry too, the multinationals hold sway.  In my own words written in 1999, ‘the managing director of Kiriya, a company that was trying to make Sri Lanka self sufficient in  milk production has said that he suspects  a foreign hand in sabotaging his attempts at developing local production’(From:How the IMF Ruined Sri Lanka(Godages)

In the early Seventies the Assistant Government Agent at Kotmale started a paper making industry at Kotmale under the Divisional Development Councils Programme.  This fell a prey to the Free Market Economics of President Jayawardena. Today in Colombo one of the main industries is the collection of waste paper and cardboard- not a stray lorry load but 8.000 tons are exported every month to India and we buy back paper and cardoard from them. Great economics for our arm chair doctrinaire economists to talk and write.

It is time that our Ministry of Industries opened its eyes and if those eyes are closed it is time that our President takes charge. If he could have delivered peace in a country that was torn with LTTE bombs and attacks somewhere almost every day, surely he should wave his magic wand in favour of our people to find them employment and also to save foreign exchange.

Someone has to order the Industrial Development Board to come up with the basic machinery to make paper pulp out of straw and straw paper making industries have to be established in the areas where the straw is found in plenty. Then attached to those paper pulp machines should be cardboard and paper making units. Farmers even burn the straw to get rid of it today. In the Sixties if I remember right the Valachenai Paper Mill paid some fifty or eighty rupees for a lorry load of straw from Polonnaruwa. Judging from the reception I got as the G.A. Matara one cannot expect any service from our Industrial Development Board. I wanted to establish a water colour paint making industry and sought them to draft a Feasibility Report. It took months of flogging and finally they drafted a report which they fed to a private industrialist before sending it to me. The Ministry of Plan Implementation rejected my proposal due to the negative orientation in that Report.

That ended my dealings with the IDB. A few months later I decided to teach both the IDB and the Ministry a lesson. I took charge of the Rahula College Science lab after  school hours and commenced experiments to make crayons. My leading officer was Vetus Fernando my Planning Officer, a raw chemistry graduate aided by the School science teachers.  When we got stuck half way, I  dispatched Vetus to the Chemistry Department of the University of Colombo where he went on his bended knees to his professors who trained him only a year ago to get help in the chemistry labs that had sophisticated equipment and personnel who had been trained abroad, to be chased away. We continued undeterred in our school lab at Rahula. In two to three months we came by success and established a hand made crayon factory  at Deniyaya.  It was called Coop Crayon and established by Sumanapala Dahanayake, the Member of Parliament who happened to be the President of the Multipurpose Cooperative Union. T.B.Subasingha the Minister for Industries was surprised to see the product and he came to open up sales and the sales covered the entire island from 1972 to 1978 till the free economy of President Jayawardena killed it.  The moment the Minister for Trade Mr Illangaratne saw the crayons he wanted me to establish a factory in Kolonnawa, which request I managed to dodge. This crayon factory fell a prey to free imports and also to the free economics of President Jayawardena who did not want the State to handle any commercial undertakings- the IMF doctrine of depending on the Private Sector as the engine of growth.

This same demise also happened to the Canning Factory of the Marketing Department established in the early Fifties which made our country self sufficient in fruit juices and jam. The free economy of President Jayawardena privatized it and now we import fruit juice from the USA. I have suggested again and again that we establish  small canneries at Tissamaharama,  Anuradhapura and Gampaha(for pineapples), but my request has so far fallen on deaf ears. The cost of the machinery in foreign exchange is within what we today spend to get down fruit juice in a single year. I can guarantee anyone that fruit juice factories can easily be done. I hold experience as I was associated  with the Marketing Department cannery for around five years in its infant stage..

We are celebrating  not victories but the demise of Valachchenai, of the Canning Factory that once worked. It was due to the false economics of the IMF that the UNP followed that all this demise happened. Unfortunately we have not yet got out of the clutches of the IMF that dictate us to depend on the Private Sector, confining  our engineers and administrators to the barracks. Imagine where we would be today  if our armed forces were locked up in barracks!

A great deal has to be done in industry,  Mexico imports some $ 60 million  worth of Cinnamon from us every year and use it to make cinnamon extract and use it in food preparations and sell it all over the world. We even import Vanilla powder of inferior quality. A tin of Vanilla Powder purchased from the importer at Slave Island was thrown away by me because I found it adulterated. We grow and can expand on growing vanilla but we have resigned ourselves to NATO- No Action Talk Only. The way ahead is to marshall all our resources including schools. The school science curriculum should include making paper pulp from straw and making food preparations from local produce.

But shall our leaders close their eyes to this wanton damage to our economy. It is time our leaders opened their eyes. The way ahead to employment creation as well as savings in foreign exchange lies in the development of small industry.

Garvin Karunaratne
Former Government Agent, Marata District.
6 th June 2014

Sri Lanka Missing Persons Commission: 40,000-225,000 accused of being killed but only 18,590 missing complaints filed

June 8th, 2014

Shenali D Waduge

The Presidential Commission to investigate cases of Missing Persons was appointed on 14th August 2013 its mandate was to cover alleged abductions or disappearances during the period June10, 1990 to May 19, 2009. Its mandate was thereafter extended to cover period from 1983 to 2009. The 3 member commission headed by Maxwell Paranagama (Chairman), Mrs Dimingu Vidyaratne and Mrs. Mano Ramanathan will hand over their report by August 12, 2014. With less than 2 months is it not strange that none of those confidently quoting Tamil civilian dead during the final stage of the war have come forward to log their dead with names.

The first public sittings were held in Kilinochchi in January 2014. By February the Commission had received 4000 complaints. The complaints now number 18,590 of which 5000 are those filed by families of missing soldiers. What is interesting is that the foreign nations in particular the West from whom the Chairman had sought assistance through the External Affairs Ministry to trace the ‘missing’ had refused to help locate the persons living in foreign shores. A position that we find difficult to comprehend in view of these nations insisting that Sri Lanka count the dead – if they are not cooperating can they complain?.

What must be said is prior to counting the dead we need to ascertain that they were living in the first place. Sri Lanka cannot count living corpses and claim them dead! We may be able to produce the some of the dead if the countries keeping them may like to disclose names of all ‘refugees’ living in their countries.

What emerged no sooner the decision to military defeat the LTTE was decided was an international campaign to discredit the Sri Lanka and carry out the propaganda that genocide was taking place. What is interesting to note is that these campaigns were associated with the same sets of people that had close links with the LTTE over the years. It was a foregone conclusion that Sri Lanka had no chance of competing or challenging the lies and distortions being propagated internationally via publications, documentaries, books, debates and discussions. The panelists, the reviews, the moderators all part of the same syndicate and quoting each other and giving awards amongst each other.

Nevertheless, while they may enjoy the publicity and propaganda which they control what needs to now be said is that an opportunity has been made available for them to log their allegations. It is these very entities that demand Sri Lanka investigate and when Sri Lanka has appointed a Presidential Commission of Inquiry, why are they not placing on record their allegations. The investigation phase comes secondary, at least the names of the missing must be made. We would like to know why these entities – international organizations, human rights organizations, foreign parliamentarians who used every podium possible to quote numbers from 40,000 to 200,000 and more need to now produce the names of the dead and there is hardly time.

The vagueness about the number of dead

Every mainstream media release and publication has a habit of quoting that UN figures estimated the dead as 40,000. However, the UN News Center of 1st June 2009 in their website claimed ‘Mr. Ban said media reports alleging that some 20,000 civilians may have been killed during the last phase of the conflict do not emanate from the UN and most are not consistent with the information at our disposal”. In other words, officially the UN has not given a number as dead.

The International Organizations in Sri Lanka clueless

It is also strange that international organizations that had been operating in the North, most of whom were very much closely associating with the LTTE did not know how many civilians were living in areas of the North. It also questions how they made estimates for allocations when budgeting. The inconsistencies emerged when these organizations competed with each other on the figures of civilians living in the Vanni and those likely to be dead.

In terms of actual numbers of dead:

  • UN document estimates 7721 civilians killed between August 2008 and 13 May 2009 (this document has been shelved and taken off all circulation as it directly conflicts with the lies – even the web entries may be removed, luckily print outs of the mainstream media quoting the estimates prevails as evidence. What needs to be noted is that Indian embedded journalist Murali Reddy reported that from 13th May 2009 there were NO CIVILIANS in the 1.5sq.km strip the LTTE were restricted to.
  • The Sri Lankan Government census by Tamil teachers in Feb/Mar 2012 placed the number of war related deaths at 7432.
  • The University Teachers for Human Rights-Jaffna in a Special Report No. 32 of 10 June 2009 and Special Report No. 34 of 13 December 2009 have placed the dead between 20,000-40,000.
  • The UN Panel of Experts in their 2012 report says that the number of civilian deaths could be as high as 40,000 (this does not mean 40,000 dead – those mainstream media have jumped to quote the number but have conveniently forgotten the ‘could be as high’ clause)
  • Dr. V. Shanmugarajah – says the death toll is closer to 1000 (thousand)
  • UN Secretary General’s Internal Review Panel estimates ‘upto 70,000 civilian deaths) – November 2012.
  • Gordon Weiss (former UN spokesman in Sri Lanka in order to sell his book The Cage) placed the death toll between 30,000-40,000 but had to reduce the number to 10,000 at a book launch in Australia in June 2011.
  • The Times of London – 20,000
  • Amnesty International – has been extensively quoting 40,000 figure
  • Bishop of Mannar, Rayappu Joseph – claims 147,000 as missing (It is strange that he has not placed one single name of the missing with the Commission though he can rally numerous priests to sign letters and sent to the UNHRC calling for international investigations against Sri Lanka.
  • Alan Keenan the Project Director of International Crisis Group Sri Lanka placed civilians killed in the Vanni between 40,000 – 147,000
  • The Institute of Conflict Management, Delhi – 11,111
  • Independent Diaspora Analysis Group-Sri Lanka – 15,000-18,000
  • Rajasingham Narendran – ‘My estimate is that the deaths — cadres, forced labour and civilians — were very likely around 10,000 and did not exceed 15,000 at most’
  • Muttukrishna Sarvananthan of the Point Pedro Institute said “[approximately] 12,000 [without counting armed Tiger personnel] “.
  • Dr. Noel Nadesan: “”roughly 16,000 including LTTE, natural, and civilians”.
  • Data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal, data “primarily based on figures released by the pro-LTTE Website Tamil Net”, put the casualty figure for civilians inside Mullaithivu at 2,972 until 5 April 2009.
  • 13 March 2009 – UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay’s press release said that ‘as many as 2800 civilians ‘may have been killed’.
  • The Guardian editorial ( Sri Lanka: Evidence that won’t be buried (June 15, 2011),) – 40,000
  • Editorials by The Times and The Sunday Times in late May 2009 related investigations the papers had conducted that revealed more than 20,000 Tamil civilians were killed in the final   
  • Publication titled “Genocidio: (Primera entrega) – La masacre de los Tamils en Sri Lanka,” [Genocide: (First Delivery) The Slaughter of Tamils in Sri Lanka], the Argentinean periodical La Tarde (diario) in a Spanish language article – 146,679 Tamils disappeared or killed between 2008 and 2009, of which 40,000 deaths occurred in the 48 hours of the final assault
  • Arundhati Roy, Indian commentator – “Government of Sri Lanka is on the verge of committing what could end up being genocide” and described the Sri Lankan IDP camps where Tamil civilians are being held as concentration camps. April 2009
  • Michael Roberts based his estimates between 10,000 and 18,000

 Thereafter, those keen to take potshots at Sri Lanka began to quote figures at fancy and Sri Lanka ended up having to respond to numbers that were being quoted without any evidence or any proof.

What needs to be reiterated is that with the Commission to make their report to the President by 12 August 2014 unless a fresh extension is requested, none of those making allegations have made attempts to place their allegations with the Commission.

Does that not look strange? When there is a mechanization in place why are these foreign entities making the allegations not submitting the dead with names and other details? Surely, if they could confidently quote numbers why can they not come forward with the names of the missing?

In wedding ceremonies there is a dramatic moment where the minister says If any of you has reasons why these two should not be married, speak now or forever hold your peace”.  

Similarly, a Commission has been appointed to investigate missing persons between period 1983 to May 2009. All those who have been for the past 5 years making allegations should have come forward to make their claims either through their local parties and place on record their allegations of supposed dead. It does not matter whether the figure is 1 or 300,000 the entities making allegations need to now give names of the dead – if they cant do so they should forever hold their peace (piece too – by stopping the lies dished out via mainstream media)

Future of Kerosene lamps for Sri Lankans if GOSL gives Sampoor coal power plant to India

June 8th, 2014

Shenali D Waduge

The debate on Sampoor coal power plant has re-emerged following discussions with newly elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. When solid facts have been placed giving valid reasons for why Sri Lanka should not put the final signature to the coal power plant agreement there are another set of people pushing for its conclusion. The valid reasons not to go ahead with Sampoor, cover the eventualities of environmental hazards and affects on Sri Lankan soil and Sri Lankan harvests, skyrocketing electricity prices leading ordinary households to return to the kerosene lamp days, declining productivity, studies of school going children getting affected leading to the notion whether Sri Lanka will end up having to import labor, professionals on a regular basis from India leading to the ultimate demographic changes that remain a nightmare to all communities in Sri Lanka. Why would Sri Lanka’s leaders ignore these ground realities simply to please India and will this one gesture lead India to be grateful when India’s demands upon Sri Lanka are endless. Should we be bargaining with everything that we have which are of strategic importance and more importantly a health and environmental risk as well?

Do our politicians and public officials not wonder why India is insisting on a coal power plant which the public does not want? Surely India must be having a different interest and Sampoor is just a cover to hide that interest. Do we need to remind Sri Lanka that Sampoor and Foul Point close to Trincomalee is a strategically important point that India is eyeing. The coal power plant will be a super cover for Indian intelligence posing as plant workers to set up shop.

Why does India wish to use the same area that the LTTE used as a military base and to keep an eye on the movement of ships entering the Trincomalee harbor if India did not wish to do the same?

Amongst the Sri Lanka camp who other than secretary Ferdinando is eager to pass over to India a coal-fired power plant that would lead Sri Lankan masses into virtual poverty on account of sky rocketing electricity prices? This is the crux of the issue for the masses who will be the one’s to take the burden of faulty decisions taken by politicians for political mileage.

When CEO engineers rightly made their stand on the dangers of the power plant for what reasons do our politicians and public officials wish to bypass all reasoning and concerns that would impact Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans and insist on handing Sampoor to India? In other words why are our politicians least bothered about the effects of such an important agreement like Sampoor coal power plant?

When a public official such as the secretary claims that the project would ‘favor India more than Sri Lanka’ while also affirming that the quality of Sampoor coal power plant was not as good as Norochcholai, does this not disqualify him from representing the interests of Sri Lanka, but knowing that the Indian plant is of poor quality and is advantageous to India and not Sri Lanka, why does he insist that Sri Lanka sign the agreement?

On what grounds is Sri Lanka agreeing to sign the agreement with India if Sri Lanka is likely to lose between Rs.10-14billion annually without other hidden costs?

Environmental impact

When engineers and environmentalists have voiced their reservations on Sampoor why are sections of Sri Lanka’s politicians and public sector officials adamant on committing Sri Lanka to an agreement that would reap detrimental results in the future?

Are politicians and public sector officials at least bothered that the substandard coal brought from India will result in serious environmental issues for the country?

Have politicians and public officials forgotten that our water is already polluted as a result of imported fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides that have caused chronic kidney disease for thousands of farmers. Are we bringing Indian labor because these farmers are now sick?

When India is having problems with shortage of coal to run its own coal power plants is it not bizarre for India to insist on opening one in Sri Lanka? If India is importing 105 metric tons of coal (2011) from Indonesia and Australia, why should Sri Lanka import from India when India is short of coal?

The former Deputy Director, Geological Survey of Sri Lanka, Mr. Pathirana has pointed out that the coal in India emits high ash content (35-45% compared to other countries which has 15%) which causes high pollution. Will these carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide not adversely affect our environment and means of livelihood? India’s power plants have led to 120,000 Indians dead annually are we eyeing similar figures in Sri Lanka? Moreover, Indian coal is high in silica and alumina which leads to erosion of the syngas cooling system.

When politicians do not have the know-how and public officials do not care it is only correct that politicians should seek public opinion for the adverse affects of Sampoor coal power plant being given to India is likely to affect the ordinary masses and future generations. Governments and politicians will come and go but it is the people who will end up carrying the burden and the ills that come with foolish decisions on wrong advice.

The idea for a coal power plant came from India in June 2005 and the agreement was signed in December 2006 after the Sri Lankan Army captured Sampoor. The proposed 1000MW plant, estimated to cost US$500 million is to be set up on 500 acres in Sampoor within the high security area (in other words strategic for Sri Lanka)

The Executive Director, Hemantha Withanage of the Centre for Environmental Justice highlights the alternatives other than coal. It was in 1985 that a coal power plant was proposed in Trincomalee which was moved to Mawella, Negombo and Norochocholai.

Even if the CEB pays Rs.18 with the balance subsidized by the Government what is the ultimate cost per person once it is connected to the national grid?

What does the contract insist that the Indian company maintain operational control rather than the CEB and in case the Indian company does hand over to CEB the contract is written in such a way that CEB will have to purchase shares at a colossal amount? We are supposed to be getting a deal but in reality not only are we going to ruin our environment, our people are going to burdened with skyrocketing electricity charges and in short we are walking into a raw deal – why are we taking the risk?

In looking at Sampoor from the perspective of the public and the long term impacts on the environment and the soil what politicians need to next contemplate is whether it is worth compromising for unreliable relations with India? Forging better relations at diplomatic level is one thing, compromising the people of a nation, their livelihood and especially the soil is not a risk worth taking.

 

 

 

 

Putin Speaks Out On Ukraine, Crimea And US Relations-“We do not intend to revive the Russian Empire”

June 8th, 2014

Video Of Interview

Vladimir Putin faced a barrage of tricky questions from French media

ahead of his meeting with world leaders at the 70th anniversary of the

Normandy landings. Here are his best replies on key issues: Ukraine,

Crimea and relations with the US.

Transcript

QUESTION (via interpreter): Good afternoon Mr President. Good

afternoon, President Putin. Thank you very much for agreeing to give

this exclusive interview to Radio Europe 1 and the TF1 TV channel at your Sochi residence.

On Thursday evening you will meet with President Francois Hollande in

the Elysee Palace, and the next day you will attend the D-Day 70th

Anniversary Commemoration. This will be your first trip to the beaches

of Normandy, and you will be the first Russian President to attend the

ceremony. What do you as a Russian citizen think about being invited to this exceptional ceremony?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: This will be an important event for Europe and the

rest of the world. We will pay tribute to those who prevented Nazism

from enslaving Europe, and I believe that Russia’s attendance is a

momentous event. The thing is that Russia and the anti-Hitler

coalition countries, including France, were allies in that struggle

for freedom, and my country played a vital and maybe even the decisive

role in defeating Nazism. But we’ll never forget the French Resistance

fighters and the French soldiers who fought side by side with us on

the Soviet-German front, which is also called the Eastern front. I

believe that this should not only remind us about our history, but also help to promote our relations now and in the future.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): Of course, you and Russia will take your

rightful place on the beaches of Normandy. You lived in the Soviet

Union until you were 40, you saw its collapse, and now you are

actively contributing to Russia’s revival. What would you like to see happen now?

What are your goals? Is Russia’s strategy a path of dialogue or

expansion and conquest?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Well, a policy of expansionism and conquest has no

future in the modern world. We’re confident that Russia can and should

be a partner with its traditional allies, in the broad sense, now and also in the future.

 

This is what we want, and this is what we will keep working towards.

We see no other way to develop relations with our neighbours and all

other countries.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): Do you want to defend the Russian nation

or to become the symbol of Russian nationalism and the Russian Empire?

We remember what you said about the Soviet Union’s dissolution. You

said that it was the worst geopolitical disaster of the 20th century.

You also said that those who do not regret the collapse of the Soviet

Union have no heart, and those who want to restore it have no brains. You have brains. What do you propose:

Russian nationalism, or the restoration of the Russian Empire to its

previous borders?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: We will not promote Russian nationalism, and we do not

intend to revive the Russian Empire. What did I mean when I said that

the Soviet Union’s collapse was one of the largest humanitarian –

above all humanitarian – disasters of the 20th century? I meant that

all the citizens of the Soviet Union lived in a union state

irrespective of their ethnicity, and after its collapse 25 million Russians suddenly became foreign citizens.

It was a huge humanitarian disaster. Not a political or ideological

disaster, but a purely humanitarian upheaval. Families were divided;

people lost their jobs and means of subsistence, and had no means to

communicate with each other normally. This was the problem.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): And what about the future?

 

Do you want to restore the empire within the former borders or do you

want to continue developing your country within your own borders?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: We want to develop our country within our own borders,

of course. But – and this is very important – like other countries in

other parts of the world, we want to use modern policies to improve

our competitive advantage, including economic integration. This is

what we are doing in the post-Soviet space within the Customs Union

and now also within the Eurasian Union.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): Mr Putin, we are now talking about why a

neighbouring country, Ukraine, is being torn apart by war. There is no

other word for it. Now pro-Russian forces want to breach Ukraine’s

borders. Who can stop them and what is your policy?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I wouldn’t call them either pro-Russian or pro-Ukrainian.

They are people who have certain rights, political, humanitarian

rights, and they must have a chance to exercise those rights.

 

For example, in Ukraine governors are still appointed by Kiev. After

the anti-constitutional coup in Kiev last February, the first thing

the new authorities tried to do was deprive the ethnic minorities of

the right to use their native language. This caused great concern

among the people living in eastern Ukraine.

 

QUESTION: You did not let this happen but are you saying that we are

on the verge of another Cold War?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I hope we are not on the verge of any war. Second, I

insist that people – wherever they live – have their rights and they

must be able to fight for them. That’s the point.

 

QUESTION: Is there any risk of a war? Now, as we see tanks on their

way from Kiev, many people in France are asking this question. Were

you tempted to send troops to eastern Ukraine?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: This is an interview, which implies short questions

and short answers. But if you have patience and give me a minute, I

will tell you how we see it. Here’s our position. What actually

happened there? There was a conflict and that conflict arose because

the former Ukrainian president refused to sign an association

agreement with the EU. Russia had a certain stance on this issue. We

believed it was indeed unreasonable to sign that agreement because it

would have a grave impact on the economy, including the Russian

economy. We have 390 economic agreements with Ukraine and Ukraine is a

member of the free trade zone within the CIS. And we wouldn’t be able

to continue this economic relationship with Ukraine as a member of the free trade zone. We discussed this with our European partners.

Instead of continuing the debates by legitimate and diplomatic means,

our European friends and our friends from the United States supported

the anti-constitutional armed coup. This is what happened. We did not

cause this crisis to happen. We were against this course of events but

after the anti-constitutional coup – let’s face it, after all…

 

QUESTION: But now we see so much tension in politics. Yet despite

this, you will be in Normandy speaking about peace while Barack Obama

keeps urging Europe to arm itself.

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Well, we must always talk about peace but we should

understand the causes and nature of the crisis. The point is no one

should be brought to power through an armed anti-constitutional coup,

and this is especially true of the post-Soviet space where government

institutions are not fully mature. When it happened some people

accepted this regime and were happy about it while other people, say,

in eastern and southern Ukraine just won’t accept it. And it is vital

to talk with those people who didn’t accept this change of power

instead of sending tanks there, as you said yourself, instead of

firing missiles at civilians from the air and bombing non-military targets.

 

QUESTION: But, Mr President, the United States and the White House

claim they have evidence that Russia intervened in the conflict, sent

its troops and supplied weapons. They claim they have proof. Do you believe that?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Proof? Why don’t they show it? The entire world

remembers the US Secretary of State demonstrating the evidence of

Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, waving around some test tube with

washing powder in the UN Security Council. Eventually, the US troops

invaded Iraq, Saddam Hussein was hanged and later it turned out there

had never been any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. You know, it’s

one thing to say things and another to actually have evidence. I will

tell you again: no Russian troops…

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): Are you saying the US is lying?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Yes, it is. There are no armed forces, no Russian

‘instructors’ in southeastern Ukraine. And there never were any.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): So you do not want to annex Ukraine and

you never tried to destabilise the situation there?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: We never did that. The Ukrainian government must now

sit down and talk with their own people instead of using weapons,

tanks, planes and helicopters. They must start the negotiating process.

 

QUESTION(via interpreter): The new Ukrainian president was elected on

May 25 through a democratic vote. Do you recognise Mr Poroshenko as a

legitimate president?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I’ve already told you and will say it again: we will

respect the choice of the Ukrainian people and we will cooperate with

Ukrainian authorities.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): In other words, if you meet him on 6 June

on the beaches of Normandy, and if President Hollande helps to make

this meeting possible, will you shake hands with him? Will you talk with him?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: You know, I don’t plan to evade anyone. President

Hollande kindly invited me as the representative of Russia to attend

this commemoration, even though the event it will commemorate was

tragic. I was pleased to accept his invitation, and I’m grateful to

the President for inviting me. There will be other guests, and I’m not

going to avoid any of them. I will talk with all of them.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): But will you meet with Poroshenko? You

said you would only work with him on the condition that he would not

totally yield to US influence.

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I didn’t say that he shouldn’t yield to US influence.

He is free to accept any influence he wants. Ukrainians voted for him,

and he is free to develop a policy. If he chooses to accept anyone’s

strong influence, let him. But I wouldn’t…

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): Do you recognise Ukraine’s sovereignty and

its neutral stance with respect to relations between Russia and the West?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Yes, we recognise its sovereignty. Moreover, we’d like

Ukraine to act as a sovereign state. Joining any military bloc or any

other rigid integration alliance amounts to a partial loss of

sovereignty. But if a country opts for this and wants to cede part of

its sovereignty, it’s free to do so. Regarding Ukraine and military

blocs, this is what worries us, because if Ukraine joins, say, NATO,

NATO’s infrastructure will move directly towards the Russian border, which cannot leave us indifferent.

 

QUESTION: Mr President, Russian troops annexed Crimea recently. Will

you ever give it back?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: It’s a delusion that Russian troops annexed Crimea.

Russian troops did nothing of the kind. Frankly…

 

QUESTION: But Crimea has been included on the map of Russia, the kind

of maps we used in school. It’s part of Russia now. What was it,

annexation or reunification? Which word should we use?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: If you’ll let me finish, I think you’ll see what I mean.

 

Russian troops were in Crimea under the international treaty on the

deployment of the Russian military base. It’s true that Russian troops

helped Crimeans hold a referendum on their (a) independence and (b)

desire to join the Russian Federation. No one can prevent these people

from exercising a right that is stipulated in Article 1 of the UN

Charter, the right of nations to self-determination.

 

QUESTION: In other words, you will not return Crimea [to Ukraine]?

Crimea is Russia, is that it?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: In accordance with the expression of the will of

people who live there, Crimea is part of the Russian Federation and

its constituent entity.

 

I want everyone to understand this clearly. We conducted an

exclusively diplomatic and peaceful dialogue – I want to stress this –

with our partners in Europe and the United States. In response to our

attempts to hold such a dialogue and to negotiate an acceptable

solution, they supported the anti-constitutional state coup in

Ukraine, and following that we could not be sure that Ukraine would

not become part of the North Atlantic military bloc. In that

situation, we could not allow a historical part of the Russian

territory with a predominantly ethnic Russian population to be

incorporated into an international military alliance, especially because Crimeans wanted to be part of Russia. I am sorry, but we couldn’t act differently.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): So, Francois Hollande has invited you to

France, to Paris and Normandy. You know him very well. Can you move

further forward, and can you describe your relations as confidential?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Yes, I think so.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): Do you think so, or are you sure?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I’ve always thought so. I see no reasons to think otherwise.

We have very good interstate relations, but we have much to do yet to

promote our economic ties.

 

But our personal relations have always been trust-based, which helps

in work as well. I hope it will stay this way.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): You are talking about trust-based

relations – both in defence and the economy. You have paid over a

billion euros for two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships, and

Russian naval officials are to visit Saint-Nazaire in a few days. Have

you given them special permission to go to France?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Yes, of course. I believe we are living in a

civilised world and we will all continue to fulfil our obligations and

contractual commitments. I’ve heard a lot of talk about these ships

going to Russia and some people believe that Russia shouldn’t get

them. You know, here in Russia we had a lot of opposition to this

contract. France is entitled to decide against selling the ships, but in that case we should get out money back.

This would mean that out countries won’t have an opportunity to

develop ties in the defence sector – but overall we are ready to

expand our cooperation and even to place new orders, if our French partners are interested.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): Despite external pressure, you have asked

France to supply these assault ships – and if France does it you may

place other orders as well, right?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: We expect our French partners to fulfil their

contractual obligations, and if everything goes as we agreed, we will

not rule out the possibility of further orders – and not necessarily

in naval shipbuilding; they may concern other sectors as well.

Overall, our relations in this area are developing well, and we would

like to continue strengthening them – in aviation, shipbuilding, and

other sectors. We have successful cooperation experience in space exploration, at the Guiana Space Centre near Kourou.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): Do you think France is a sovereign and

independent state whose opinion is respected? What do you think of Germany?

You speak with Angela Merkel in both Russian and German, while

François Hollande doesn’t speak Russian and you don’t speak French. Do

you have a common language of communication?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: The fact that I don’t speak French and Mr Hollande

doesn’t speak Russian is not a barrier for us. It does not prevent us

from speaking a common language, and we understand each other well

even via an interpreter.

 

Speaking of the level of sovereignty, I will say it again – any

country that becomes a member of a military alliance gives away some

of its sovereignty to a supranational body. For Russia, this would be

unacceptable. As for other countries, it has nothing to do with us.

They have to decide such matters for themselves. In this regard, I

think of the Gaullist tradition and General Charles de Gaulle, who

protected France’s sovereignty. I think this deserves respect. And

there’s another example: François Mitterrand, who spoke of European

confederation, with Russia as its member. I think this opportunity still exists and we will have it in the future.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): My next question concerns the United

States. You will meet with Barack Obama in a few days, you will sit a

few metres away from him. But he doesn’t seem to be willing to speak

to you. What will this meeting be like and how will relations develop

between the world’s richest country and its largest country? How can

you avoid speaking to each other when there’s a real need for this since the war is not too far off?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Well, you’re exaggerating about the war being not far off.

You seem to be feeling aggressive. Whatever gave you this idea, and

why are you determined to frighten us all? As for…

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): Because Ukraine is near Russia.

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: So what?

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): And this is where the war is going on.

When he mentioned the war, he said it is not far off.

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: There is a punitive operation launched by Kiev’s

government against the country’s own citizens. It is not a war between

states, it is something entirely different. As for…

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): Do you think it should be stopped immediately?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I think Mr Poroshenko, who has no blood on his hands

so far, has a unique chance to halt this punitive operation now and

start a dialogue with people in southeastern Ukraine.

 

As for my relations with Barack Obama, I have no reason whatsoever to

believe he is not willing to talk to the President of Russia. But

ultimately, it is his choice. I am always ready for dialogue, and I

think that dialogue is the best way to bridge any gaps. We have been

in contact until now, we have talked on the telephone regularly.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): Russia and the United States are

experiencing some problems. Are these problems between two powers or

between two people, Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Problems between countries always exist, especially

between such big countries as Russia and the United States. There have

always been some issues, but I don’t think we should go to extremes.

At any rate, it wouldn’t be our choice. I’m always willing to talk to

any of my partners, including President Obama.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): So you are willing to talk and you regret

what is happening? But don’t you think the United States is trying to

surround Russia, to make you weaker as a leader and perhaps isolate

you from the world? You are being very diplomatic now but you know the facts.

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Facts? You’ve said it yourself: Russia is the biggest

country in the world. It would be very difficult to surround it, and

the world is changing so fast that it would basically be impossible,

even in theory.

 

Of course, we can see attempts by the United States to pressure their

allies by employing their obvious leadership in the Western community,

in order to influence Russia’s policy.

 

Russia’s policy is based solely on its national interests. Of course,

we take the opinions of our partners into account but we are guided by

the interests of the Russian people.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): Mr President, it is very convenient that

you are meeting with Mr Obama on June 6. Perhaps, it would be worse if

you were meeting with Hillary Clinton. Only a few days ago, she said

that what Russia is doing in Eastern Europe resembles what Hitler was doing in the 1930s.

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: It’s better not to argue with women. But Ms Clinton

has never been too graceful in her statements. Still, we always met

afterwards and had cordial conversations at various international

events. I think even in this case we could reach an agreement. When

people push boundaries too far, it’s not because they are strong but

because they are weak. But maybe weakness is not the worst quality for a woman.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): Women must be respected, of course, and

I’m sure you respect them. Do you think she went too far? There is a

lot of mockery and cartoons in the media – including those showing

you. What was your first reaction? Were you angry? Did you want to get

back at her or laugh? We have never seen you laugh.

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Someday I will indulge myself and we will laugh

together at some good joke. But when I hear such extreme statements,

to me it only means that they don’t have any valid arguments. Speaking

of US policy, it’s clear that the United States is pursuing the most

aggressive and toughest policy to defend their own interests – at

least, this is how the American leaders see it – and they do it persistently.

 

There are basically no Russian troops abroad while US troops are everywhere.

There are US military bases everywhere around the world and they are

always involved in the fates of other countries even though they are

thousands of kilometres away from US borders. So it is ironic that our

US partners accuse us of breaching some of these rules.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): But you have taken some decisions

regarding your defence budget. Are you as President taking any special

decisions on security and defence now, because the general environment is more risky?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Regarding the defence budget. I’d like to say, for

reference’ sake, because only the analysts know this, that the defence

budget of the United States, which we talked about only yesterday, is

larger than the combined military budgets of every country in the

world – every country – combined. So who’s pursuing an aggressive policy?

 

As for our [defence] budget, it has hardly grown in terms of percent

of GDP, barely by one-tenth of a percent. But we want to rearm our

army and navy based on modern, advanced technology, by reducing

quantity and improving quality. We have a relevant rearmament

programme, and it was not adopted yesterday or in response to the

Ukrainian crisis. It has been our policy, which we will continue to implement.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): Mr President, Syrian leader Bashar Assad

has been re-elected president without much effort. Can you influence

him? Can you ask him to order his army to stop its atrocities, to stop

fighting their own people?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: All sides are guilty of atrocities there, but

primarily the extremist organisations that are thriving in Syria. We

are mostly worried about…

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): Religious, Islamic [organisations]…

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: …those organisations that are directly connected with

Al Qaeda. There are many of them there, which no one tries to deny any longer.

It’s a general fact. But we are mostly worried that the wrong action

could turn Syria into another Afghanistan, a completely uncontrollable

spawning ground for the terrorist threat, including for European

countries. All the terrorists who are operating there now would

eventually move to other countries, including in Europe.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): We don’t quite understand why you,

Vladimir Putin, the man who wants to modernise Russia, support a

person who is killing his own people, who is covered in their blood. How can this be?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I’ll explain very simply and clearly, and I hope that

the majority of the French people who are watching and listening to

this interview will understand me. We very much fear that Syria will

fall apart like Sudan. We very much fear that Syria will follow in the

footsteps of Iraq or Afghanistan. This is why we would like the legal

authority to remain in power in Syria, so that Russia can cooperate

with Syria and with ours partners in Europe and the United States to

consider possible methods to change Syrian society, to modernise the

regime and make it more viable and humane.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): I’d like to ask you about your country, Russia.

How would you describe its current political regime? Some describe it

as a democracy, while others argue that Russia is so huge that it

needs an iron hand. How does Vladimir Putin define the Putin regime?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: The current regime is not connected to any particular

person, including the incumbent President. We have common democratic

state institutions, although they reflect Russia’s needs. What are

they? The overwhelming majority of Russian citizens tend to rely on

their traditions, their history and, if I may say so, their

traditional values. I see this as the foundation and a factor of

stability in the Russian state, but none of this is associated with

the President as an individual. Moreover, it should be remembered that

we only started introducing standard democratic institutions recently. They are still in the process of evolving.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): Can a person stand in opposition to the

authorities in Russia without fear of losing his ties and reputation,

without being punished?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: We have many opposition parties, and we have recently

liberalised the procedure for registering political parties. We have

dozens of parties that participate in municipal and regional elections.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): But is it possible to be a personal

opponent of Vladimir Putin without exposing oneself to risks?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: If you listen to some of our radio stations and watch

some TV shows, I assure you, you are unlikely to find anything similar

to this kind of opposition in France.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): There have always been periods of strict

order and authoritarian power in Russia. But in the age of the

Internet, can a country develop by restricting freedoms?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: It is impossible and we are not restricting the

Internet. We have certain… You know, whatever we do, someone tries to

find something that goes against democratic principles, including the

Internet. Are there any restrictions in Russia? I don’t believe so.

Some of our opponents say there are unacceptable restrictions. What

kind of restrictions do we have? For example, we have banned the promotion of suicide, drugs and pedophilia.

These are our restrictions. What’s wrong with that?

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): And homosexuality. It is not pedophilia,

it’s a different story.

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: That’s not true, we did not ban homosexuality. We

banned the promotion of homosexuality among minors. You see, these are

two different things. In the United States, since we talked about it,

homosexuality is illegal in some states. We impose no criminal

liability whatsoever. We banned only promoting homosexuality among

minors. It is our right to protect our children and we will do it.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): We would like to talk about the end of

your term in 2018. We would like to talk about labour camps. We find

such things surprising in the West. For example, Pussy Riot were

sentenced to a term in labour camps, and it wasn’t just an ordinary

prison. Will you close those camps by the end of your term?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: These are not camps. These are places where the inmates’

freedom is limited but they can live a more or less normal life. These

are not prisons where people are not allowed to work.

 

Prisons where people can’t even work is the worst punishment you can

think of. And I don’t think we should put all convicts in such

facilities where people are deprived of their freedom. I think it is

much worse than what you are describing.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): Who convinced you that you are carrying

out a special mission for Russia?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Why do you think that I believe I’m carrying out a

special mission? I have the trust of my voters. Over 63% of Russian

citizens voted for me. I believe I hold a national mandate to carry

out domestic and foreign policy, and I will fulfil my obligations under this mandate.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): Do you have a role model in the Russian history?

Are you guided by Soviet or Russian politics?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I have great love and respect for Russian history and

culture. But the world is changing and Russia is too. Russia is part

of the modern world, not the world of the past but the modern world.

And I believe it has an even greater future than some other countries

that can’t take care of their young people, of the new generations, of

their children, and believe that they can just let things slide.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): And the last question, Mr President. In

2013, Forbes rated you as the most powerful person in the world. Were

you flattered by this title?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: You know, I’m an adult and I know what power means in

the modern world. In the modern world, power is mainly defined by such

factors as the economy, defence and cultural influence. I believe that

in terms of defence, Russia is without any doubt one of the leaders

because we are a nuclear power and our nuclear weapons are perhaps the best in the world.

 

With regard to cultural influence, we are proud of the Russian culture

– literature, the arts and so on.

 

As for the economy, we are aware that we still have a lot to do before

we reach the top. Although lately, we have made major strides forward

and are now the fifth largest economy in the world. It is a success

but we can do more.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): We don’t know yet how Vladimir Putin’s era

will go down in history. What would you like to be remembered for? And

would you like to be seen as a democrat or an authoritarian leader?

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: I would like to be remembered as a person who did his

best for the happiness and prosperity of his country and his people.

 

QUESTION (via interpreter): Thank you very much. Have a good trip to

France, Mr President. Good-bye.

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Thank you.

 

China’s Response to Modi’s Accession: Is there something amiss?

June 6th, 2014

By Bandu de Silva

As a long time China watcher for close upon six decades, I was somewhat puzzled when I noticed an almost a blank in news about an early response from China over the success of India’s Prime Ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, and his Bharatiya Janatha Party at the recent hustling. That was the absence of an early response compared to what came out from India’s immediate neighbours like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nepal whose leaders responded warmly, and even some outside the immediate Asian circle like Britain, Australia, Israel and Mauritius whose leaders too were quick to offer greetings to the emerging new leader even before the results were officially declared. Modi victory was a matter for celebration all over the world in acknowledgement of the fact that in the Indian society, hierarchically divided as it is, a former boy selling tea in railway cars to enhance the family income and with no pretenses over social status in a highly caste ridden society could one day rise to the highest position in his land. That sociological aspect was missed in the comments in the Western society where the emphasis was on the functioning of the institutions of democracy. The first response from President Barack Obama’s office emphasised that institutional factor alone and he congratulated India for conducting the massive election. It did not say a word about Modi. President Barack Obama after that initial reservation expressed by his office, expressed the hope that the partnership with US would continue under the new leader. That too was then well guarded a statement.

Against the above background, when I saw no official or any media reference to any early message coming from the Chinese leadership or of any mention of a representation at the ceremonial inauguration of the new Prime Minister appeared in officially or in the media, my curiosity started playing havoc. I had no answer to offer to the question why Modi remained an undiscussed subject in China as he was emerging victorious and even after the results were out. This is in the context of Modi who as Chief Minister of Gujarat had been a welcome visitor to China for four times, and on the last visit received by the Chinese Communist Party hierarchy with almost state guest treat treatment, receiving him in the Great Hall of The People of China, and on respect of whom even after he emerged as the Prime Ministerial candidate in September 2013, the Chinese were seen immediately upping the ante by offering to meet 30 per cent of the total demand for investment in India’s sector until 2017 which was seen by Indian analysts as an endorsement of China’s faith in Modi to walk the talk. One might even wont to say that the Chinese were trying to make capital out of the strained relations between Modi and the US government arising from the withdrawal of his business visa and refusing to issue him a visa to enter US.

Naturally, in the background of such warmth that had already existed I could not find a reason why the Chinese government had not grabbed the initiative to throw an opened-armed welcome to Modi as the epoch-making new leader of India. Two trends of thought entered my mind. One was the Confucian caution which the Chinese display which has made a return to China after the chaotic disturbance of the ancient value system under Chairman Mao -Dze-dong. That is to say, the Chinese government was cautious despite the remonstration of early friendship towards Modi, which after all, had economics at the bottom rather than anything else. The other was if the statement made by Modi during the election round in Arunachal Pradesh, where he went on record referring to China’s expansionist designs and took up a “tough” stance saying that India would be well defended, had had any dampening effect on China’s enthusiasm over Modi. The Arunachal statement had not created an undue hiatus in China to disturb existing good relations with Modi. It was by-passed with a low -key remark by the spokesperson of the Waija-pu, the Chinese Foreign Ministry who was more defensive rather than irritated. What he said was China had no ideas of territorial aggression against her neighbours. What was not spelt out was that China had her own claims for territory which needed to be respected by an India pursuing the British colonial legacy of territorial claims.

I also looked at the way China had responded on occasions of inauguration of heads of state and Heads of Government round the world, including Africa where I came across an impressive list. Even small countries like Sierra Leone and Djibouti were given respectful attention in the selection of level of delegation. In Asia, I found they had sent a female leading the delegation to South Korea, and high-powered delegations to other areas like Latin America. These responses showed that China could not show any reason for vacillation on a response to Modi’s election and that the Chinese leadership, short of rushing to display of warmth could be actually deliberating how they should respond. In this one could not say that Modi’s statement in Arunachal Pradesh was totally lost on the Chinese leadership. It could not have gone without ruffling some feathers in the Chinese establishment and would have received full consideration.

According to my thought, the Chinese decided to respond differently by sending a different signal to Modi. That was in the form of what the Indian media called an intrusion’ into the territory of India’s ally and strategic partner, Bhutan. This was reported in Times of India on 0755 hours Video on 27 May 2014. The report stated that Chinese troops had established three camps, raised the Chinese flag and carried out patrols in the area but did not say when actually the intrusions” took place. Despite it receiving no publicity subsequently, it was symbolic, however, as the news came just a few hours after the inauguration of Modi. That sort of signal is the sort of way the Chinese react at times with action in a totally unexpected direction. (I have seen that sort of situation , many times during my stay in China). Perhaps, that way the Chinese might have wanted the new Prime Minister of India to think about what could be expected if he intended to deal firmly over issues over the Himalayan border.

In principle, Bhutan was not Indian territory. It is an independent state and member of SAARC but strategically very important to India as it controls the Tri-junction between India, China (Tibet) and Bhutan. By arrangement with Bhutan, Indian troops are guarding these three passes. Bhutan which is a Lama country is one which has all cultural ties with China and the Chinese call it Southern Tibet. Obviously under Indian influence, Bhutan had closed its near 500 mile border with Tibet and maintained no diplomatic relations with China. For the last two years, however, especially since the meeting of the Bhutanese ruler and the Chinese Prime Minister on the sideline of the Rio’s 20 + Conference on Sustainable Development held in Brazil, there has been more contacts between the two countries. The democratisation process permitted by the ruler has also created a voice for more relations and trade with China and free Bhutan from the strangle-hold of India but there has been no reason to bring about a direct Chinese intervention in Bhutan.

So, an intrusion” at this time, though not a direct confrontation with India could be a form of reminder of the volatility of the border issue in which Modi should proceed with caution if India expects to upset the present balance in the Himalayas for a more assertive policy. Bhutan has then become a pressure point for China to signal India of dangers of following too assertive attitudes in foreign policy rather than offering conciliation. India will have a lesser case to deal with the alleged Chinese intrusion in Bhutan than in Ladak or Arunachal which are claimed Indian territory.

Scenario Two

I read the report in the Asian Tribune of 29 May 2014 which was the first reference I came across to say that the Chinese Prime Minister Li telephoned Modi soon after he was sworn in ceremoniously as India’s new Prime Minister and he was the first foreign dignitary to do so. Since then the subject has been discussed in the Indian media (see Times of India reports). China now proposes to send her Foreign Minister to India.

It looks as if the Chinese were following the right Protocol waiting till the ceremonial inauguration of the Prime Minister to congratulate him but China and India were not such distant partners and remote countries to wait for the observance of such Protocol to demonstrate their closeness. The relationship is so close historically and culturally that despite post- independence issues resulting from the British colonial legacy like the border issue, and the war that ensued over it, Sino-Indian relations remain a major foreign policy situation in the Asian map. The best days in Sino-Indian relationship commenced after the Bandung Conference of 1956. The bilateral relationship between the two countries came to be based on Panacha €Seela which principles were also expanded into a wider international context under Bandung.

When I first started my first diplomatic association with China in mid 1950s the Sino-Indian relationship was so strong that the slogan one heard everywhere was Indi-Chini Bhai-Bhai”. That fine rapport, however, was not long-lived. It did not even survive the term of the then Indian Ambassador in Beijing, R.K.Nehru, former Civil Servant and close relative of Jawaharlal Nehru, whose wife was one of the stalwarts of the Bhai-Bhai” campaign. Both Ambassador and wife made a quite retreat to New Delhi after China’s problem over Tibet flared up. How quickly the situation changed could be seen from the way that I myself got caught up in the brewing hate-campaign that I had to spend a day in a Chinese Police cell in a remote station, being arrested” by people through mistaken identity as an Indian (Indo-jin (details are in the Ceylon Hansard as the issue became part of Parliamentary debate). I also saw on my return from China, the dispute had caught up in Hong Kong so much so that in a leading shop of diplomatic supplies the female Chinese sales girls completely ignored me and I had to complain to its British management that this was an unwelcome response to representative of an Embassy which had long commercial dealings with the company.

All these developments apart, the situation in China and India have advanced today that both countries are on the threshold of becoming two major economic powers in the world replacing the unipolar economic domination by US. That itself has called for major alignment of forces between China and India. Both have vast benifits to reap from participation in one another’s huge markets and investment opportunities. Besides, India has called the Year 2014, the Year of Indo-China friendship and a major Indian exhibition is scheduled to take place in China this year.

Reading the Chinese Mind

As a longtime observer of Chinese affairs, I have seen how for the Chinese under Mao-Dze €dong, yesterday’s bed fellows became erstwhile enemies the following day. The cases with the former Soviet Union, India, Vietnam are cases in point. During the Cultural Revolution, even the Sri Lankan Embassy in Beijing was not spared for Colombo refusing to permit the import of the Little Red Book.” On the other hand, one saw how relations with US became cordial after a period of tense rejection. Such violent manifestations of prejudices have not been the hallmark of Chinese character after Deng-Xiao-Pin reforms when the old Confucian wisdom of moderation seems to have taken the upper-hand.

In projecting a future course of India foreign policy direction under Modi, the remonstrations made by Modi in Arunachal Pradesh were then not the primary reason for China to be concerned with India’s future responses to territorial and boundary issues, though his words can be taken as symbolic of the determination of India under his future administration. That is part of toughness” that is typically attributed to Modi. A former Indian IFS officer, Sreenivasn, with a 37 year background in the Indian Foreign Service, (equal to mine in length), speaking in the pre-election scenario, on foreign policy under a future Modi, thought that foreign policy will not change in any significant way. (http://thediplomat.com/2004/indian -foreign-policy article by Sudha Ramachandran dated 6th May 2014). Sreenivasan spoke of continuity [of foreign policy] rather than change” . His reasoning seems to be based on the idea that a country’s foreign policy does not change with the ruling political party. That is a bureaucratic view and ignores nuances which could creep in. He also saw that foreign policy not being Modi’s forte, he could be seeking advice from former diplomats. A few former Indian professional diplomats like Harideep Puri have joined BJP.

There are other projections. India under the previous governments had been beefing up her defences on the Himalayan borders. As I write, there are reports indicating the establishment of special mountaineering corps in the Himalayan region. These and other self- defence arrangements are not what is worrying China but India’s other manifestations of counter-strategy such as strategic partnership with China’s bordering countries like Vietnam and Mongolia, in the latter case, to monitor Chinese nuclear and missile development activities in the Sinkiang dessert.

India with the new emphasis on improving the economic performance and invitation to foreign investment could also be reaching out globally rather than depending on China primarily for economic partnership. Her interest in oil prospecting in South China Sea on behalf of Vietnam is not only cutting into China’s own interest in the China’s territorial claim over the South China Sea, and more importantly, into her expectation of exploiting the known large oil resources which lie in the islands and the sea bed. That China does not take any challenges lightly can be seen from the fact that she has already established a rig for oil exploration and provided naval protection. That move has already drawn international attention as the area is on the international sea route and could be interfering with shipping. This is then a prospective conflict area between India and China about which less is discussed. India s strategic planning in the South Asian area includes protection of her economic interest in the South China Sea. With Modi’s emphasis on economics India’s interest in prospecting and exploiting oil for Vietnam in South China Sea is one which cannot lose Modi’s interest. That is going to cut right into the future China policy. How that would turn out finally one cannot say at this stage. These are then problem areas for the future.

China Policy Vs Partnership with US

 It is quite clear to any close observer that the messages sent by President Obama spells out that uncertain days are ahead for US-India partnership under a Modi government. This is understandable in the context US treated Modi after the riots in Gujarat where over 1000 people died by withdrawing his business visa charging him of complicity in the riots. That the Supreme Court cleared Modi of the charges did not bother US. Though US has offered to withdraw the ban on the visa and has even invited Modi to US after his election as Prime Minister, there is a lingering fear among the Americans that Modi might hit back. His record of not willing to suffer insult or let the pride of the country suffer, a consciousness accentuated by his Rashtriya Swayam Sewak background, there is a fear that Modi could remain unpredictable. This is not conducive to US-India partnership under which US was expecting a greater role from India under its Strategic Rebalancing Plan toward Asia and Pacific. (SRPAP). The Plan envisaged a role for India as friendly country” along with Singapore and New Zealand in the LCS (Littoral Combatant Ships or Advance Defence Battleships) Plan. (Please see my article in Ceylon Today of 8th May 2014). The future of this projected plan which is still developing could be in jeopardy if Modi government shows no interest.

  But as Sreenivasan pointed out, foreign policy need not change with every succeeding government but in contrast, India’s policy towards US as well as Israel changed under the former BJP government from its earlier hostility towards them practiced by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, except that Premier Jawaharlal Nehru, reeling under the shock of defeat by Chinese troops, was prepared to enter into a strategic relationship with US and sought US air power support to continue the border war with China. As such, in respect of relations with US, Modi is faced with a situation created by his BJP predecessor Atal Bahari Vajpaee. The partnership which has in India’s access to higher nuclear technology for civilian use, itself is a concession that India obtained despite not being a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That was initiated under the Vajpayee government. Successive Indian governments have continued with this policy of strategic partnership initiated by the former BJP government.

At India’s second Cabinet meeting under Modi, decisions have been taken to work closely with the bureaucracy and also to allow for a greater role for India’s security establishment in foreign policy making. If these are the indications, it is unlikely that the existing level of partnership with US will undergo any drastic changes despite the humiliation suffered by Modi under Bush (Jnr) and Barack Obama administrations. US will, however, learn the lesson that it will not be handling a soft candidate as Prime Minister, and cannot play the role that Ambassador Sisson in seen playing in neighbouring Sri Lanka.

 Despite this theoretical position, the way India will adjust relations with China is certainly going to have an impact on future Indo-US relations. This is because India’s present attitudes towards China are determined by the memory of the 1962 war, seeing China in adversarial terms, and what China is doing in neighbouring countries of India like Bangladesh, Myanmar, Pakistan and Sri Lanka as hostile to India’s strategic interests. (The String of Pearls round India). In the spirit of economic partnership, which Modi is emphasising, if India moves on shedding the suspicions to work on the economic front, there can be some slowing down of interest on the partnership with US. However, that will depend largely on India’s security establishment’s interests more than that of the political wing.

 India’s involvement of Indian firms in oil prospecting in the South China Sea on behalf of Vietnam is bound to clash with China’s declared interest in the South China Sea. Indian security plan includes protection economic interests in South East Asia. India has become a nation with maritime interests going beyond her traditional waters. This makes India’s partnership with Singapore meaningful and partnership with US relevant. The scenario is thus complicated and it is not easy to see if a very clear cut foreign policy could be developed involving all India’s partners.

1/6/2014

banduddes@gmail.com

Ananthi / TNA / LTTE: the hunters are getting hounded

June 6th, 2014

Shenali D Waduge

What happens when persons protesting against the ‘missing’ are confronted by persons protesting against those missing because of the ‘missing’? What happens when the persons protesting against the ‘missing’ number just 20 in addition to members of the ruling Northern Provincial political party led by Ananthi Sasitharan are confronted by over 300 persons holding pictures of their missing children demanding what Ananthi’s ‘missing’ person did to their children? Not a very pretty sight. The outcome of course was a first case scenario of Ananthi, the TNA brigade and their handful of protestors fleeing for their dear life. It was also a case of TNA having to seek protection from the law enforcements the TNA is demanding out of the North. That was what happened on 5th June 2014 outside the Divisional Secretariat Office while at the Mullaitivu courts the case filed by Ananthi Sasitharan on behalf of her ‘missing’ husband –Elilan the infamous LTTE leader was taken up. The outcome certainly providesinspiration to the rest of the Tamils who had been victims of the LTTE for 3 decades and sends a clear signal that the tables have turned and the hunters are now getting hounded -Finally.

Anandi Sasidaran’s case filed on behalf of her ‘missing’ husband was taken up at the Mullaitivu courts on 5th June 2014.

Anandi Sasidaran has conveniently forgotten that her ‘missing’ husband was responsible for forcibly taking away scores of children and men during the last stages of the war.

The UNHRC forgot this fact too when she was given airtime of NGOs representing causes of other countries to bemoan about a ‘missing’ LTTE terrorist leader. The Geneva gathering while holding buckets for Ananthi’s tears did not stop to wonder how ‘innocent’ Elilan, Ananthi Sasitharan’s ‘missing’ husband actually was.

The 300 protestors on 5th June 2014 showed exactly what ‘missing’ Elilan had been upto. UNHRC must stop and wonder whether they should moan the LTTE leader or the hundreds of missing children and men whose fate are unknown and wonder why the hub of human rights chose not to ask the question from the spouse herself as she sat before the Geneva gathering shedding crocodile tears.

On 5th June 2014, TNA politicians Suresh Premachandran, Sivajilingam, Selvarasa Gajendran, Gajendran Ponnambalam, Thurairasa Ravikaran, Antoni Gajendran made a choice. They chose to support Ananthi Sasitharan and the case filed by her on behalf of her ‘missing’ husband. The choice of the TNA politicians was to side with an LTTE leader.

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Suresh P’s placard says he’s lost his patience searching for Elilan – the Tiger leader!

Ananthi S’s placard is calling for Angel of Justice to intervene – lucky for her the Angel has and Justice took the side of the REAL VICTIMS, the parents from whom Ananthi’s husband, Elilan and Suresh Premachandran’s friend forcibly took children to turn into cadres. 

By the way, we did say that Ananthi support team had 20 or so protesters… it looks like the numbers may be less!

Suresh Premachandran and Co did not think twice about or wonder whether it was right for them to support an LTTE leader now supposedly ‘missing’.

Suresh Premachandran and Co did not for a second wonder whether it was fair on the scores of Tamils from whom the LTTE plucked children and men and turned into cadres. Suresh Premachandran now seeking advice from Tamils and Diaspora Tamils may like to answer this question.

Let’s not forget that LTTE’s cadres were mostly made up of KIDNAPPED Tamils who had been BRAINWASHED into taking part in LTTE terror.

Tamils are now challenging TNA-LTTE

The significance of this event of protestors coming out in their numbers must be making the TNA sweat. Their thus far comfort zone is now being challenged-for the first time and in the open. It must be sending shockwaves among the TNA leadership while LTTE Diaspora must be wondering how to counter the new menace.

What is assured is that if the trend continues no amount of foreign support or Indian support can change the behavior of Tamils deciding to question the TNA who was intricately linked to the LTTE.

It is a good time for the Tamil victims of LTTE to start demanding from the TNA-LTTE fronts and LTTE supporters to return at least some of the amounts the LTTE had been coercing from them especially from those living abroad on the threat of killing their families back homw.

The Human Rights Watch has also compiled a report titled Trapped and Mistreated LTTE Abuses against Civilians in the Vanni” and gives a good background of exactly how LTTE treated Tamils and is a good time for those supporting the TNA to also wonder exactly with whom they have placed their bets!

The clout that the TNA and LTTE had pre-May 2009 does not need to be elaborated. The story is now being re-written and the tables are now being turned.

This is where all those pandering to the tigers need to realize the importance of dividing the Tamils into:

  • 1.    Those who support and supported the LTTE (further divided into voluntary and forced support / divided also into Tamils (in SL and Overseas)/ other nationalities) – it would be interesting to know how many Tamils both in Sri Lanka and overseas actually support the LTTE against the Tamils who don’t support or never did
  • 2.    Those Tamils who refused to support / refused to make contributions – how many belonged to this number is a question yet to be answered.

Let’s talk numbers – how many Tamils support TNA-LTTE-LTTE fronts and how many Tamils don’t support them? – Ask the pundits and experts and insist that they reveal the numbers because we can’t get anywhere without knowing the numbers we are dealing with/against.

The importance of knowing who actually supported or supports the LTTE still will provide the numbers to who are supporting the TNA and the LTTE fronts – whether they are living in Sri Lanka or overseas. Against this we need to know how many actually are against LTTE – TNA and the LTTE fronts operating from abroad.

We need to identify the nexus that keeps Tamils bound into an insular framework and denies them any opportunity towards reconciliation efforts. The nations preaching on national reconciliation needs to wake up to these ground realities and must be told to get rid of the nexus if they truly want national reconciliation to take place in Sri Lanka. Simply preaching about national reconciliation, drafting resolutions against Sri Lanka while supporting the TNA-LTTE fronts and LTTE supporting Tamils to prevail is not going to get anybody anywhere.

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The marked difference in handwritten placards as against the printed placards used by TNA shows the spontaneity behind this protest as against the professionally organized events of TNA. It also provides a very clear picture to all those attempting to showcase a very distorted version of affairs in the North of Sri Lanka largely helped by foreign envoys attempting to canvass as common candidate of late flouting diplomatic decency and protocols!

The incident that took place in Mullaitivu did have foreign presence in the form of mainstream media. Nonetheless, the bias of their coverage can be seen by how they have covered the event – as was expected they did not take the side of the real victims, the parents in search of their missing children, but the TNA and their 20 or so supporters. Angel of Justice, it is time that the world knew who the real crooks are.

Udeshi Amarasinghe gives an excellent account of Tamil Diaspora and LTTE organizations. This needs to be immediately printed as a leaflet and distributed amongst the international community, embassies, foreign NGOs/INGOs, UN and every time any of the banned entities are given permission to hold public events in the very countries that have banned the LTTE. It is also good for the officials representing Sri Lanka (both in Sri Lanka and overseas) to read about to expand their knowledge of who Sri Lanka is up against.

http://defence.lk/new.asp?fname=Modus_Operandi_Tamil_Diaspora_and_LTTE_Organisations_20140605_05

 

Why Pay Attention To Non Entities Like Jayalalitha Calling For A Referendum For Tamils In Sri lanka?

June 6th, 2014

Insight By Sunil Kumar

June 5th. 2014
 Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalaitha Jayaram’s call for a referendum among Tamils in Sri Lanka including those currently living abroad to decide on the establishment of a separate state (Eelam) seems not only  lopsided but also one which has no bearing on the smooth functioning of Sovereign Independent Sri Lanka.This coming from an indian film actress turned politician whose aggression against Sri Lanka has even been to a greater part ignored by new Indian Prime Minister Modi.
So why worry about a deadbeat Tamil Nadu flybynight politico and the rest of her consorts who continue to bicker about The Tamils in Sri Lanka and continue their worthless cacophony over an unacheivable issue regarding a referendum to establish a separate state for their favourites?
 
The nature of her call alone proves the kind of misguided and apathetic individual she must be where she would probably be better off requesting the Indian Prime Minister to open the doors of Tamil Nadu to all dissenting minority Tamils in Sri lLanka to emigrate there while also considering a reversal of the Sirima – Shastri Pact to repatriate the migrant labour Tamils who have established themselves as estate labour Tamils if so disposed towards an empathy for Tamil Nadu as choice of abode rather than cause unnecessary agitations in Sri Lanka courtesy of the likes of the DMK whose related aspirations in all likelihood will also end up in rejection by the laboureres who are once again better off in Sri Lanka rather than facing the rigours of life in South India depite the rhetoric.In a general sense albeit hypothetically at least this would probably find the Tamils in Sri lanka reluctant to leave where they would be much better off as the case has been proven time and time again that it is indeed a load of codsawllop that the Tamillians in Nadu are in any way well disposed towards their counterparts across the Palk Straight with open arms to join them.
 
It therefore goes without saying that Sri Lanka  is always committed to preserving the  Sovereignity, unitarity and territorial integrity of the country and there could be no compromise on that score where Jayalalith and her motley crew including the Vaikos and Karunanidhis et al could huff and puff until blue and all they would prpbably get are apoplectic fits , censure  cautions and probable arrests or all of these..
 
In every sense Jayalalitha’s call for the formation of a separate state in Sri Lanka seems contentious as well as laughter evoking due to the sheer absurdity of it given what transpires during the Tamil Tiger insurgency  and the state of the nation today although within a united Sri Lanka there is every possibility of all citizens irrespective of their ethnicities sharing power collectively and being part of the administration with no devolution of power to a separate community simply to suit the whims and fancies of idiotic dispensations of worthless idealogies by the likes of Jayalalitha.
 
While it has been observed by the Government of Sri Lanka in a somewhat aggravated frame of mind quite justifiably perhaps that there seems to be much  external interference in Sri Lanka’s administrative affairs based on the wrongful portrayals of internal sources such as the UNP opposition, the JVP and so called patriotic sources who, simply to acheive their own agendas would create non existent situations or those blown out of proportion about breakdown in Law and Order, lack of respect to democracy and freedoms and a depiction of a reign of terror within the land which is the furthest from the truth to any discerning observer who promptly realises the salient reality of why this is happening.
Simply put, the objective of these harbingers of discredit through accusations against the GOSL point directly to intentions of ursurping  the Government towards their own ends in the quest for power!
 
Suggestions incorporating a scenario of kaleidoscopic inconsistencies through statements such as ~ “that for the rule of law to prevail, the independence of the judiciary had to be preserved, but President Mahinda Rajapaksa had by abusing the powers vested in his office prevented the judiciary from independently performing its duties. It was this tragic state of affairs that has led to foreign countries and international organisations telling us to put our house in order. It has reached a stage where the United Nations Human Rights Commission is about to commence a war crimes probe into the conduct of the Rajapaksa Government and the LTTE.” These surely are the inspirations for the probes against the Government although the exaggerations presented by far exceed the related realities where it was not the independence of the judiciary that was compromised but a setting right of the excesses of the abuse of power by some of its members where the Government simply did not tolerate the wrongdoings of certain legislators and members of the learned profession in high office.
The same applies to certain Army Leaders whose attempts to discredit the GOSL towards their own objectives and the quest for power landed them on the wrong side of the law and incarcerated although the baying of those in dissent never stopped and resulted in world opinion which to a greater part was biased against the Sri Lanka Administratiom,
 
The same applies to the Tamil Diaspora attempts to discredit the Government through their astronomically exaggerated stories of what transpired during the three decade long internal armed insurrection of the Tamil Tiger terrorists as though the majority Sinhalese needed to take blame for wrongs committed by insurgents and terrorists in defending their inherant and legally bounded rights. And if you have not guessed it already most of the attrocitiesd during the insurgency was blamable on Tamil Nadu in collaboration with consortiums of Tamil groups around the world that eventually caused much mayhem .It was this conglomerate of Tamils against Sri Lanka who fed, fuelled and fanned the Tamil Tiger cause to almost its entirety with dire ramifications!
And today the likes of Jayalalitha are calling for a referendum where insurgency failed which truly is an affront to the Government and people of a Nation that is recovering rapidly from the devastations once imposed by group she favoured and probably funded in collaboration with  her Tamil allies !!
She may be the chief minister of Tamil Nadu but certainly with no clout whatsoever over Sri Lankan matters.While her biases need no camouflaging  neither is there a need to pay too much attention to her bickerings where even the Indian Prime Minister  appears to take her with a pinch of salt where otherwise she could prove to be a huge embarrassment to the new Indian Administration!

UNHRC vs Sri Lanka: Successive Resolutions going far beyond last phase of war

June 6th, 2014

Shenali D Waduge

 Are the Resolution architects confused or is their confusion intentional? Some clarifications are urgently needed. The initial Resolution against Sri Lanka brought forward within days of the conclusion of a 30 year armed conflict drew upon the human rights violations committed during the last phase of the war. Thereafter, with each passing Resolution a host of non-last phase related items have been plugged in – 13th amendment, devolution, reference to Northern Provincial Council only etc all of which do not require a Resolution but can be easily taken up through the universal periodic review. The 2014 Resolution is calling for an independent investigation and moving to an international investigation but covering period under LLRC which is 2002 to May 2009. By plugging non-last phase related issues to establish a scenario of unrest in Sri Lanka, the UNHRC is shrewdly trying to create precedence to initiate international investigations on CONCLUDED CONFLICTS and NOT ONGOING CONFLICTS. The friends of Sri Lanka and the GOSL must surely notice the nature of the plan and if such precedence is created it would affect only targeted nations. 

What needs to be stressed is that the conflict in Sri Lanka is NO MORE. Terrorism has ended. Not a single bomb, suicide mission, terrorist assassination, child soldier recruitment, kidnapping and training men and women into combatants take place for the past 5 years. There is no ONGOING flavor to the Resolutions and explains why, in the thirst for vengeance the same countries that had a good tete a tete with the tigers are drafting Resolutions against Sri Lanka and drawing non-relevant items into the Resolutions expecting the GOSL would foolishly fall for the trap.

What is ambiguous is that while calling for the investigation to cover period set in the LLRC (2002 to 2009 May), the Resolution is making reference to all sorts of areas that have no relation to the armed conflict. Moreover, humanitarian laws come under the UN Security Council and not the UN Human Rights Council or the High Commission yet there is reference to humanitarian laws as well. We would like to know where all these tactics are bound.

A good look at the Resolutions passed against Sri Lanka highlights the crafty nature of the draft architects.

2-11/1 UNHRC Resolution titled ‘Assistant to Sri Lanka in the promotion and protection of human rights’ passed on 27th May 2009 with 29 countries in favour, 12 against and 6 abstentions. Areas highlighted :

  • acknowledged that LTTE launched attacks on civilian populations and used civilians as human shields
  • appreciated the liberation of tens of thousands of citizens kept hostage by the LTTE and acknowledged GOSL’s efforts to ensure the safety and security of all Sri Lankans.
  • was happy about the GOSL announcement to resettle IDPs in 6 months
  • was happy of the successful rehabilitation of reintegrated former child soldiers
  • urged GOSL to continue to strengthen its activities and ensure no discrimination against ethnic minorities (not an accusation)
  • urged the international community to cooperate with the GOSL in reconstruction, provision of financial assistance.

 19/2 UNHRC Resolution titled “Promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka” was passed on 22nd March 2012 with 24 in favour, 15 against and 8 abstentions.

  • LLRC report and recommendations and its possible contribution to national reconciliation
  • Highlighted that the report does not adequately address serious allegations of violations of international law.
  • Called upon GOSL to implement the constructive recommendations made in LLRC, draw an action plan on the steps GOSL would take to implement recommendations
  • Advice and technical  assistance by office of UN Human Rights Commissioner and special mandate holders was to be provided in consultation and with the concurrence of the GOSL (Office of UNHRC was to provide a report on provisions of such assistance)

 22/1 UNHRC Resolution titled “Promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka” was passed on 21 March 2013 with 25 in favour, 13 against and 8 abstentions.

  • welcomed announcement to hold elections in the Northern Provincial council
  • Acknowledged progress by GOSL in rebuilding infrastructure, demining, resettling majority of IDPs,
  • Again made reference to LLRC offering possible contribution to national reconciliation
  • Noted that the national plan of action did not adequately address all of LLRC’s recommendations.
  • MAKES FIRST REFERENCE TO CONTINUING REPORTS OF VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS ” OUTSIDE OF THE GAMBIT OF THE LAST PHASE UPON WHICH THE RESOLUTIONS WERE INITIALLY BASED.
  • UNHRC Resolution of 2013 has moved towards a totally new area of allegations covering freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, intimidation of and reprisals against human rights defenders, members of civil society and journalists, threats to judicial independence and rule of law, discrimination on basis of religion or belief.
  • UNHRC Resolution of 2013 goes beyond to call upon GOSL to devolve political authority

 25/L.1/REV.1 UNHRC Resolution titled “Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka” was passed on 21 March 2014

  • Makes first reference to land use and ownership
  • Welcomed the elections held in Northern Provincial Council on 21 September 2013
  • Expressed concern on intimidation and retaliation against civil society engaged with UN human rights mechanisms
  • Raises new sets of concerns which are not-related to why the initial resolution was made against Sri Lanka. These new sets covered sexual and gender-based violence, violations of rights of freedom of expression, threats to judicial independence, intimidation of and reprisals against human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists, attacks against religious minority groups,
  • Called upon GOSL to again devolve political authority ” to reach a political settlement on the devolution of powers to the provinces (again non-related to last phase of war on which the first Resolution was based)
  • While claiming as inadequate the national action plan the Resolution states that a comprehensive approach should cover full range of judicial and non-judicial measures, including, inter alia, individual prosecutions, reparations, truth-seeking, institutional reform, vetting of public employees and officials, or an appropriately conceived combination thereof, in order to, inter alia, ensure accountability, serve justice, provide remedies to victims, promote healing and reconciliation, establish independent oversight of the security system, restore confidence in the institutions of the State and promote the rule of law in accordance with international human rights law, with a view to preventing the recurrence of violations and abuses,
  • The Resolution suggests Truth and Reconciliation Commission (ignoring that none of the many TRC’s established at colossal costs have served any purpose whatsoever ” likely to be another trap for Sri Lanka)
  • Claiming that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has concluded that national mechanisms have consistently failed to establish the truth and to achieve justice (whereas none of the established TRCs recommended by the UN systems have succeeded either and questions what justice has prevailed through the UN when the numbers of conflicts have not decreased but have been consistently increasing)
  • Calls upon GOSL to conduct an independent and credible investigation on allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law (the latter does not come under the mandate of the UNHRC)
  • Again refers to non-last phase related items as alleged attacks on journalists, human rights defenders, religious minority groups, temples, mosques and churches, makes reference to a  public protest (Weliweriya), Resolution singles out ONLY the Northern Provincial council calling the GOSL to ensure the Council can operate effectively according to 13th amendment.
  • Mentions the UN High Commissioners conclusion on the need for an international inquiry mechanism in the absence of a credible national process
  • Office of High Commissioner is requested to monitor human rights situation in Sri Lanka, to undertake a comprehensive investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties during the period covered by LLRC (2002 to 2009) and establish facts and circumstances of such alleged violations
  • Oral update to be presented at the 28th session by the Office of the High Commissioner

 Lets not forget that the Resolutions were all started because of violations committed during the last phase of the war. As we proceed the last phase has got washed away and new sets of issues keep getting added on to every Resolution and then uses the 1st to claim Sri Lanka has not fulfilled its obligations!

Let’s also remind readers that the GOSL appointed a Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission LLRC in March 2010 (less than a year after the end of the conflict). There was absolutely no requirement for the UN Secretary General to appoint a Panel of Experts in June 2010. Yet, he did but that appointment was to advise him on a conflict that had ended. It was unnecessary for Ban Ki Moon to appoint a Panel because it was wrong for him to expect a Government to compile a report on 30 years of terror in 2 months simply because he was in a hurry to appoint a Panel. This Panel of Experts is not sanctioned by the UN General Assembly or the UN Security Council but is a PERSONALLY COMMISSIONED PANEL appointed by the UN SECRETARY GENERAL. Therefore, there should have been no hype and no requirement for him to leak the report to the public domain. The man chosen to head the Panel is now said to take over from Pillay ” don’t’ things run between the same people. Yet, the question is how can a personally commissioned report become the primary and principle source for successive country specific Resolutions against Sri Lanka? The entire UN system, the UN Human Rights Commissioner herself is making direct reference to a personally commissioned PoE report and based on that making determinations against Sri Lanka. This is totally unjust, uncalled for and violating the principles on which the UNHRC was established and mandated as well as the core principles on which the High Commissioner herself is to function.

The manner that the UNHRC and the High Commissioner has functioned has broken the rules of the Charter. The nature of the Resolutions, the illegalities and orders issued to Sri Lanka. http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/A.RES.60.251_En.pdf

The High Commissioner according to the Charter (3) a. has to Function within the framework of the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, other international instruments of human rights and international law, including the obligations, within this framework, to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and domestic jurisdiction of States and to promote the universal respect for and observance of all human rights, in the recognition that, in the framework of the purposes and principles of the Charter, the promotion and protection of all human rights is a legitimate concern of the international community; http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/48/a48r141.htm Her bias towards Sri Lanka has been repeatedly brought out but nothing has been done.

Those that would quickly jump to say that the UNHRC can conduct investigations, here is a list of such investigations:

  • UN / UNHRC Commission of Inquiries:
  • 2006 – Palestine ” ongoing conflict
  • 2006 ” Lebanon ” ongoing conflict
  • 2006 ” Beit Hanoun ” ongoing / how to protect Palestinians against Israel attacks – ongoing
  • 2006 ” High Level Mission on the situation in Darfur ”ongoing conflict
  • 2008 ” Technical Assistance to the Democratic Republic of Congo and urgent examination on the situation in the east of the country ”ongoing conflict
  • 2009 ” UN fact finding mission on Gaza conflict ”ongoing conflict
  • 2010 ” Ivory Coast ” again ONGOING
  • 2011 ” UN independent Commission of Inquiry on Libya ”ongoing conflict
  • 2011 – The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria ”ongoing conflict
  • 2013 ” North Korea – Ongoing

http://www.geneva-academy.ch/docs/news/HR-council-inquiry-conference-brief.pdf

But they have all been ONGOING cases. Sri Lanka’s terrorists and ground leadership including the key commanders of the LTTE were all killed. Remnants may remain but they are getting arrests just like Allies are arresting 90 year old Nazi’s.

Moreover, on what logic is one public protest (Weliweriya) mentioned when daily and consistently in America unarmed civilians are getting shot at inside church’s, schools and supermarkets and there are no Resolutions against the US a country that has over 2.4million prisoners with a poor human rights record warranting on what moral grounds US can draft Resolutions on other countries without putting its house in order?

The 2014 Resolution that has been passed has given the UN Human Rights Commissioner a MANDATE she DID NOT HAVE and SHOULD NOT HAVE over and above the other violations that have flowed with the successive Resolutions. It is a pity that the advisors of the Sri Lankan Government have not seen these aspects and completely ignored advice too.  

Its time the GOSL start putting their heads together and along with the rest of the Third World ensure that the imperialist agenda does not tie up former colonies to a new neocolonial agenda under the auspices of the UN and its stooges.

 Please refer : Dharshan Weerasekera’s arguments on the legality of the Resolutions.

http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2014/02/04/the-uns-sri-lanka-strategy-and-its-implications-for-international-law/

http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2013/03/19/the-illegality-of-un-secretary-general-ban-ki-moons-approach-to-sri-lanka/

Archaeologists Find Buddhist Ruins in Kilinochchi

June 6th, 2014

Sri Lankan Army

Archaeologists in the Northern Province have affirmed that the ruins recovered from Shivanagar, Uriththirapuram in Kilinochchi, containing slates, stacks of ancient bricks, Sri Paada symbols, etc, belong to the historic Polonnaruwa era. 

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20 Sri Lanka Light Infantry (SLLI) troops of the 662 Brigade under the Security Force Headquarters – Kilinochchi (SFHQ-KLN) came across the site lying in their area of responsibility by accident and kept the SFHQ-KLN informed of their findings, just a few days ago. 

At the request of Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe, Commander, SFHQ-KLN who himself inspected the place, a team of archaeologists arrived at the site and began extensive investigations, through which they succeeded in finding ruins, identical to a Pagoda of 60 ft in diameter and about 12 ft in height, stacks of ancient layers of bricks, slates with Sri Paada symbol, stone posts with prints of Sri Paada in the middle, etc, all the hallmarks that confirm the existence of a Buddhist temple in the Polonnaruwa period.

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However, archaeologists soon after preliminary investigations have declared the site a sacred archaeological site, pending further excavations, extensive research and comprehensive evaluations, alerting the security forces as well as government authorities to the new recovery. 

Information that had been collected from locals in the area said that a small Pulleyar Kovil existed on the same site in 1940s until the present day Shivam Kovil was built in 1980s in veneration of Lord Pulleyar (1940s) and Lord Shiva and Lord Uma (1980) respectively with offerings (Pooja) being held. 

Additional information gathered alleged that in 1965 when the Kurukkal (chief priest) was engaged in clearing the shrub jungles around the Kovil, he came across the ruins of a Pagoda, some Buddha statues, stone carvings as well as a Bo tree in the premises, but LTTE terrorists destroyed the large Buddha statue in the temple and threw its pieces and debris away into the Shivankulam tank which is close to the Shivam Kovil in the same area. 

The facts brought to light further confirmed that there had been a Samadhi Buddha statue of about 4-6 ft tall and a statue of a lion plus a moonstone in the past, but the terrorists had however felled the Bo tree and replaced it with a Palmyrah tree later on before the place was called ‘Nagalingam’.

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Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe, Commander, SFHQ-KLN, Colonel N.P Akuranthilake, 662 Brigade Commander and several senior officers visited the location soon after its discovery by troops serving there.

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Minister Gamini Lokuge briefs ILC on Sri Lanka National Human Resource and Employment Policy and its Work Plan

June 6th, 2014

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka Geneva

Hon. Gamini Lokuge, Minister of  Labour and Labour Relations has said Sri Lanka prepared a comprehensive National Human Resource and Employment Policy and its Work plan after having had extensive discussions with all relevant stakeholders including trade unions and employer representatives with the blessing of the President of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Minister Lokuge made this observation at the Plenary of the 103rd Session of the International Labour Conference on 4th June 2014.

Full Statement of Hon. Minister of Labour and Labour Relations is attached herewith.

Statement by Hon. Gamini Lokuge, Minister of Labour and Labour Relations of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

Plenary of the 103rd Session of the International Labour Conference ” 04 June 2014

Mr. President, Vice presidents Distinguish Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen

Mr. President, Global labour migration will be one of the most important determinants of migration in the coming years and in turn will be greatly influenced by migration. Therefore, at the outset, I wish to extend our congratulations and appreciation to the Director General for his impressive and thoughtful report in which he has suggested 8 initiatives to be implemented for fair migration. In achieving objectives of fair migration, Sri Lanka recognizes the importance of tripartism, coherence, and standards.

I also would like to appreciate the ILO for having undertaken general survey and submission of its report to the ILC on Minimum wage fixing mechanism. The report includes valuable information.

In Sri Lanka we have minimum wage fixing mechanism for private sector workers what we call Wages Boards. In order to simplify the process of wage fixing mechanism and to introduce common wage policy for the entire workforce, the Government of Sri Lanka recently established the national pay Commission. I hope the information of this report would be useful for the pay Commission in its preliminary work.

Employment is crucial for socio-economic development. Specially, since we are in the post crisis period, issues relating to employment and its situation need to be addressed and evaluated. Hence, I do appreciate the Governing Body of the ILO for having selected recurrent discussion on Employment as the follow up to the ILO declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization. This declaration called for member states of the ILO to pursue policies based on the strategic objectives namely, Employment, Social protection, social dialogue and fundamental principles and rights at work.

Accordingly, Sri Lanka prepared a comprehensive National Human Resource and Employment Policy and its Work plan after having had extensive discussions with all relevant stakeholders including trade unions and employer representatives with the blessing of the President of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa.

In this regard, I personally as the Minister of Labour and the Government of Sri Lanka appreciate the extensive support and fullest cooperation extended by the ILO through its technical cooperation.

This year at the ILC we do have a discussion on facilitating transitions from informal to formal economy as a standard setting item as well. Most of the developing countries have large informal economies. In Sri Lanka it is about more than 60%. The workers in the informal economy suffer without decent work. Therefore, measures need to be taken in order to protect their rights of employment.

I believe that standard setting along is not sufficient to formalize the informal economy because; it deals with economic structure and level of economic development. Therefore, it is necessary to create an enabling environment for them to come out from the informal to formal. Providing financial assistance, infrastructure facilities, information on available market places, upgrading business knowledge and skills and supporting to establish cooperatives to gain benefits of the economies of scale are very important in this regard.

  1. President, Sri Lanka hosted a world Youth Conference, last month in Colombo and Youth employment was one of the main areas discussed. In future, number of activities is to be carried out as a result of the conference. As ILO extended its support to the youth conference, I request ILO to continue such support to implement the initiatives with regard to youth employment in Sri Lanka.

Last but not least, I would like to appreciate the reform process initiated by the Director General and hope that it will bring benefits to the constituents of the ILO.

I thank you

 

Thirteen Amendment and so-called ‘Solutions’

June 6th, 2014

S. Akurugoda

Responding to Ranil Wickremsinghe who raised a question on the reports which said the Indian Prime Minister had told President Rajapaksa to work towards implementing a ‘solution’ by devolving powers beyond the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, External Affairs Minister Prof GL Peiris has told Parliament that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had conveyed Indian PM that Sri Lanka couldn’t devolve police powers under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

The message said to have been passed onto to Indian government is an evident that there is a tremendous pressure from India to stick onto the Indian ‘solution’ due to their own regional, economic and political interests.

The above statement of the Minister Peiris is a confirmation that the President has agreed to go ahead with the 13th Amendment without police powers. Since the government is also talking about the PSC (Parliamentary Select Committee) to formulate so-called ‘solutions’, it appears that the 13A without police powers is the basis of the of the SLFP solution to initiate further negotiation with other political parties and TNA (if attend) at the PSC.

It is well clear that the UNP is for the full implementation of 13A and even to go beyond since its leaders were responsible for introducing 13A and even agreeing with the so-called ‘co-chairs’, once, to have a full federal system as a ‘solution’. JHU has already withdrawn from the PSC saying that the party has no faith on it. It would be interesting to see the outcome of the PSC (if move ahead) since all the other parties, with the exception of JNP (Jathika Nidahas Permuna) and MEP, are also ardent supporters of devolving powers beyond 13A.   Thus the frustration of the JHU and the JNP today is well understandable.

On the other hand, according to another report, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva has said that India has no right to dictate what kind of devolution system we must have. ‘Neither India nor any other country has the right to tell Sri Lanka what kind of devolution system it must have. It is for Parliament of Sri Lanka to decide and the appropriate forum to debate the issue is the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC).

As the Minister de Silva pointed out, India should not advice Sri Lanka what powers it should give its provinces, just as Sri Lanka does not advice India on what powers it should devolve to its states questioning the legitimacy of the 13 Amendment saying that it was imposed by India in 1987 as part of the Rajiv – JR Pact.

Mr Nimal Siripalada de Silva, as per the media report, went on to say that the SLFP, then in opposition, had agitated against the Accord in July 1987. Unfortunately, most of the SLFP politicians including its current leaders have forgotten the fact that the SLFP under the leadership of Mrs. Sirima Bandaranaike, not only agitated against the Rajiv ” JR Pact, but boycotted the first Provincial Council elections too.

When Rajiv ” JR Pact was signed amidst curfew, the function was boycotted even by some ministers of the UNP government including its Prime Minister R. Premadasa. Those UNP parliamentarians who opposed the Rajiv ” JR Pact, which paved the way for the 13th Amendment, had no alternative but to vote for it since JR had already taken them ‘political hostage’ by keeping undated resignation letters signed by MPs in his pocket. The only UNP parliamentarian who had the courage to leave the party and the cabinet opposing the 13th Amendment was Mr Gamini Jayasuriya. The extent of the country’s opposition to the treacherous agreement was notable when a sailor attacked the Indian PM while the latter was receiving the guard of honour.
Failure of India to disarm the separatist groups and to restore peace, unilateral declaration of Independence by Chief Minister Vartharaja Perumal of the very first North-East Provincial Council in November 1989 and utter failure of the existing PCs in the South (apart from becoming white elephants to the entire nation) are clear examples of the futility of the Indian solutions based on the Rajiv-JR Pact.

The validity of the enforcement of any solutions proposed under such a Pact is highly questionable, under the present circumstances, since the India has failed to fulfil its main obligation vis- -vis disarming the separatist groups. The people of Sri Lanka have completely rejected the treacherous Pacts signed by J.R. Jayewardene (with India) and later by his nephew Ranil Wickremasinghe (with Velupillai Prabhakaran) during subsequent elections. The political party led by them is in disarray today with no chance of winning popularity due to its past and current failures.

The recent humiliated electoral defeat of the Congress Party of India may directly connect to its domestic policies than its international policies. However the Congress party with a history of abetting Tamil separatist groups to destabilise its neighbouring country and went all out to coerce into submission by invading the air space challenging the sovereignty while almost forcing the country’s democratically elected leader to sign a hurriedly prepared document (called ‘Agreement’) endorsed by the same Tamil separatist groups, has been given the right place (at last, by the Indian people) due to its failed policies through decades. The chances of returning to power again depend entirely upon the performance of the current ‘Modi’ regime.

Hence, what moral right is there to force Sri Lanka to stick onto the so-called ‘solutions’ of the said Pact, after the Sri Lankan security forces managed to eradicate the terrorist outfit when India’s intervention proved to be an utter failure and at a time both parties responsible for signing the so-called ‘Agreement’ have been rejected by the people of both countries?

One claim for separatism is the existence of a (mythical) traditional Tamil homeland. If there was any evidence of such a homeland, Tamils would have made their ‘claim for a separate state’ from British rulers, who favoured minorities (in several ways) as a part of their ‘divide and rule’ policy, prior to independence. Although there were claims for 50 to 50 representation in the legislature from Tamil leaders to maintain their ‘gained superiority complex’ under the Colonial masters, there was no mention of traditional homeland claims from the Tamil representation. Traditional homeland theory was not existed at that time, because they had no time to destroy all historical evidence of the Sinhalese Buddhist civilisation in the north and east of Sri Lanka and to rewrite/interpret the history in their favour.

In fact, page 773 of the Oxford Dictionary published in 1924 identifies ‘Sinhalese’ as, 1. Adj. Of Ceylon 2. N (pl. the same). A S. native, the S. language while page 1133 identifies ‘Tamill as, n. Member, Language of a non-Aryan race of S-E India [Native]. According to the definitions of the same words in the Oxford Dictionary published since 1990, ‘Sinhalese are migrants from North India now forming the majority of population in Sri Lanka whereas Tamils are inhabitants of South India and Sri Lanka’.

It is not the intention here to write at length on this issue since there are several books and articles written by eminent writers on the above subject of mythical Tamil homeland.

Another claim as sighted by the propaganda machinery of the separatists is ‘marginalization by majority ethnic Sinhalese’

As Foxwatch in The Sunday Island of September, 10th 2006 correctly identified, before rushing headlong in to irrevocable constitutional change which may not work, we must be sure what the problem is, before blindly formulating a solution. The Maha Sangha brought up this basic issue in a Resolution on the devolution proposals of the time, on March 5, 1996 Clause 3 read:

“Whereas the government declares that the constitutional amendment are aimed to solve the Tamil problem and to correct the historical injustices caused to the Tamil, this conference of the Maha Sangha demands that the government declares in what ways the Tamils have suffered any injustices purely because they have been members of that community and in what ways and in what ways the Sinhalese who constitute 74% of the population have special privileges by virtue of being Sinhalese….”

What is really happening in Sri Lanka today is that the political wings of the militarily eliminated LTTE, TNA and GTF with the moral backing of their counterparts (MDMK, DMK and AIADMK) in Tamil Nadu   are now exploring every possible political avenues, to achieve what the LTTE failed to gain, with an intention of carving out a mono-ethnic separate state. Unfortunately our power hungry politicians do whatever possible, either to hang-on to power or to come to power, without considering the long-term consequences of what they today.

The entire Sinhalese and the Muslims population who lived in the Northern area for centuries were either killed or chased away completely by the extremist racist group. The Tamil political parties formed on racial basis, as their name implies,   are opposing the resettlement of displaced Sinhala people who lived in the Jaffna district and had to leave as a result of ethnic cleansing of the racist groups. According to available statistics, approximately 21,000 Sinhala people lived in the Jaffna District alone in 1971. Today, the Sinhala population is only 674. It is interesting to note that many thousands of Tamils are living in the southern parts of the country in peace with the other communities. In Colombo city alone, the figure is around 2, 59,000 including leaders of TNA.

As the Foxwatch stated in his article, the above request made by the Maha Sangha remains as valid today as when it was made more than eighteen years ago. The question raised should be answered by those who are responsible for implementing solutions, both for public information and to serve as the basis for an enduring solution. If we leapfrog this essential step our “solution” may only create bigger problems down the road.

 

Life Abroad – Part 82-DID DUDLEY’S BOO-BOO TAINT SL POLITICAL LANDSCAPE?

June 6th, 2014

Features-Dr.Tilak Fernando

tilakfenandologo(Continuation of Nicky Karunarathna exposures)

Nicky Karunarathna, as a valuable contributor to this column, who has been exposing a cache of incidents and occurrences on the by-gone day politics in Sri Lanka, has in this instance delved into an area so far ‘unverified’ political landscape in the form of an analysis.

DID-DUDLEY

In doing so, he starts by saying that “sometimes it is hard to fathom in Sri Lankan politics as some guys have reached prominent positions and remained to be internationally recognised as well!’. This he quotes referring to a particular politician who he says was ‘a loner in the Colombo University having only a single friend and one who never intermingled or associated even with his batch mates, but kept both of them to themselves holding hands when they came to lectures and vanished from the scene as soon as lectures were over”.

Paradoxically, by and large, University campuses are meant for students to intermingle with others in a camaraderie fashion and to build up accomplices for their future. Unfortunately “these two particular (mango) friends were misfits for the University life”, he says, despite having hailed from upper echelons of the Sri Lankan society. At the same time he poses the 64 million dollar question as to how such characters have come on to the political platform?

Nepotism

By the same token, he answers by saying it boils simply down to nepotism – “if you have an uncle or father being a powerful figure on the political stage, then the path is open for you to dabble in politics irrespective of your capabilities’ (sic)! J R Jayewardene had many others if he really wanted to bring into political stage, I suppose it is more appropriate to say it was due to a powerful figure, who financed the 1962 coup (Catholic)” (sic).

Delving further into the subject he argues whether “those guys were being groomed by the CIA to carry out their agendas and continues by saying such actions openly take place in other parts of the world, and what more evidence do we need, it is crystal clear on the present interest other countries such as the US, UK and Europe are showing at present on Sri Lanka by trying to push her to the wall with something Sri Lankan Security Forces never did during the final last stages of the LTTE war. When the so called International West does not wish to look at the positive aspect of freeing the country from the clutches of a dangerous terrorist grip which had become cancerous over thirty long years, their one sided interest becomes another conundrum,” says Nicky.

International game

These new found ‘international games’ may baffle the simple mind, but to an intelligent mental power it is a clear-cut anathema because one does not need a PhD to evaluate and conclude the aim of those interlopers who earmark a particular country with all their might, when they cannot defeat such countries, and adopt various strategies to interfere in the internal affairs of such nations on the pretext of democracy or human rights saviours but in real terms becoming subtle dictators!

Nicky Karunarathna’s view seems to be that “Sri Lanka with her utmost civilized records over the centuries should come out with new concepts and new terminology to expose and to denude such international predators’ attempts that take the whole world for a jolly good ride. Commenting on the Communist phobia in Western countries he asserts that the Americans and Australians have gone all out to disrupt countries like Cuba and Chile (Salvador Allende’s Government) with determined efforts to eliminate Communism.

Dudley move

“When the LSSP was a formidable opponent in the political melee at the time, Dudley Senanayake was looking for a man to fight LSSP and not the SLFP or Mahajana Ekasath Peramuna! He, therefore, artfully introduced R. Premadasa to the political stage to disparage and insult his opponent with a most fetid mouth which was never known amongst the mostly educated lot in the political arena within the Sri Lankan society at large. This paved the path to open the political floodgates of the dirty filthy politics in the country” (sic).

“Ranasinghe Premadasa frequently visited Dudley Senanayaka’s mansion in Borella – Woodlands – at the beginning of his political career. By and bye, Dudley allocated his stables area at Woodlands to help Premadasa operate his political activities from an office there. Dudley was a generous man, he donated R. Premadasa 10 perches of land to build his residential home in the same compound (Woodlands) at Borella, and donated a black Morris Minor too which was Premadasa’s first car in life” (sic)”. R. Premadasa rose to the position of President of Sri Lanka, from early beginnings as a Colombo Municipal Councillor and then the Mayor of Colombo.

“Sri Lankan politics have never been on a precise tract from the right beginning, each and everyone holding their own hidden agendas as much as agendas of other foreign powers to carry out. The LSSP was a very powerful political party once upon a time with fire breathing comrades like, NM. Colvin, Lesley and Philip in the forefront, which was seen as a major headache for the UNP, especially to Dudley Senanayake that made him finally go into the political oblivion after the 1953 Hartal, saying he was suffering from an abdominal disease”!

Environmental history

‘Unlike these days people didn’t take the highways to walk or they never crisscrossed gardens and alleyways on their journeys on foot at that time. Even Maradana was a deserted area then, where a person was hardly seen on the road; pedestrians trespassed through others’ gardens to reach their distances and attended to their day-today activities without using any tarred or main road’.

Maradana railway station clock tower was a famous landmark. There were only three Magistrates working for the entire Colombo District at the time. One magistrate had recorded in his diary how he had gone to Maradana for deer hunting! Even the affluent and the rich went on horseback those days from Borella to Avissawella; the Colombo racecourse too was full of activity and in prime condition which goes to say how rural even the heart of Colombo had been!

Gam Udawa

According to Nicky Karunarathna “R. Premadasa also did irreparable damage by his Gam Udawa program to the fabric of the Sinhala/Buddhist culture that had been so long meticulously guarding by coining the most illiterate theme to damage the very fabric that interwove Sri Lankan culture. It is that same candle that burns today in churches, temples and kevels! (“Kovile, Pansale and Palliye dalwenne ekema pahanaki”).

In the context of dissection, there is no similarity among these three institutions which have completely different philosophies. May be the Kovila and the Church shares some similarities as both being God orientated, but the Buddhists completely hold on to an opposite view of a creator! ‘The Question that arises here is whether the CIA coined the Gam Udawa slogan and given it to R. Premadasa with which the majority of Buddhists were taken for a jolly good ride’? The pressure applied by these International powers and their undercurrent activities are now been felt which, during that era, were controlled by their agents in Sri Lanka quite professionally in a concealed and manipulatory fashion.

“What these Christian hegemonies have done to other Buddhist countries is documented in their most infamous ignoble past. Ironically, the British Prime Minster David Cameron openly says now to the world at large that they (UK ) are a Christian country but intolerably harassing Sri Lanka in a most brutal manner since the Rajapaksa brothers saved this country from a very dangerous precipice” (sic).

‘If the prolonged terrorist war had to continue for another few years, the main actors behind the war, and The Puppet Master (Northern Catholic Priest) would have had the biggest say in the entire country with the TNA. In such circumstances when one compares their utterances now with the predator community, what would have been the writings on the wall in the future of this country and the Sinhala race’?

tilakfernando@gmail.com

 

The Dhamma School in Jaffna that Teaches Buddhism in Tamil

June 6th, 2014

Translation by Sudath Madugalle.

 A Translation of the Article published in the Sinhala ‘Divaina’ newspaper of May 11, 2014

At a time when archeological sites and artifacts were still being discovered as evidence of Buddhist heritage in the Jaffna Peninsula, the dark omen of terrorism started clouding the peace of the entire Buddhist nation. People in the peninsula drifted away from Buddhism not leaving even a scant clue evidencing its Buddhist heritage. This was a time when one could not even find one person who could recite a Buddhist prayer leave alone a monk that could deliver a Budddhist sermon. There was no one to spread the message of kindness and loving compassion to youth falling rapidly into the clutches of terrorism.

Now when the dark clouds of civil conflict have been dispelled and peace reigns supreme in this blessed land, we came across one man who is trying to spread the soothing balm of the Dhamma among people in the Jaffna Peninsula. Arunnethwaraththam Ravi Kumar lives in Manipay, Jaffna. During the reign of terror in the North, he made a living as a tuition master.

Our parents are all residents of Jaffna. But I had my school education till grade 10 in Bandarawela. I returned to Manipay in 1979; but the political situation there was deteriorating fast.

Ravi Kumar started to narrate his life story to us.

His peers among the youth in Jaffna were getting drawn into brandishing weapons. They were in ‘high spirits’ about their new found power. How did the young Ravi Kumar feel about all this at the time?

Since I lived in Bandarawela during my school days, I associated mostly with the Sinhalese. I knew about them and understood them quite well.

Life in Jaffna in the meantime was taking a strange turn. Friendly ties between Tamil families were fading away. One could not go from one family home to visit another. Divisions between them were deep and marked strongly on the basis of the Caste System. But in Bandarawela things were very different. There were no ethnic tensions between the Sinhalese and the Tamils. We moved with one another as friends. There was no division according to caste or creed.

My father was an Inspector of Police. He told me that 36 different groups had taken up arms. They were fighting among themselves. Father and son shot each other because they belonged to two separate groups. It was during this time that I started teaching Botany as a tuition master.

One day, Terrorists came in and told me that I had to stop these classes. They wanted to speak to these students, but I was against it. Prabhakaran was getting powerful at this time. He was going about terrorizing people. He even came to my house and demanded that my students be taught their political doctrine.

As I could not tolerate all this I left for India. I was then married, with a five year old child. But I left alone. When I started receiving death threats I decided I would try my best to save my life. I was first in Chennai then I lived in Mumbai, working as a travel agent.

The saddest part of Ravi Kumar’s life was beginning at this time. When the terrorists could not get hold of Ravi Kumar who had left the shores of his motherland because of fighting among the terror groups, they took revenge on his wife.

“I got information that my wife had been abducted. I felt very depressed about my life. ..”

“One day I had a good experience in Tamil Nadu.”

Ravi Kumar was recalling a 30 year history. It was not simply a personal narrative; it was intertwined with socio-political issues of the time.

“Once Prabhakaran had come to Tamil Nadu to assassinate Uma Maheswaran. Neither of them was well known at the time. MGR who was the Chief Minister tacitly supported them. But the police chief at the time DIG Mohandas did not like them. He arrested Prabhakaran who was armed with a pistol at the point of time of arrest. He had been remanded in Thenampette, where I went and saw him when I got the information. But I could not speak to him. He was then freed on the orders of MGR.”

Ravi Kumar was feeling increasingly desolate at this time. His wife had disappeared. His daughter was growing up with relatives. Conditions in the Northern Province simply did not allow Ravi Kumar to go back. He felt the need for peace of mind very strongly. He started going about looking for solace from wherever he could find it.

“I felt tremendous pain and anguish when I was reminded of my wife and child. I wanted to lead a religious life. I went to ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’ centres and observed those practices for some time. Later, I became a Pentecostal religious follower for a while. I stayed at the Golden Temple of the Sikhs following Sikhism. But none of it worked.”

“One day I chanced upon a meditation centre called Battadiya. I practiced meditation for ten days. I liked it.”

“At Hare Rama you had to dance. That was difficult. Here they taught you the Dhamma preached by the Lord Buddha. In the meantime I practiced Anapanasathi Meditation very well. I became a lecturer in meditation in the same institute. The Sinhalese were always peaceful. They practice the Dhamma and worship the gentle Lord Buddha. But the deities worshipped by the Hindus are violent. So are the films that many Hindus watch. Both have influenced the Hindus into becoming violent.”

Ravi Kumar began to move closer and closer to Buddhism as every new experience he gains in life has strengthened his convictions in Buddhism and the confidence he has placed on his Buddhist faith. He was now not satisfied with finding solace in Buddhism only for himself, but wants others also to share the feeling of the soothing peace of mind it brings.

“Therefore I started a Dhamma School in Jaffna.”

“It is called Nandarama Dhamma School. Also, I have now founded the Jaffna Buddhist Association. The Tamil people have now only got to send their children to this institution. Tamil politicians told these people that Buddhism is a Sinhalese Religion. They misled the Tamil people to keep away from Buddhism and the Temple. They should not be deceived any longer… they should experience the Dhamma for themselves.”

“On the other hand they have converted many Hindus to Christianity. They gave prominence to Christians among the terrorists. Who is Anton Balasingham….? They wanted to convert the Tamil people to Christianity and create a Tamil Eelam. That is why they kept telling the Tamil people ‘the Buddhists are against you, the Christians are with you and support you.’ 50% of the Tamil people are already Christians. Many of those among them belong to Pentecostal and the like.”

“When I started the Buddhist Dhamma School, Suresh Premachandran accused me of trying to destroy the Tamil Culture by doing so. I asked him about American Missionaries and about what they were doing. The ordinary Tamil women wore colorful Sarees. They wore quite a lot of jewelry. Now they dress in white sarees according to American missionary dictates and pressure. Normally a Tamil woman would wear white only when her husband dies.”

“Now do you see who has destroyed the Tamil Culture?”

Ravi Kumar carries on with his work by himself. He has started the Dhamma School in his home. At present 50 Tamil children are taught the Dhamma at this school.

“I need the support of the Sangha. The Sangha should be encouraged to engage in teaching Buddhism to the Tamil people before they travel to Europe to spread Buddhism among the White people. Come to Jaffna. Preach the Dhamma to the Tamils without fear.”

“I ask the Tamil people of Jaffna not to look at Buddhism in suspicion. When you go to the Temple, even the gods will be there. If the present trend of religious conversion among Tamils people continues 80% of the Tamil people in Jaffna will become Christians. The balance 20% will turn to Islam. That will destroy the Hindus, as well as the Buddhists. We are one family. If we fight among ourselves those in the neighboring houses are the ones who would benefit.”

“The Tamil youth in Jaffna and the children approve of what I am doing. I appeal to the Sangha and the Government to help me carry on my work.”

Ravi Kumar is resisting doggedly against the evil forces of ‘Maara Sena’. He is seeking support to spread the Dhamma in the Peninsula. This Vesak Poya Day the moon shines as if to shower Ravi Kumar’s efforts with noble blessings. The moon alone will not be able to illuminate a peninsula long draped in darkness. It will also need the aid of the men of the caliber of Ravi Kumar to do so.

Sri Lanka : Who says 13th amendment is NOT IMPLEMENTED?

June 4th, 2014

Shenali D Waduge

Some birds like to chirp the same song. 13th amendment has come to be that song. The singers of course are many though we must wonder whether they have even read the 13th amendment. But, they enjoy nagging about the non-implementation of the 13th amendment at every forum be it at UNHRC, UN delegations or even during the chit chats and handshakes when diplomats and foreign envoys arrive in Sri Lanka. The 13th amendment is quite a fashionable topic and just mentioning the word is meant to scare the day lights out of our politicians.

The 13th amendment comes with the emphasis on devolution of powers and one wonders what the foreigners actually mean by ‘meaningful’ devolution. For devolution to become ‘meaningful’ must it satisfy the foreign entities or should it be relevant and useful to the citizens of Sri Lanka? An answer is rarely given and we hear only the 13tha chorus.

But, we need to get something cleared out with regard to the items that were listed to be devolved.

Firstly, what are to be devolved.

Secondly, how can the items to be devolved be actually devolved. This is important because simply because the 1st says to devolve, the 2nd factor must operate within the legal framework of the Constitution of Sri Lanka (not India, not America’s, not UK’s, not Navi Pillay’s or Canada’s).

Who says that the powers assigned to be devolved have not been devolved?

Executive power is exercised by the Government who is appointed by the President of Sri Lanka and the Legislative powers are exercised by the Provincial Councils.

List 1 contains 37 subjects to be devolved. These subjects come under the legislative powers given to the Provinces. Executive and Legislative powers of the 7 provinces have been devolved and in operation since 1987.

The Government cannot be blamed if the 7 Provincial Councils have been ineffective and while police powers have not been given the efficiency of running the 36 subjects are questioned.

In the case of the Northern and Eastern Provinces, the appointment of Governors had been made since 1987.

Just because the Provincial Councils have not been given Police or Land powers, the Provincial Councils cannot complain that powers have not been devolved. The 36 subjects that have been devolved to them are evidence to deny this claim.

Police powers and Land Powers have NOT BEEN devolved to any of the other provinces. It has been denied for national security reasons.

Moreover, the Supreme Court ruling has held land powers under the Government “State land shall continue to vest in the Republic…”.

What needs to be made clear is that apart from Police powers, all other 36 subjects have been devolved to ALL 9 Councils and they can make statutes and implement the devolved powers on education, local government, roads and bridges, social service, agriculture, agrarian services, rural development, health etc.

In addition, the List III, gives a Concurrent List that the PCs can exercise concurrently with the Central Government.

Why is the Northern Province and Foreign Governments and India insisting on police powers to the North?

When the PC system has been running throughout Sri Lanka ever since 1987 without police and land powers given, why are the foreign governments insisting on police and land powers after the Northern Provincial Council began functioning following the end of terror? Why did India or any of the foreign governments not chirp this song in relation to the other provincial councils of Sri Lanka? 

Moreover, is it not relevant too that with more Tamils living outside the Northern Provincial Council, if they can live without land and police powers and have been doing so since 1987, why should Tamils of the Northern Province only seek land and police powers?

Lets not forget that when the first merged North-East elections was held, the EPRLF ran the Provincial Council without land or police powers! India never brought up issue of 13tha with land and police powers then and neither did any of the other foreign governments presently breathing fire down the Government.

Moreover, does it matter who administers law and order, so long as law and order prevails?

Without chirping the 13tha not been implemented song what the international community must start asking is what have the Northern Provincial Council being doing with the subjects that have been devolved and under their purview? This is where our former Supreme Court Judge and Chief Minister will get stuck in answering. What has he and his TNA done for the People of the North ever since they took over the Northern Province with the money that the Government has been allocating? Is this not a better song?

Let’s not forget that if it is the question of 13tha being devolved ” it has been since 1987. Simply because certain subjects that have national security interests have not been devolved it is not a case to say that 13tha has not been implemented.

Next is the need to tell the Northern Province that is making the most noise about 13tha not being implemented to get on with what they have first. When people of the North who did not vote for the Members have to put up with them, then Wigneswaran and team must learn to get on with the Governor that the President of Sri Lanka has appointed.

Moreover, given the historical links of the TNA to LTTE terror, any Government will be considered insane to grant police powers and the public continues to question why the Government is hesitant to use 6th amendment against the politicians who make up the TNA for their open canvassing of separatism in Sri Lanka.

What the chorus on 13tha need to also realize is that there is a Constitutional provision to treat all citizens equally which immediately checks the present calls for ONLY Tamils and their aspirations to be addressed. This is something that the Government needs to make clear about in issuing statements at all international forums without simply promising to look into the aspirations of the Tamils and realizing that they cannot because it would undermine the aspirations of the rest of the people in Sri Lanka. The lack of clarity has been one key reason for everyone to be continuously running round the mulberry bush and going round in circles for decades. The handouts engaging Sri Lanka to promise 13tha ” full, plus and any other adjectives used should now cease in the light of the ground realities that 36 subjects are well in control of the Provincial Councils and it is really time to stop fooling the public.

Modi Euphoria in Sri Lanka

June 3rd, 2014

By Charles.S.Perera

When N Modi was elected the new Prime Minsiter of India, there was a pandemonium amoung the writers in e-mail forums and Sri Lanka media.  It was as if it was the appearance in India of a  man  equal to that of King Asoka.

No doubt it was the end of Nehru era.  But not an occasion for euphoria.   Little by little we come to realise that though  things are not the same,  the actors in India who manipulated the Sonia-Manmohan Singh Indian Central government to make  Sri Lanka which eliminated  a most ruthless and a well financed, well equipped terrorism a simple violator of human rights a war criminal, are back at work.

While Narendra Modi became the acclaimed Prime Minister of India, Jayalalitha became the acclaimed Chief Minister of Tamilnadu. Jayalalitha has begun her hate campaign against Sri Lanka and to what extent she will be able to influence Narendra Modi to be at her beck and call for fear of a break away of TamilNadu from greater India is yet to be seen.

However, Narendra Modi’s first contact with the President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapakse had been to ask him to give the Tamil people of Sri Lanka their aspirations for a life of equality, justice, peace and dignity in a united Sri Lanka. This, immediate reaction of Prime Minister Modi on meeting the President of Sri Lanka was the indication of the falsity of the Modi euphoria.

It should have put into the block heads of Sri Lankans in no uncertain terms that  though India has changed its political leadership the bureaucratic state behind the state functions unabated and that Narendra Modi has already been put in the designated path of administration  making him demand the President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapakse  for an early and full implementation of the 13th Amendment  and plus.

Narendra Modi has already been put into an administrative “box” as far as Sri Lanka is concerned and his thinking  would be limited to what his administration may “feed” him.

Gujarat from where Nrendra Modi comes  has strong connection with Buddhism, and numerous ruins of ancient monasteries and caves with signs of their occupation by  Buddhist monks are evidence of the presence of Buddhisms.  That alone does not make Narendra Modi a Buddhist and willing to uphold Buddhism against his Hindu belief.  That would therefore not be a reason for him to have greater sympathy towards the cause of  Buddhist Sri Lanka.

Narendra Modi is more acceptable a leader as far as Sri Lanka’s cultural background  is concerned, as Gandhis’ were highly westernised and merely paid lip service to Buddhism.  Late Jawaharlal Nehru was described as a Hindu agnostic and about religion he had said,

“The spectacle of what is called religion, or at any rate organised religion, in India and elsewhere, has filled me with horror and I have frequently condemned it and wished to make a clean sweep of it. Almost always it seemed to stand for blind belief and reaction, dogma and bigotry, superstition, exploitation and the preservation of vested interests.Nehru considered that his afterlife was not in some mystical heaven or reincarnation but in the practical achievements of a life lived fully with and for his fellow human beings: “…Nor am I greatly interested in life after death. I find the problems of this life sufficiently absorbing to fill my mind,” he wrote.

Hence Modi is a more acceptable Indian to Buddhists.  He started the day he was to take his oath as the Prime Minister of India not with a Hindu Pooja but  by a visit to Raj Ghat the mausoleum of late Gandhiji.  He paid respect to a picture of Gandhi in his office.  Therefore politically Sri Lanka cannot expect special treatment because of Modi’s state connection with the ancient ruins of Buddhist presence.

It is therefore important  for Sri Lanka to take actions independently as a Sovereign State  whether such action is acceptable or not to India.  Politically India my not change its present relations with Sri Lanka which it had with India under Manmohan Singh  regime.

It is already late for Sri Lanka to await evolution of  attitudinal changes amoung the Indian politicians. Sri Lanka should have removed the 13 Amendment which serves no purpose along with the departure of the Indian Peace Keeping Forces.  Five years after the elimination of terrorism Sri Lanka is still burdened with the obnoxious 13 Amendment. Some one in the governing System in Sri Lanka should think of changing the present Provincial Council system, by substituting it with a  more people friendly system beginning the political power development from village level- the ancient Gamsabha System.

Dayan Jayatillekes, Vasudeva Nanayakkaras, Dew Gunasekara and the rest have nothing to propose hanging onto  the tail of end of the 13 Amendment written and presented by Indian bureaucrats and imposed on us by the Indian Government of late Rajiv Gandhi.  It is a shame for the Sri Lanka politicians and intellectuals, who seem to have gone  bankrupt of progressive political ideas to be adopted for the post terrorist-evolution of Sri Lanka.

All the difficulties with regard to reconciliation of communities come from this absurd Amendment 13 to the Constitution of Sri Lanka.  Sri Lanka is not short of  Sinhala pandits who want to do away with the executive Presidency but none to propose a system without the 13 Amendment.  Ranil Wickramasinghe who has just returned after learning how to dump governments from MIT is only attacking the Rajapakse family Regime without proposing an alternative to it.  Ranil Wickramasinghe is a specialist in appointing Committees, and now proposing  writing new constitutions.

The former Commander of the Armed Forces Sarath Fonseka went to America, and came back a rabid politician without even learning to speak the respectable language of a politician calling his adversaries  by anima names. Ranil Wickramasinghe after his  month’s training in MIT  seems to have learnt that  personal attacks  of the Rajapakse Regime,  which he now compares to  a loose tooth about to fall, could bring about the expected fall of the Regime. He insists that his supporters should concentrate only on toppling the Rajapakse Regime.

That means neither the leader Ranil Wickrmasinghe nor its Party has put forward a practical means for a regime change.  Modi euphoria has not come to UNP as they depend more on the West for a regime change in Sri Lanka rather than  through a possible Indian intervention.

Ranil Wickramasinghe and UNP were more close to Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh  whose  connection with America, UNP expected more appropriate to destabilise the Rajapakse regime.  Hence election of Modi whose relations with America cannot still be evaluated, was no reason for euphoria in the UNP camp.

India has no role to play

June 3rd, 2014

By Nalin de Silva Courtesy: Island

NarendramodiNew Indian Prime Minister Modi is a cultural nationalist who has to depend on western economic models and political structures. It is unlikely that the Indian “intellectuals” would come out with indigenous economic models and political structures during the “reign” of Mr. Modi. They will not even formulate a philosophical framework based on Hinduism though the BJP government is Hindu as a cultural movement. As in the past they and the rest of the country would merely recite Bhagavad Gita and quote from Ramayana and Maha Bharatha. In this respect they are not different from their Sri Lankan counterparts who could quote the three Pitakas Sutra, Vinaya and Abhidhamma without creating anything new in a cultural context. When so called intellectuals who are supposed to have given a head to the nationalist movement follow western Christian objectivity and generalize their personal experiences in poems according to western Christian theories on narratives lectured by self proclaimed “gemiyas” (villagers) living in the west it is clear that we have a long way to go.

The path that would be followed by Mr. Modi was revealed at the ceremony held in connection with his taking of oaths as the Prime Minister of India. He had invited the leaders of the SAARC countries but one wonders whether it was to extend the hand of friendship to them or to remind them that India is the leader of the region. From what has been leaked to the press, India has already begun to raise its ugly head as the “big brother” of the region, under Mr. Modi even exceeding the “brotherly love” extended under the previous Congress governments. While we welcome the nationalist attitudes of Mr. Modi and the BJP the new Prime Minister has to be reminded that Sri Lanka is an independent sovereign state with a nationalism older than that of India and with a history only second to that of China. Three of the major states in India, namely West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu stay outside the orthodox Hindu nationalism of India and Mr. Modi should concentrate on those states without taking on the states of the SAARC countries. The SAARC countries have different cultural nationalism with Pakistan, Bangladesh and Maldives sticking to Muslim nationalism and Sri Lanka being a Sinhala Buddhist country.

Mr. Modi has apparently told the President of Sri Lanka to go beyond the thirteenth amendment. What right the Indian Prime Minister has to tell (it is not even a request but appears to be an order) the Sri Lankan President what the latter has to do in connection with internal politics? In this connection it has to be reminded that the thirteenth amendment to the Constitution is a result of the Indo Lanka Accord, which was imposed on a weak president of Sri Lanka by a strong prime minister of India with the aid of a self appointed viceroy in the name of Dixit.

The Indo Lanka accord on which India depends to exert pressure on Sri Lanka, for all purposes, is now defunct as India has failed to fulfill any of its obligations. For example 2.16 of the Accord says : “2.16 These proposals are also conditional to the Government of India taking the following actions if any militant groups operating in Sri Lanka do not accept this framework of proposals for a settlement, namely,

a) India will take all necessary steps to ensure that Indian territory is not used for activities prejudicial to the unity, integrity and security of Sri Lanka

b) The Indian navy/coast guard will cooperate with the Sri Lankan navy in preventing Tamil militant activities from affecting Sri Lanka.

c) In the event that the Government of Sri Lanka requests the Government of India to afford military assistance to implement these proposals the Government of India will co-operate by giving to the Government of Sri Lanka such military assistance as and when requested.

d) The Government of India will expedite repatriation from Sri Lanka of Indian citizens to India who are resident here, concurrently with the repatriation of Sri Lankan refugees from Tamil Nadu.”

India did not prevent the LTTE from operating on Indian soil, and ironically had to pay the price for not doing so with the life of one of the signatories to the Accord. The IPKF was a total failure and managed to keep “war” and not peace. If left to itself it could have made pieces of the country and kept them. The referendum that was supposed to be held under 2.3 of the Accord was never held and finally the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka ordered that the Northern and Eastern Provinces would function as two different provinces. The two provinces cannot be united now and the Accord in effect has been declared null and void. It should be reminded that the whole purpose of the Accord was to make sure that the Northern and the Eastern provinces were “governed” as one unit.

The accord also made provisions for the following:

“2.8 Elections to Provincial Councils will be held within the next three months, in any event before 31st December 1987. Indian observers will be invited for elections to the Provincial Council of the north and east.

2.9 The emergency will be lifted in the Eastern and Nothern Provinces by Aug. 15, 1987. A cessation of hostilities will come into effect all over the island within 48 hours of signing of this agreement. All arms presently held by militant groups will be surrendered in accordance with an agreed procedure to authorities to be designated by the Government of Sri Lanka.

Consequent to the cessation of hostilities and the surrender of arms by militant groups, the army and other security personnel will be confined to barracks in camps as on 25 May 1987. The process of surrendering arms and the confining of security personnel moving back to barracks shall be completed within 72 hours of the cessation of hostilities coming into effect.”

No elections were held as envisaged by the Accord however the emergency was lifted and the army was confined to the barracks, though the terrorists did not surrender all the arms, and hostilities by them were not stopped. The Accord if at all was in effect against the government of Sri Lanka and its armed forces.

Though the Accord referred to provincial councils, no provincial councils were established in July 1987, and neither had they been defined. The provincial councils bill and the thirteenth amendment came later, and the Accord referred to undefined entities called provincial councils. Thus the Accord had no validity and it is clear that it was a rush job and like many such rush jobs it was doomed to fail.

In any event the people in the Northern and Eastern Provinces belong to Sri Lanka and not to India, and India has no role to play in the internal politics of Sri Lanka. It is clear that the Eastern Province has now overcome the prejudices of the leaders who were nurtured by the west and India, but the TNA leaders continue to rush to India at the drop of a hat. The government of Sri Lanka should consider the case of a political party going to a foreign country to have discussions with central or state governments on internal political matters of the country, and whether it is in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic. These discussions amount to a conspiracy against the state and if there are no provisions to prevent them conspiring against the state then new provisions have to be introduced without delay. The government should not be bullied either by big brothers closer to home or by big “cousins” in the west.


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