Peace for the World

Peace for the World
First democratic leader of Justice the Godfather of the Sri Lankan Tamil Struggle: Honourable Samuel James Veluppillai Chelvanayakam

Friday, March 16, 2018


Sri Lanka BriefCamelia Nathaniel.-16/03/2018

Former Senior DIG Prasanna Nanayakkara who is currently in custody, had been involved in concealing evidence and displacement of the diary of journalist Lasantha Wickramatunge and for the removal of pages of the police report, the CID told court yesterday.

This was revealed when the case relating to Lasantha Wickramatunge’s killing was taken up at the Mount Lavinia Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

The CID also asked the magistrate to issue an order permitting the Police forensics lab to examine the phone details of the Ex- DIG. The judge granted approval for it and issued an order.

The involvement of the Senior DIG in concealing evidence and hampering the investigation on Lasantha’s killing, was established by information revealed to the CID by the former OIC (Crimes) of the Mount Lavinia Police Tissasiri Sugathapala, earlier.

The Mount Lavinia Magistrate further ordered the two suspects currently in remand custody, Former Senior DIG Prasanna Nanayakkara and former OIC (Crimes) of the Mount Lavinia Police Tissasiri Sugathapala to be further remanded until March 29.

OIC, Gang Robbery, IP Nishantha Silva and ASP Tissera represented the CID.

“The former DIG had instructed the officer to refrain from continuing with the investigations. Further, certain pages of Lasantha’s notebook had been removed and replaced. This information was found only after the CID took over the investigations two years ago. The investigations into the killing had commenced 9 years ago but no progress was made as these high ranking police officers were trying to conceal the evidence and preventing the investigations from moving forward. All these parties had banned themselves together to sweep the investigations under the carpet. This former DIG had acted upon the instructions of the former IGP Jayantha Wickramaratne,” the CID source said.

On January 8, 2009, Lasantha Wickramatunge was killed by two assailants who had followed him on a motorcycle at Attidiya. Yet, although investigations were initiated into this crime, the case remained stagnant with no noteworthy progress.

However, the present government recommenced the investigations, since assuming power, and evidence pertaining to this crime have been surfacing gradually.

Information had also been revealed that Lasantha Wickramatunge’s diary which had been found in his car at the time of his assassination, containing all his details, his mobile phone, and, several other items had been given by SI Sugathapala to an SP who had then given it to the DIG and then to the IG, and eventually, to a high ranking government official. This information had also come to light during the interrogation of SI Sugathapala.

The CID told the Daily News that the two motorcycles believed to have been used by Lasantha’s assailants had been found to belong to a person from Ja-Ela, and the other belonged to a person in Nugegoda. However, in 2008, the owner of the bike from Ja-Ela had met with an accident and the motorcycle had been in police custody. The other motorcycle from Nugegoda had also been put up for sale by the owner. It is being investigated as to how these motorcycles had been used for the crime, but investigations being revealed also points to police involvement.

Meanwhile, the CID had also sought a court order to provide special security to the two suspects currently in remand. Previously Jesudasan, the primary suspect in the murder of Lasantha Wickramatunge, died while in remand prison. Similarly, the two youths who were named as Lasantha’s killers, from Vavuniya, were found to have been killed previously and their bodies had been burnt a few days prior to Lasantha’s assassination on January 1, 2009 by an unknown party and their charred bodies were found in the Anuradhapura area. Therefore, the CID had raised concerns about the safety of the two main suspects currently in remand.

Courtesy Daily News. /Image from LeN.

Sirisenas – Maharaja lured by filthy lucre eye Russian warship deal while Australia gifts 4 more vessels and two engines free !

LEN logo(Lanka-e-News - 16.March.2018, 6.30PM) It is while  Sirisenas , wheeler dealer Maharaja and their group are  leaving no stone unturned to grab a huge illicit commission through the purchase of a Russian warship, the Australian government gifted free two engines of modern Bay class vessels to Sri Lanka (SL). The Australian High Commissioner to SL Brice Hutcheeson gifted these engines officially to Navy commander Rear admiral Piyal De Silva on the 14 th.
These engines were gifted to be fitted to the Bay class vessel ‘Mirikatha’  that was gifted to SL by Australian government in 2014 for coastal  security operations.
Another three coastal security  vessels are to be  gifted to SL towards the end of the year , Hutcheeson said when speaking at the function.
Australia jointly with the SL Navy is engaged in training ,  exchange of information , and gifting of equipment, and the operations conducted during the last four years to  stop human smuggling to Australia had been successful , Hutheeson further pointed out.
SL is now having a huge fleet of coastal security vessels .Following the free gifts made by India (two vessels) ,  America (two vessels) ,Australia (four vessels) and Japan (three vessels), SL now  has 11 vessels for coastal security operations.  It is now crystal clear therefore  , while there are so many security operation vessels for coastal protection , why Sirisena family and mahajara Maharaja are still trying to purchase the Russian warship  - obviously lure of filthy lucre.
Meanwhile , the Sirisena -Maharaja group is going to purchase from Russia 10 helicopters (MI  171 SH) ,   two cargo planes (76 MD) , 6 attacker planes (SU 30) , according to media reports.
These were to be purchased from Rosoboronexport Co. However because this Co was blacklisted by European countries and America , the purchase is to be made now by mahajara Sirisena –Maharaja team from another Russian Co, ‘Rostec ‘ dealing in nuclear energy, which details were reported by Lanka e news earlier on. 
The UNP of the consensual government remaining silent in this connection  is a matter for rude shock and surprise. 
by     (2018-03-16 13:02:34)

Sri Lanka: The Human Rights Crisis In The Tamil North & East – An Appeal For International Intervention

Dr. Brian Senewiratne
logoI am a Sinhalese from the majority community in Sri Lanka. I have campaigned for the past 70 years for the Tamil people to live with equality, dignity, safety and without discrimination. I cannot think of any time in the past seven decades that the outlook for the Tamil people has been more disastrous than it is today.
Sri Lankan (Sinhalese) politicians are simply incapable of addressing the major human rights problems faced by the Tamil people. They do not have the ability, integrity or honesty to see that what has been done to the Tamil people in the North and East is unacceptable.
This publication is being written for circulation at the 37th Sessions of the Human Rights Council in Geneva (27 February – 23 March 2018) so that those who attend the Sessions will be apprised of the major abuse of human rights in the Tamil North and East, and the absolute need for international intervention.
A military/police state in the North and East
The North and East of Sri Lanka are not under the Sri Lankan government but under the Sri Lankan (Sinhalese) military (99% Sinhalese) and the police (95% Sinhalese). It is a military/police state where the military and police can do what they want with no accountability.
16 of the 19 Divisions of the Sri Lankan Army are in the North and East. There were 170,000 members of the military at the end of the armed conflict in 2009. A year later it went up to 200,000 and the next year it was up to 300,000. The ratio of soldiers to civilians the North-East is 1:5, in Vavuniya it is 1:3.
The Adayaalam Centre in Jaffna and PEARL (People for Equality and Relief in Sri Lanka) in Washington, titled ‘Normalising the Abnormal. Militarisation of Mullaitivu’ published in October 2017, says that the ratio of military to civilians in Mullaitivu is 1:2. There is no place in the world which is so highly militarised.
The military and police are responsible for all the serious violations of human rights of the Tamils people in the area.
The writ of the Sri Lankan government does not run in the North and East. As such, international intervention is mandatory for humanitarian reasons. If nothing is done the Tamil people in the area will simply wither away since they have no means of survival – no land to cultivate, no sea to fish, no jobs and unable to set up a business sine all of these have been taken over by the Armed Forces.
If the Tamil people wither away, it is genocide.
The Tamil Tigers have been crushed. The question is the justification for such a massive military presence. Who is the enemy? Since there is no justification, the military must be withdrawn and the police recruited from the local Tamil population. This is imperative and urgent. It will not happen without international pressure.
The military getting involved in non-military activity
The Armed Forces have gone into non-military commercial activity. They are engaged in large scale property development, construction projects and business ventures such as travel agencies, holiday resorts, restaurants and innumerable cafes in the North and East. Some of these holiday resorts have been published by the British Tamils Forum (see below).
This non-military activity is having a serious impact on civilian life and must be stopped. The military has no place in business activity.
The centralisation of power in Colombo must end
Sri Lanka is a British colonial construct that has failed – as have so many colonial constructs.
For hundreds of years there were three separate Kingdoms – a Tamil Kingdom in the North and East, a Kandyan Kingdom in the centre (Kandyan Sinhalese) and a Kotte Kingdom in the South (Low country Sinhalese).
It was the British who in 1833, the Colebrook-Cameron ‘reforms’, unified that which was divided with no consent from the people, and worse still, centralised power in Colombo. This has had a disastrous effect on the country. To make things even worse, when the British left Ceylon in 1948, they handed over the country to the Sinhalese despite serious protests from the Tamils that they feared discrimination at the hands of the Sinhalese. The very least the British could have done was to have left a Federal State for the Tamils.
If what the colonial British did was wrong, what followed after the British left was worse. From Independence (1948), the Sinhalese governments totally isolated the Tamil homelands from all economic development programs undertaken with massive foreign aid from donor countries. As a result, over the past seven decades, while the Sinhalese people and their homelands have prospered and flourished, the Tamil people and their homelands in the North and East have suffered and become the backyard colony of the Sinhalese.
It is essential that all of this is reversed and power to govern is returned to where it was, if there is ever going to be peace and justice in Sri Lanka. This will simply not happen unless there is massive pressure from the international community, especially the aid-givers.
Fear and Insecurity in the Tamil North and East
The overwhelming problem facing the people in the North and East is fear and insecurity. They are justifiably afraid of the Armed Forces, Police, Sinhalese who have been settled there and are supported by the Armed Forces and Police, Tamil paramilitaries working with the government, and, alarmingly, fear of each other. No one is confident that what is told to someone might not be conveyed to someone else for monetary gain.
One such case is described in my book “Sri Lanka: Sexual Violence of Tamils by the Armed Forces”. A prospective asylum seeker who wanted to flee Sri Lanka found that just before he left, the Armed Forces got all the details. This happened over and over again. He then realised that the information was being passed to the Armed Forces by a member of his family for financial gain.
Living in insecure homes is another major problem. Armed Forces and Police can kick the door down (if there is one) and sexually assault those inside – including children. A photograph of one such case is in my book on Sexual Violence.
Until the Armed Forces are removed from the North and East, this fear and uncertainty will remain.

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Geneva side event:UN panel member challenged over Vanni death toll claims

Ex-UK diplomat, Spanish judicial official in Sooka’s team

by Shamindra Ferdinando-March 17, 2018, 12:05 pm

Former member of parliament and retired Navy Chief of Staff Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera has sought an explanation from UNSG Sri Lanka panel member, South African human rights lawyer Yasmin Sooka as regards sharp discrepancy in the much-touted UN Vanni death toll and the British wartime dispatches from its diplomatic mission in Colombo.

Weerasekera has challenged the International Truth and Justice Project’s (ITJP) executive director Sooka at a side event at the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Thursday (March 15). Sooka has asserted that numbers didn’t matter and refrained from responding to the specific query raised by Weerasekera, who made an intervention at a discussion titled ‘Combating Impunity in Sri Lanka’ meant to highlight war crimes allegations directed at wartime Vanni Security Forces Commander the then Maj. Gen. Jagath Jayasooriya.

The UNSG panel comprised one-time Indonesian Attorney General Marzuki Darusman, US lawyer Steven R. Ratner and Sooka.

Weerasekera has stepped in after Sooka alleged that the Sri Lankan military massacred over 150,000 though the UN panel estimated the number of civilian deaths at 40,000.

Side events take place on the sidelines of Geneva sessions scheduled to continue till March 26.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government brought the war to a successful conclusion in May 2009.

The Global Sri Lanka Forum (GSLF) has fielded a team in Geneva to counter anti-Sri Lanka propaganda in the absence of government initiative.

Zooka’s team at Geneva meet included Carlos Castresana Fernández, public prosecutor, Spanish Supreme Court and former British diplomat Ann Hannah, Acting Director of Policy and Advocacy, Freedom from Torture. The panel called for universal jurisdiction in Jayasuriya’s case.

Weerasekera has asked how the UN continued to justify over 40,000 deaths regardless of Lord Naseby’s disclosure in UK parliament last Oct based on unquestionable British military dispatches from Colombo. The naval veteran pointed out that British reports tallied with a comprehensive UN report that dealt with Vanni death toll from Aug 2008 to May 2009.

The then British defence attache here Lt. Colonel Anthony Gash estimated the number of dead at 8,000 with one fourth of them being LTTE personnel. The UN report placed the number of dead, both combatants and civilians at 7,721 by May 13, 2009.

The audience was reminded by Weerasekera how international military experts had challenged the UNSG report. Weerasekera has asked whether Sooka was making an effort to justify the flawed UNSG panel report by moving court in Brazil in respect of war crimes allegations against Jayasuriya in 2017. Jayasuriya, returned to Colombo on completion of his term as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Brazil in the wake Sooka moving court against one-time Army Chief.

Weerasekera yesterday told The Island that the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government owed an explanation to the country as to why absolutely no effort was made to disprove lies propagated in support of the Geneva project. An irate Weerasekera said that Sooka’s sidekick Carlos remained mum when he was reminded that he accused Sri Lankan military of war crimes even without setting foot in the country. Weerasekera has challenged the Spanish national to justify his declaration that Sri Lanka deserved to be charged for war crimes due to what he called overwhelming evidence of deliberate civilian killings. Weerasekera has pointed out that international experts, including Maj. Gen. John Homes (British Army) cleared Sri Lanka of war crimes after having visited Sri Lanka. Weerasekera alleged that the government lacked a cohesive plan to defend the country.

The previous government allowed battlefield commanders to be interviewed by foreign experts.

A Canadian Tamil participant has accused Weerasekera of being in charge of the Navy at a time sailors bombed Point Pedro. The Canadian claimed that at the time of that incident he was small but remembered the navy carrying out the attack. Weerasekera has asked Carlos whether such blatant lies were considered as overwhelming evidence against the Sri Lankan military.

Weerasekera has told the gathering that those who lived in luxury in the Western world pursued anti-Sri Lanka campaign and the Canadian Tamil was one such person.

On the previous day, March 14, Weerasekera requested the Geneva body to suspend implementation of Resolution 30/1 pending reappraisal of the circumstances leading to Sri Lanka co-sponsoring the controversial proposal.

The following is the text of Weerasekera’s statement received by The Island courtesy GSLF: "Today we speak about the human right situations that require council’s attention.

The High Commissioner in his report A/HRC/37/23 on Sri Lanka updates the Council on Sri Lanka’s implementation of resolution 30/1. My remarks pertain to the High Commissioner’s report.

In March 2017, I filed two reports which conclusively rebutted the OISL report of the High Commissioner which alleged that Sri Lankan forces committed war crimes. The OISL report is the basis for resolution 30/1.

The foreign Minister of the SL government co-sponsored the resolution without the approval of the President and the Parliament of Sri lanka.

Continuing to implement a resolution based on a flawed report is a breach of the principles of the UN Charter, and therefore a grave violation of the human rights of all Sri Lankans. It is the People of Sri Lanka who have to ultimately suffer the consequences of ill-advised UNHRC resolutions.

The Human Rights Council is not above the law.

Having exhausted all my options in bringing this situation to the attention of the Council, I have filed a Complaint Procedures petition. Normally, the Complaint Procedures mechanism is used against States, but I have adduced cogent reasons why the mechanism must cover complaints against the UNHRC or the OHCHR.

I request the Council to impose a moratorium on all actions related to resolution 30/1 pending a decision on my Complaint."

SL team to submit lawsuit challenging UNHRC’s conduct

A lawsuit compiled by a team of legal experts with the input of Sir Geoffrey Nice QC would be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Monday challenging the procedure adopted by the UNHRC itself to pass the resolution on Sri Lanka, the Global Sri Lankan Forum (GSLF) today said.
The petitioners of the lawsuit, which is the first ever lawsuit against the UNHRC, are retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara and Federation of National Organisations Convener Dr Gunadasa Amarasekara.
On behalf of the two petitioners, the GSLF, the Federation of National Organisation and the Professionals for Better Future will hand over the petition to the Communication wing of the UN on Monday (19).
Addressing a news briefing, Professionals for Better Future Director and Secretary Darshani Lahandapura said the UNHRC was not immune to charges.
“The procedure which was adopted by the UNHRC with regard to the resolution Sri Lanka is a breach of UN clauses and illegal. We are challenging this procedure and demand an order preventing Sri Lanka from implementing the recommendations of the resolution,” she said.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s Representative of the GSLF Nuwan Bellanthudawa said according to the article 2 (7) of the UN Charter, the UN has no power to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.
Ven. Bengamuwe Nalaka Thera said the attempt of the GSLF to file the lawsuit was a challenge at a time when the Tamil Diaspora and other NGOs speaking against the country at international platforms.
Dr Gunadasa Amarasekara, one of the two petitioners, said the US and the UN were attempting to destabilise the country by threatening the Governments.
“They simply want to divide the country,” he said. (Lahiru Pothmulla)

FIVE PCs say bill needs two thirds, REFERENDUM

Seven Special Determination petitions challenging the constitutionality of the bill entitled the Judicature (Amendment), a bill to amend the Judicature Act No.2 of 1978 was yesterday fixed for argument on March 19 by the Supreme Court.
President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva, Gamini Marapana PC, Sanjeewa Jayawardena PC, Manohara de Silva PC and Kushan de Alwis PC appearing on behalf of the petitioners yesterday made their oral submissions against the concerned bill. They argued that the bill shall become law only through a two-third majority in Parliament and the approval of the people at a referendum.
The three-judge-bench comprised Chief Justice Priyasad Dep, Justice Buwaneka Aluvihare and Justice Nalin Perera.
Meanwhile, thirteen parties including Megalopolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka and State Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva had filed intervention petitions in support of this bill and the oral submissions on behalf of these intervention petitioners are to be made on the next date.
Seven Special Determination petitions had been filed by Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Chairman G.L. Peiris, Joint Opposition leader Dinesh Gunawardene, BASL President U.R. de Silva and four others. They stated that the concerned bill would vest in the ‘executive’ with arbitrary powers to decide as to whom to be tried before the proposed High Court and thereby deprive the citizens of equal application of the Criminal Procedure, which is essential for the upholding of the ‘Rule of Law.
In their intervention petitions Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka, State Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva, State Minister Eran Wickramaratne, Deputy Minister Karunaratne Paranavitharana, State Minister Ajith P. Perera, Prof. Sarath Wijesuriya, Saman Rathnapriya, Jayadeva Uyangoda, Attorney-at-law K.W. Janaranjana, Gamini Viyangoda and Jagath Premachandra sought Court’s intervention to make their submissions.
They also sought a declaration that the bill shall not become law through a two-thirds majority in Parliament and the approval of the people at a referendum.
The intervention petitioners further said the clauses of the said bill are not in violation of and inconsistent with Articles 3, 4(a), (b) (c), 12(1), 12(2), 13(3),14, 14(1)(g) 27, 75, 83 and 84(2) and the other Articles of the Constitution.
President’s Counsel J.C. Weliamuna, Dr. Jayampathi Wickremaratne PC and Saliya Peiris PC appeared for the intervention petitioners.
Additional Solicitor General Yasantha Kodagoda PC with Additional Solicitor General Priyantha Nawana PC appeared for the Attorney General.

Counsel tells SC: Bill to amend Judicature Act politically motivated

Romesh de Silva

by Chitra Weerarathne- 

President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva in objecting to the Bill to Amend the Judicature Act, yesterday told the Supreme Court that the Bill did not refer to the establishment of the Permanent High Court Trial-at-Bar.

The Bill assumed that such a Permanent High Court Trial at Bar is in existence but it was not so. Hence the Bill could not be proceeded with De Silva P.C. said.

He said the Minister might establish a Permanent High Court Trial-at-Bar whenever he so wished.

The Minister could specify location by publishing a gazette notification. The Attorney General or Director General of the Commission to Investigate Bribery or Corruption, might initiate proceedings in the Permanent High Court Trial-at-Bar.

The set-up will interfere with judicial independence. It violated Article 154(B), 100 of the Constitution of Sri Lanka.Article 154 (B) is very specific.

Accordingly, every High Court is empowered to hear the criminal offences within the Province.

After this proposed Bill is enacted an offence might be committed in Hambantota and the Minister would decide on the province where the High Court inquiry was to be held, the counsel argued.

Some people might be tried under the new Act while another could be charged under the old one for the same kind of offence. This is unequal treatment in violation of Article 12(1) of the Constitution of Sri Lanka, said de Silva.

The Attorney General and the Director General of Bribery would be empowered to determine which offences should be tried in the new High Courts.  That was violative of Article 12(1) on equality, 12(2) on freedom from discrimination and Article 10 on the Right to think. That could target persons politically. If the Chief Justice appointed the three Judges to the new High Court, then the Minister could not decide the location. The Attorney General or the Director General the bribery commission, could not decide on the persons to be prosecuted - that will interfere with the independence of the judiciary.

This violated Article 4(C) of the Constitution and also Article 12(1) on equality and 12(2) on freedom from discrimination. There could be undue targeting, De Silva, PC explained.

The Judge couldn’t be compelled by the impending law on the postponement of cases. The right to a fair trial was denied. It violated judicial power enshrined in Article 4(1). The right of a lawyer to practise his profession, free of external forces was also denied in violation of Article 14(1) of the Constitution of Sri Lanka.

Romesh de Silva supported a petition, against the Bill.

He appeared for the President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, U. R. de Silva P.C.

President’s Counsel Gamini Marapana supported a petition by Professor G. L. Peiris, objecting to the Bill.

He appeared with Kaushalya Molligoda and Navin Marapana.

Gamini Marapana endorsed the position taken up by Romesh de Silva PC that the Bill did not refer to the establishment of the Permanent High Court. It had put the cart before the horse; without reference to the establishment of the Permanent High Court Trial-at-Bar, it referred to the procedure to follow.

The right to postpone cases denied the right to fair trial. If the family member of a counsel died how could he appear in the court? He needed a postponement.

This Bill sought to give the power to the Executive Officer of the State, to take away a case from the Magistrate’s Court and place it somewhere else in violation of the independence of the judiciary, Counsel Marapana maintained. The Attorney General and the Director General of the bribery commission would be interfering with the independence of the judiciary.

The Bill carte blanche to the Attorney General and the Director General Bribery, to send any case before the Permanent High Court Trial-at-Bar.

A day-to-day trial prevented an accused from retaining a counsel of his choice, Gamini Marapana said.

The Bill did not refer to serious crimes such as rape, child abuse, murder. It was politically motivated.

The fundamental right to a fair trial would be denied if the Attorney General and the Director General Bribery decided in which Permanent High Court a case should be heard. Let the Chief Justice decide such issues without completely eroding the judicial powers.

The Counsel requested the Supreme Court to declare that the Bill violated the judicial power of the courts, and was, therefore, unconstitutional.

President’s Counsel Sanjeewa Jayawardene endorsed the submissions previously made by de Silva and Marapana. He objected to the Bill, stating that the Bill did not refer to the establishment of the Permanent High Court Trial-at-Bar.

It was a case of putting the cart before the horse. He appeared for Prof. Channa Jayasumana.

The Bill eroded the powers of the Chief Justice, he said. Waging of war, terrorism, murder, rape kidnapping were not given prominence in the Bill at issue.

Serious criminal offences had not been highlighted, he said.

It seemed to be politically motivated. Victims of rape, murder of family members, drugs had been ignored

Manohara de Silva P.C., supported a petition, which objected to the Bill. He said the Bill of that nature needed to be approved by a two-third in Parliament and by people at a referendum.

He appeared for Dinesh Gunewardene.

The bench comprised Chief Justice Priyasarth Dep, Justice Buwaneka Aluwihare and Justice Nalin Perera.

‘You have not only jeopardized your country but even ours ‘ Modi slams Sirisena to the face !

LEN logo(Lanka-e-News - 16.March.2018, 4.30PM)   ‘Not only you plunged your own country into dire peril    but even India’ Indian prime minister Narendra Modi roundly blamed president Maithripala Sirisena.  According to diplomatic sources , Modi had bitterly  berated Sirisena the currently 4 % popularity  president of Sri Lanka (SL)  when the latter attended the solar power conference in India recently . 
By SL opening too many doors much more than are necessary for China , it has driven the entire Indian zone into  dire peril  , Modi had pinpointed. Sirisena in his defense  had said, there are stipulations in the contract entered into regarding the Hambantota Port and Colombo port city  with China , that those cannot be used as war zones.

Modi disdainfully rejecting  Sirisena’s explanation  had asked  to his face ,who is the fool who fights a war according to requirements on paper? 
When Sirisena was trying to blame it on the P.M. Ranil Wickremesinghe by saying those were done by him , to exculpate himself , Modi had replied , ‘ We have a better understanding of your P.M. We know him,’ while saying ‘ ‘I know who chased India from Sampur .’ When  listening to that , Sirisena was dumbfounded. (Sirisena was behind that).
It is the view of Diplomatic divisions,  no matter what , Modi’s  attitude can be considered as a refusal to the face of president Sirisena, and   that India does not accept him. This portends ill to the future of SL , the same sources added.  
by     (2018-03-16 11:12:05)

The Political Culture, Not Facebook, is the Problem

Featured image courtesy AP Photo/Rukmal Gamage


Organized mob violence against minorities has been a feature of the political landscape in Sri Lanka for several decades. In fact, one could say that it has become part of our political culture.
Thus blaming Facebook and other social media is a way of avoiding facing up to some hard but simple facts.

In all such mob attacks, the idleness or complicity of the Police have been amply documented. Clearly this cannot be due to fear or incompetence alone. The inactivity of the Police is always a consequence of the activity of senior government politicians. This was the case in July 1983, a state-orchestrated pogrom against Tamils in the south of the country. It has been the same ever since in every instance of so-called “religious violence”.

So, how do we prevent future acts of violence against vulnerable minorities?

(1) Interdict senior police officers in those areas where the violence occurred. Their dereliction of duty is a criminal offence. They should not be transferred to other areas where they can continue repeat such betrayals of public trust, but arraigned before courts of law. In such courts, they should reveal whoever in government ordered them to turn a blind eye to the atrocities committed by mobs.
(2) Compensation for affected minorities is insufficient. The President and Prime Minister must take responsibility and apologise publicly to those who have lost limbs, family members, or property. They must personally see that whoever instigated such violence, even if it be senior members of their own political parties, be brought to justice. What we need in Sri Lanka is not more legislation but law enforcement.

(3) The Press Complaints Commission has to be woken up and given some teeth. Who has allowed this body to become moribund? It is not only social media, but mainstream media that have been swamped by “fake news” and fake reporting. In the run-up to the local government elections, the Bond Commission Report’s “findings” were being splashed across front pages of newspapers by journalists who had never read the report themselves. What is called “News’ in Sri Lanka has simply become reporting what some government or opposition politician says, without any attempt to critically question and investigate for oneself. We need not only a free media but a competent and responsible one. (Editor’s Note: Read an account from 2007highlighting shortfalls both in the media and the efficacy of the Press Complaints Commission for context. The most recent statistics from the Press Complaints Commission are for 2015, and show just 7 complaints, 2 of which were resolved, while 3 were considered outside the Commission’s mandate).

(4) The Sinhala-Buddhist community must realise that the biggest threat to Buddhism in this country lies within themselves. It is the Buddhist monks and Buddhist politicians who embrace violence and corruption who damage the credibility of Buddhism, not non-Buddhists or any “external forces”. The latter have often been a convenient scapegoat for the nation’s ills. As long as Buddhist monks and ruling politicians are treated as being above the law, the cycles of violence will continue. In the interest of protecting Buddhism, Sinhala-Buddhism needs to be demythologised as a nationalist ideology by Buddhists themselves.

(5) Far-reaching educational reforms are needed. Sri Lankan history textbooks used in schools should carry different perspectives on the past and not only that of the majority community. Muslim-only and Buddhist-only schools should be persuaded by the authorities to become more pluralistic. Inter-ethnic and inter-religious associations among teachers and schoolchildren should be formed in every district with a view to dispelling caricatures and stereotypes of other communities.

If the present political culture does not change, Sri Lanka will remain mired in a chronic state of social backwardness, always “developing” but never developed, with more tall buildings but dysfunctional institutions and morally stunted leaders.

Editor’s Note: Also read “The Beast Rides Again” and “STF brutality against Muslims in Digana: March 5“. 

Maturing A Fledgling Democracy

Dr. Ruvan Weerasinghe
logoIf there’s a single overarching lesson the Local Government Polls of February 2018 has taught us it is this: united we stand, divided we fall. Before the month passed us by, this has been underlined in the tragic acts of mob violence against the Muslim community in Sri Lanka. What is significant though, is that even a previous regime that arguably bred this kind of communalism has been forced to distance itself from this particular phenomenon, and even condemn it. News of restoration efforts of destroyed properties by all ethnicities in a given community coming together, are further strong signals sent out to the marauding mobs and their political backers, that there’s a better way.
So, what does it mean to stand together united in the Sri Lankan political scene? It means nothing short of abandoning party politics altogether for the sake of the country. This was indeed the mandate that the people of this country gave the incumbent government, which obviously was lost on the current President primarily, and the Prime Minister. What has been most disturbing is the post-election tug-of-war to do exactly the opposite: to try to somehow form a government of one’s own party, even if it means ‘sleeping with the enemy’. We have indeed reached the absolute bottom of our ‘party political’ pit.
Is there hope for Sri Lanka, given this abysmal failure by our rotten political inheritance? I wrote before that the only long-term solution able to insure us against even tyrannical rule is to build a strong civil society: one that would truly act as the conscience of the nation. However, the recent social media clampdown shows how such efforts could be frustrated by governments (however justified it may have been in this case at the onslaught of the violence we experienced).
Here, I want to underline what many others have recently said in different ways: we need a brave and courageous shift away from party politics to statesmanship. Unfortunately, it seems that only the smaller parties have shown any tendency towards this: the JVP and the TNA. Both the SLFP and the UNP need to awaken to the new reality that, what they are up against is not each other, but something far more ominous: a return to a completely different kind of Sri Lanka under a largely intolerant regime based on ethnic chauvinism and a leadership which feeds off the ignorance of its citizenry.
Will the real leaders stand up please?
Can Sri Lanka, rise up from the political pit it has fallen into within 18 months and unite to defeat this menace? That is the proverbial $64m question. The President and the Prime Minister largely will determine the answer to this question. It roughly translates to: can the President forget about salvaging a largely broken party whose majority chose to follow the ‘previous ways’ (possibly owing to the kickback politics it espouses) and concentrate on working towards the best outcome for the country in the next 2 years? Can he rise up once again, as he did, taking a huge risk back in 2014, this time to bring only the progressive sections of the SLFP with him? This incidentally also means shedding some of his Ministers. In short, can he become a real Statesman and forget about his party political ambitions? Doing this, he would give up his ambition of contesting the next Presidential election. If he can rise up to this challenge however, he is sure to gain the credibility of not just the Sri Lankan populace, but the global community. Paradoxically, he in fact, could even be asked to reconsider and contest for that very election as the unanimous common candidate! As it is said, “unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed; but if it dies (to itself and self-ambition), it produces many seeds”.
Similarly, the Prime Minister too has some lessons to learn: to move away from rewarding loyalty (a very archaic cultural construct) to recognizing competence, within his own party, so that a new political culture based on demonstrated evidence of significant achievement (even in other domains) would be cultivated. Bold decisions are required on his part to get rid of the corrupt ‘old guard’ and usher in a new enthusiastic and able generation of politicians who place an intrinsic (not extrinsic) value on local and national governance. This calls for a paradigm shift in the way politics is done in Sri Lanka.
Above all, these two leaders would need to learn true humility: something seen as ‘weak’ in our cultural context. They’d need to learn how to listen: to their constituents, their members (however ‘junior’ they are) and most importantly to members and constituents of the other progressive political parties within and outside a national coalition. These smaller, but significant parties too need to metamorphose from their primarily ‘opposition’ mindset to a ‘governing’ mindset (something which the JVP and the TNA have done intermittently in the past) for the long haul in the interest of the country.

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Sri Lanka must bring redress to victims of violence on all sides

SRI LANKA’S ferocious civil war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam came to an end in 2009, resulting in a death toll of more than 80,000 people and many citizens who remain disappeared.

While the end of the war -despite its means and methods fought- was received with relief not only in Sri Lanka but also by the international community, many hoped that the island would enter an era of sustainable peace, reconciliation and development.
But these hopes and expectations were scattered with the newly inflamed violence against another enemy of the Sinhala-Buddhist state: the Sri Lankan Muslim.

Anti-muslim violence 

The sparking point of this untamed violence was a road-rage incident in Kandy. A lorry driver, a Sinhala, ended up dead, while a group of Muslims was identified as being responsible. Angry Sinhala mobs, incited by Buddhist monks, began attacking mosques and businesses which were owned by Muslims.

They threw rocks, set fires, caused severe damages to Muslim-owned shops and, more worryingly, killed at least two human beings. Dark memories from the anti-Tamil pogroms from Black July 1983 emerged and are omnipresent in Sri Lankan consciousness: hundreds of Tamils were hunted and brutally killed by Sinhala thugs in the public, incited by Buddhist monks and without any governmental intervention. This time, however, President Maithripala Sirisena declared an island-wide state of emergency.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) shakes hands with Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena as he arrives to attend the International Solar Alliance Founding Conference in New Delhi, India, March 11, 2018. Source: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

The violence against Muslims, in any case, is not a novelty – it is an assault that already took place with the first Sri Lankan inter-religious riots in 1916, led by the later Prime Minister of the country, D.S. Senanayake. More recently, Sinhala-Muslim clashes at Aluthgama in 2014 left several dead. The violence, however, is not only and solely directed at the Sri Lankan Muslim.

The United Nations Refugee Agency set up a temporary stay for the Rohingya Muslims fleeing the genodicial attacks by state forces Myanmar (Burma). They had been staying in Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka with the government’s approval and United Nations was providing assistance until a long-term solution was found. However, Sri Lankan monks and nationalists stoned the shelter, prompting its 31 Rohingya occupants – mainly women and children – to flee for their own safety.  Monks stormed also the shelter chanting, “Rohingyas are terrorists” and accusing them of having killed Buddhist monks in Burma.

Violence in post-colonial Sri Lanka

The post-colonial state was always subjected to violence – two chapters are noteworthy: first, the inter-ethnic violence against the Tamils in 1956, 1958 and then 1983 – 2009 and then, second, the intra-ethnic violence against the Sinhala Marxist uprising in the 1970s and 1980s. Sri Lanka is prone to violence, it is conducive to hatred. The question remains: why? The post-colonial state of Sri Lanka nourishes its existence from the ancient myth Mahavamsa.

The myth permits the majority community, the Sinhala, to exist and justify their ownership over the country. Meanwhile, this myth issues a carte blanche to the sovereign to expel, persecute and kill anyone who contradicts the majoritarian narrative rooted in Sinhala Buddhism. Sri Lanka, as we know it today, is run by a fanatic Sinhala Buddhist ideology. This ideology has not only hijacked the governmental raison d’être, it is the very essence of statehood. Anyone who stands against this ideology or differs will be at least an intruder who is granted a status of second class citizen.

A Muslim woman talks with a police crime officer near her damaged house after a clash between two communities in Digana central district of Kandy, Sri Lanka March 8, 2018. Source: Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatte

The eternal desire for an enemy: once the Tamil, now the Muslim

The famous Italian academic Giorgio Agamben had correctly noted that biopower is a thesis instead of a hypothesis and sees it as the very structure of power, directly related to life. The logic of sovereignty, he explains, is a logic of capturing life, isolating ‘bare life’ as an exception. This very life is not only subject to the sovereign’s violence and power over death, but also to quality of the life’s value. This means that the sovereign’s power establishes and perpetuates itself by producing a ‘biopolitical body’ upon which it exercises power.

The Sinhala governmentality is determined by their ethnicity and this ethnicity legitimises their power: Sri Lanka is not a democracy, but an ethnocracy that leaves no room for non-Sinhala Buddhists. Meanwhile, the renewed declaration of the state of emergency is not a new phenomenon in Sri Lanka: with exception of short periods during post-colonial governance, the island has been always under a state of emergency for the sake of state survival.

The state of emergency migrated into a state of normalcy, where human rights were eroded, the enemy dehumanised and the rule of law was made a mockery.

Sri Lanka’s Special Task Force soldiers walk past a damaged mosque after a clash between two communities in Digana central district of Kandy, Sri Lanka March 8, 2018. Source: Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatte

State of emergency not enough

The government seems to believe that the state of emergency will calm the situation and disperse tensions. It will not. Instead, the government must still address the systemic grievances and causes of these interethnic riots and attacks.

Sri Lanka must address issues like accountability for alleged war crimes, enforced disappearances, expedite land returns, and bring justice and redress to victims on all sides, including the often-forgotten Muslim minority. The government should also order an independent investigation into the violence and hold those responsible – even those belonging to influential Buddhist sects or with loyalties to powerful political leaders – to account.

This country must absolve itself from its post-colonial, Sinhala Buddhist emperor’s clothing. Unless this does not happen, the country will be destined for another tragedy.

By Dr Thamil Venthan Ananthavinayagan, PhD (NUI Galway), LL.M. (Maastricht University), Lecturer in International Law at Griffith College Dublin, Ireland.