On Rohana R. Wasala’s “Even you, Minister Ali Sabry? LankaWeb – 01/01/21) as given below.
Posted on January 3rd, 2021

Dr Sudath Gunasekara Mahanuwara. 

This is an article that should be seriously read, understood, chewed and digested and corrective measures taken immediately by the President, Prime Minister, the entire Cabinet first, and second by all the MPP in Parliament including those supporting burial of Muslim Covid 19 corpses.

I think it is better for all who cannot agree with the writer’s discourse should refrain from continuing in politics in this country.

Even you, Minister Ali Sabry?

Posted on December 31st, 2020

By Rohana R. Wasala

A HAPPY PEACEFUL PROSPEROUS HEALTHY NEW YEAR TO ALL LANKAWEB READERS INCLUDING THOSE WHO HOLD CONTRARY VIEWS TO MINE!

Media secretary Viraj Abeysinghe of the Ministry of Health has issued a press statement warning against spreading false information concocted by certain politicians and websites regarding the subject of whether to bury or burn the bodies of persons who have succumbed to the COVID-19 infection (lankacnews-Sinhala/December 28, 2020).

It notifies that the Ministry is turning its attention to some ‘politically motivated fake news’ stories featuring powerful politicians connected with the government. The statement further says that for the time being (daenata) cremation alone is done on the instructions of all the expert reports received by the Ministry so far. Very much the same news was carried in Hiru TV News (9:55 pm/December 27, 2020). Let’s hope that this is signalling an end to needlessly prolonged dilly-dallying on the part of the authorities about an issue where evidence-based science, not a particular religion out of the many, ought  to have the last word.

Interviewed recently by two You Tube channels (Hari TV/Lahiru Mudalige/December 16 and Konara Vlogs/Avishka Konara/December 23) Ali Sabry PC, Minister of Justice, stressed that his struggle is to build bridges rather than walls between the communities. For over eight months now he has been advocating burial of bodies of Muslims who have died of Covid-19 ignoring the decree of the competent authority, the DHS (Director of Health Services). The DHS is acting on the advice of the local experts who know best what is suitable for our country in the current context, i.e., cremation. The reputed lawyer was the legal consultant of (current president) Gotabaya Rajapaksa at least for fifteen years from the latter’s defence secretary days; he has successfully defended the latter against false charges of various kinds fabricated by political opponents. Sabry’s aim of establishing intercommunal harmony is laudable, and he may be sincere in his efforts in that direction, but how sincere is yet to be demonstrated. This is because it is puzzling that he repeatedly warns that young Muslims are likely to be pushed towards extremism by what they’d perceive as a denial of their right to freedom of religion if the health authorities do not allow the burial of bodies of Muslims claimed by Covid-19. His totally senseless stand on the sensitive issue (that must be left for science, but not religion, to resolve) is likely to give a fillip to extremists and other miscreants opposed to the government to create trouble.

During the first interview mentioned above, Ali Sabry made the patently false claim that the Aluthgama and Digana incidents drove young Muslims to extremism, whereas the truth was the reverse of that. (These incidents must be investigated even belatedly to discover the factual situation that then obtained. The disastrous policy of political correctness that led to the submergence of the truth on those occasions then seems to be at work once again.) Sabry referred to how the UK responded to incidents of Islamic extremist violence as a model to follow in dealing with the same problem in Sri Lanka: the UK government reached out to the mainstream Muslim minority and acted to win their confidence and support in order to contain Islamic extremism in that country. He implies that Sri Lanka must do the same (as if Sri Lanka has not been doing exactly that for centuries) or ‘we must kill all Muslims and put them into the sea!’ (The violent imagery in his speech is an indication of the commotion in his own mind resulting from his subliminal awareness of guilt as he feels forced to lie in this situation for political expediency within his own community. He probably fears violent retaliation from extremists for what they might interpret as collusion with infidels in attacking Islam.) He’s been sounding the warning mentioned above since early April 2020. He believes that he is undergoing a sort of public trial by being blamed by both the Muslim community on the one hand who feel aggrieved by the compulsory cremation rule imposed on all citizens by the health authorities for the safe disposal of bodies of Covid-19 victims and the electorally successful nationalist faction on the other led by the monks, who insist that the rule should not be relaxed to satisfy the whims of one particular group of people thereby endangering the lives of the whole population through the possible release of the still inadequately understood novel coronavirus from the interred bodies to the country’s water table, which, in many places in Sri Lanka, is not very deep, and lies close to the surface.

Ali Sabry should  know better than most that there has been no lack of reaching out to the mainstream Muslim minority either by the majority community or by the successive governments. Muslims as a community are mainly engaged in business. Seventy-five per cent of their customer base comprises Sinhalese, making it possib;e for Muslim businesses thrive normally, though there’s been just condemnation, among the citizenry including the majority Sinhalese, of worsening Islamist extremism in recent years. Be that as it may, it is not simply because Sabry has served president Gotabaya in the past as his implicitly trusted personal legal service provider that he was made a national list MP by the SLPP and honoured and empowered with such a very important key portfolio. It is certain that Gotabaya Rajapaksa believes in the Buddhist teaching that ‘a trustworthy person is the best kinsman’, but he is the last to allow personal relationships or personal prejudices to sway governance decisions improperly that affect the national interest (or at least that is what people still believe about Gotabaya). ‘One country One law’ was the rallying cry that inspired patriotic Sri Lankans at both the presidential and parliamentary elections to vote for the SLPP, which won with the largest margins. As minister of justice Sabry has been entrusted with the task of supervising the making of a new constitution that is designed to achieve that epoch making change (namely, One Country, One Law) among other things. Gotabaya made no bones about the fact that he won the presidency almost exclusively on the strength of Sinhalese votes; most Muslims and Tamils chose not to respond positively to his call for support at the presidential election. His bluntness is a reflection of his characteristic candour, which has not been compromised by the hypocrisy of political correctness, his older brother’s unfailing weapon, that fails more often than succeeds.  But Gotabaya holds no grudge against those who rejected him, for in the same breath president elect Gotabaya said that he was elected as president of all the citizens of the country and that he would serve in that post without discriminating against any citizen. There is no doubt about the fact that he means what he says. By appointing Ali Sabry to the all important post of Minister of Justice, the president incidentally reassured the Muslims that he will not exclude them from his vision of prosperity and splendour for the nation.

Ali Sabry  has not budged an inch from his original unqualified opposition to the mandatory burning of bodies of Muslim victims of Covid-19 over which he expressed his disappointment in a Facebook post mentioned in an Al Jazeera news report/April 3, 2020, with the authorities’ decision which, he alleged, ignored the WHO guidelines that allow both burial and cremation. Are we to believe that our experts overlook WHO guidelines without a rational explanation? Sabry deliberately ignores the various reservations that clearly qualify the WHO guidelines, leaving the authorised specialists of any member country to modify those recommendations as appropriate for local conditions and ground realities. The basic assumption that he seems to be operating on, regarding the burial problem, is wrong. For all intents and purposes, he pretends to wrongly believe that the health authorities insist on making no exception for Muslim dead in this case because that is what the monks want.  Ali Sabry is the last person that rational people would expect to demand that Muslims should be allowed to bury their loved ones dead from the novel coronavirus while cremation is the only method legally prescribed by the Director of Health Services (DHS).

This is not a happy thing to say about arguably the most important and powerful minister in the cabinet, being the closest companion of the president, next to the prime minister, who is the president’s own brother. It is inconceivable how Ali Sabry is capable of (no doubt unintentionally) justifying the berserk behaviour of some virus-infected Muslims (as seen in their show of insubordination, noncooperation, physical harassment of the health workers trying to help them including spitting at them (with the malicious intention of spreading the infection); cases were reported of some Covid-19 positive tested individuals spitting out of the windows of buses carrying them to quarantine centres in vicious attempts to spread dreaded infection). Such demonstration of unprovoked anger is based on the false pretext of alleged discrimination against them by the government in the matter of mandatory cremation of Corona dead as prescribed by the responsible health experts to prevent the escape of the deadly virus with many unknowns into the environment. The virus is no respecter of people’s religious sensitivities. If the Director of Health determines that cremation is the only option for Sri Lanka in the current emergency, citizens are obliged to accept that and act accordingly.

Why doesn’t Ali Sabry make an effort to explain to the agitating Muslims and to the misinformed Muslim world in general, who have never been enemies of Sri Lanka, that this blown-out-of-proportion controversy over the burial or cremation issue has nothing to do with the monks or the government or the health authorities or the army and police officers (the last mentioned having been co-opted into the Covid containment operation only as ancillary personnel employed for a strictly logistical purpose to serve under the director of health services, DHS, the government appointed competent authority who gives leadership to the whole enterprise, which involves every single citizen of the country). The cremation imperative is not an arbitrary decision taken by the government to spite the Muslim minority under pressure from the monks as misleadingly suggested by the hostile foreign NGO elements, Islamists, a handful of misguided Muslims, and the irresponsible SJB-led opposition. The DHS is not acting capriciously either; his recommendations are based on a scientific rationale collectively defined by a group of experts belonging to a number of different relevant fields of study in the best interest of all resident Sri Lankans and foreign visitors. Ali Sabry seems to be more concerned about remaining in the good books of the handful of Islamists and their sympathisers than the feelings of the ninety-five per cent of the population who are against them. Is he in the thrall of the five percent? Or could it be the case that Ali Sabry needs to be saved from disguised Islamist apologists and opportunistic schemers, who are at present busy striking while the iron is hot? But one thing is clear: The goal of One Country One Law will be a non-starter so long as Ali Sabry remains Minister of Justice. That is my opinion for what it is worth.

MY comments,

If  what Rohana has stated are correct Ali Sabry cannot and should not continue as a Cabinet Minister in this government any longer, as his stance had been  running counter to that of the President and the Government since he had been making statements and giving interviews to media contrary to the  Government’s  policy of ‘One Country One Law. The gist of Rohana’s article clearly demonstrates that Ali Sabry  is trekking a different path from that of the Government although he is supposed to be an eminent Presidential Council he appears to have clearly violated the principle of collective responsibility which is a cardinal principle of Cabinet Government. The reason for this peculiar behavior I think is his inclination first to think and act like a Muslim though he speaks fluent Sinhala even better than a native Sinhala man. From the analysis of Rohana I also think he plays the role of Dr. Jekil and Hide. (referring to persons with an unpredictably dual nature: outwardly good, but sometimes shockingly evil.)

Rohana also has said that Sabry has served president Gotabaya in the past as his implicitly trusted personal legal adviser which he implies the reason for him to be appointed as the Minister of Justice. Any way if that is the reason as to why he was a taken in as a National list member of Parliament and appointed to the third most powerful place in the Cabinet as Rohana says I think it is a grave mistake. Rohana also has referred to Ali Sabry’s misinterpretations made on Aluthgama and Digana issues. Furthermore in this backdrop entrusting him with the task of supervising the making of a new constitution that is designed to achieve that epoch making change (namely, One Country, One Law) among other things.” Is really dangerous. Appointing the Minister of Justice to supervise the work of that Committee in any case negates the independence of that Committee. Appointing a Muslim to supervise Constitution making for this Sinhala Buddhist State makes it even worse. Even the Advisory Committee on Constitution making appointed by the President has also already run in to serious trouble with regard to its constitution and priorities according to internal sources. Seven Million Sinhala Buddhists who voted the President in 2019 and the Government in 2020 are at a loss to understand as to how a Committee where there is no one to represent the age old traditional Sinhala Buddhist interests to say at least one prominent Buddhist scholar monk. With Ali Sabry’s steam roller authority as Minister of Justice and his personal conviction as A Muslim for which he will always  give unreserved priority , who on earth will believe that this Committee will come out with a Constitution suitable and acceptable to the  this Sinhala Buddhist Nation.

In addition to what Rohana has said on Alisabry in his note The goal of One Country One Law will be a non-starter so long as Ali Sabry remains Minister of Justice”, to state my personal opinion on this issue for what it is worth” any report made by this ill constituted non-independent  advisory Committee on constitution making for this nation will be a day dream” as already this Committee has run in to serious trouble on some key issues like the abolition of the Provincial Councils. According to what I gather from internal sources, the Advisory Committee will finally be compelled to issue will be heavily conditioned by what Ali Sabry will have to say and that draft Constitution  will be definitely rejected by the Sinhala Buddhist majority. But even now he can be a second Luxman  Kadiragamar if he limits his religious convictions to the Mosque and  advice the mad Muslims to bury their Covid 19 dead without creating un-necessary problems for the Government and withdraw from the position of Advisor to the Constitution Advisory Committee

Finally the President and the Government will have to bear the cost of public displeasure Therefore it will be advisable at least now to reconstitute the present Committee and appoint a new one comprising eminent Sinhala Buddhist scholars well versed in History, Archeology, and the traditions of statecraft and law making of the Motherland with at least two eminent monk Scholars. If the President is serious in making a historic Constitution the country needs and the 7 million who voted him in to power aspired him to do.

Last but not least, If the President, the Prime Minister and the Government fail to rectify these immediately or at least in time, the net result of Ali Sabry’s involvement in Constitution making and the Covid 19 Muslim burials issue might end up as political suicide for the government.  

One Response to “On Rohana R. Wasala’s “Even you, Minister Ali Sabry? LankaWeb – 01/01/21) as given below.”

  1. ranjit Says:

    Doc you are correct if the govt fails in rectifying their mistakes in this 2021 year itself it will be suicidical for this govt. If Rajapaksas haven’t learned yet & recognized what were the mistakes they did we pity them. After the war they just ignored LTTE. They thought they were finished & kept quiet without taking any action against the rest of the LTTE murderers abroad & here. Mahinda govt should have showed the world all the LTTE atrocities & Cold blooded murderers on Innocents to the world thru media instead they allowed them to go free talk free & work against the Motherland freely 🇱🇰
    No party will get another chance like now,128 + 22 = 150 plus seats in the parliament, executive Powers for the president & almost all councils etc. in the country. Forget MR he is the supreme leader alright & we gave him a big majority in the last election & was appointed as the PM in Sri Lanka. His place is there for him always as he is the most popular politician in the country today but we expected something different from gota as he was not a politician but a great war hero. His experience in Army & as a defense secretary in the past helped him to win the election with a thumping majority where no other got in the parliament history. Though he is trying to do good for the people somebody or something pushing him back & seems to be little uncomfortable in doing his job. Anyway we know that it is difficult to do 100%good job with the same old set of politicians who were some accused of corruption & wrongdoings. Appointment of Ali Sabri was a mistake in my view. Education,justice, finance, industries , environment, agriculture, health, foreign,trade, lands, public security specially shouldn’t give to any other than sinhala buddhists because we know how others when they were appointed abused their positions in the past. This is My personal view. No need anyone to argue or get hurt about it. I am a sinhala buddhist who likes to see someone someday declare Sri Lanka as a buddhist nation as we sinhalese have only this land to call our home. If each & every citizen born here think as Sri Lankans 🇱🇰☸️ unitedly we can be sure of making this blessed country a decent, peaceful country to live for all, irrespective of their race colour or religion as a family. If this govt governs as we expected corrupt free, transparently, respecting the law it has a future if not I am afraid we have to jump in the sea because I don’t want another yahapalanaya in this country again. UNP JVP TNA Muslim,SJB all are unpatriotic traitors who were dreaming to have power by hook or crook ☎️🐘💰🎩🐃😴👙🗑️.

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