Yahapalanaya (Un)Cloaked

Uditha Devapriya

Uditha Devapriya

By Uditha Devapriya

There is practically nothing wrong in regime-modify. Nothing at all incorrect in speaking about democracy or mourning its absence. Self-righteous words nevertheless do have a limit. They run out of steam the moment these who speak them come to energy. Democracy-deficits are objected to by the same individuals who embrace them when they are elected. Sadly.

The &#8220enemy of my enemy is my pal&#8221 argument holds sway, even so. No 1 is a saint. There are lesser evils that want to be taken in to get rid of higher ones.

What we&#8217re seeing in Sri Lanka nowadays is great governance. &#8220Yahapalanaya&#8221. Maithripala Sirisena has promised it all. Commendably. He has promised to look into past abuses and misuses of authority, to punish these deserving and exonerate these wrongly accused or in other techniques punished. That&#8217s commendable too. But hardly sufficient.

Not every appointment created by a government is political. Qualification-specifications, age-limits and term-limits, and appointment-transparency must be kept. And however, even with all these, there is still something &#8220political&#8221 about appointments made by any regime. Why? Simply because it is the government and in specific the Executive that has to sanction appointment. That&#8217s where the &#8220political&#8221 portion to it crops up, soon after all.

UNPThere is absolutely nothing incorrect in this, even though, provided the necessarily qualification-caveats are met. Providing a post to somebody on the basis of friendship and ignoring the a lot more deserving are indicators of nepotism. With a capital N. Which is exactly where, sadly sufficient, the new regime isn&#8217t going on track.

Upul Jayasuriya is the President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka. That is BASL. He&#8217s a lawyer. An eminent 1. He and his organisation spoke against the earlier government, their abuses and techniques, all the way. Regardless of whether they had been tied to celebration preference (Jayasuriya is a UNP activist) much more than democracy-really like is another story. For now, nevertheless, there are troubles. Big ones.

Jayasuriya has been appointed as the chairman of the Board of Investment. Overlook that he&#8217s a lawyer. Forget that his predecessors at the BOI contain Thilan Wijesinghe. Overlook that the BOI site itself states that he served as a Legal Adviser to the Greater Colombo Financial Commission (the forerunner to the BOI), and that his expertise with economics and finance is limited to this. Overlook all these. What&#8217s crucial is timing.

There are other appointments of course. The Chairman of Lake Home, for instance, is the brother of a former Parliamentarian. That&#8217s a far cry from his predecessor Bandula Padmakumara, who wasn&#8217t even remotely associated to a ruling party stalwart.

Padmakumara, in addition, was removed not only from his post, but from a private channel. And as Colombo Telegraph itself notes, that had to do with his political preference (which, if I may possibly add here, is his correct and his appropriate alone) than the need to have for an unbiased media. Due to the fact let&#8217s face it, why would anyone appoint the brother of a former MP as Chairman of state media? Tp prevent bias? No. Then what? Timing!

&#8220Justice,&#8221 a person said, &#8220must not only be accomplished it must also be observed to be carried out.&#8221 Appearance of bias is undesirable. Kavan Ratnayaka is Lake Residence Chairman. His brother (Sagala Ratnayaka) is a (former) UNP parliamentarian. The UNP holds sway over national policy (i.e. the Cabinet). That&#8217s hardly consoling.

Which is why I worry about Upul Jayasuriya&#8217s appointment. Jayasuriya, for all BASL&#8217s posturing about neutrality, was/is a UNP activist. His predecessor, Wijedasa Rajapakshe, is a Minister under that identical party. Any person who appears at Jayasuriya&#8217s track records and thinks he&#8217s politically non-aligned clearly requirements an eye-test. Regardless of whether or not he is biased towards a single celebration isn&#8217t the question here: the truth is that he&#8217s a UNP activist, and his appointment, specifically given his “credentials” in finance and economics, smacks of &#8220politics&#8221 all the way.

Jayasuriya, to make things worse, has shunned the media ever since his appointment. Why? Appointees are needed, not as a matter of law but as a matter of transparency, to speak about their appointments and credentials. He hasn&#8217t completed that. And there is a purpose for this. As Colombo Telegraph reported, Rajitha Senaratne announced that &#8220all public sector officials&#8221 are to &#8220strictly stick to an Establishment Code and that no comments/information ought to be released to the media without getting prior written approval of the relevant Ministry Secretary.&#8221

Initial of all, Senaratne is not the Media Minister. Gayantha Karunathilake is. Whether or not Karunathilake has endorsed this selection is an additional story. But without questioning state officials, with out questioning credential and track record, we can&#8217t genuinely hope for &#8220yahapalanaya&#8221. Yes, it&#8217s that straightforward. Senaratne, sadly sufficient, hasn&#8217t realised this.

Jayasuriya&#8217s appointment is completed and dusted. So is Kavan Ratnayake&#8217s. Each are &#8220political&#8221, by definition and appearance. I don&#8217t a lot know about Kavan to comment on his track record. But Jayasuriya is an additional matter. When compared to maybe one of the most capable and efficient chairmen our Board of Investment ever had (Thilan Wijesinghe), this appointment seems to be “political” no matter how you appear at it. That is not what we voted Maithripala Sirisena for.

Exposé: Srisena Brothers Continue Rajapaksa Policy Of Blocking Colombo Telegraph

Regardless of the Sri Lankan government’s announcement of freeing previously blocked by the Rajapaksa regime and even soon after the appointment of President’s brother Kumarasinghe Sirisena as the chairman of Sri Lanka Telecom, Colombo Telegraph continues to be blocked.

New President Maithripala Srisena

New President Maithripala Srisena

The new president, who took office on January 9th, has ordered the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission to lift the ban on news internet sites that had been blocked below Rajapaksa.

Right after the presidential elections of the 8th of January 2015, the Internet blocking that was taking place at the mobile operator Dialog Axiata PLC against the web site Colombo Telegraph was released. The web site remains beneath monitoring at the Sri Lanka Telecom network, the largest telecommunication provider in the country.

Sri Lanka Telecom, a single country, one voice and one block!

Our research reveals that the blocking is speaking spot at the servers ns.slt.lk, specifically the server 203.115..46, that is actively tampering the name resolution of colombotelegraph.com.

Users requesting access to the domain name colombotelegraph.com that make use of domain name servers depending on Sri Lanka Telecom get a bogus response (127…1), that makes the website unaccessible.

We have tested this behavior from the following networks inside Sri Lanka Telecom. 203.115.18./24, 203.115.19./24, 203.94.73./24, 220.247.213./24 and 220.247.225./24. The very first four networks correspond to client&#8217s lease lines and the forth network is a government network hosting internet sites like “The Public Service Commission” or the “ICT Agency for Sri Lanka”.

Our investigation confirms that DNS requests in these networks are forwarded to server r1.ns.slt.lk, a domain name server resolver located in the central workplace of Sri Lanka Telecom at the OTS Bulding in Lotus Road in Colombo.

Our forensic examination also shows evidence that the interception is implemented by a Barracuda* appliance. Barracuda appliances are sold by South Asian Technologies Ltd., the authorized distributor of Barracuda items in Sri Lanka.

Barracuda is an American security firm funded in 2003 by Dean Drako that became lately notoriously recognized for integrating backdoors in their items.

It is our understanding that the blocking was implemented at the direction of the Telecom Regulatory Commission and/or the Minister. Below the provisions of the Sri Lanka Telecommunications Act, No. 25 of 1991, s. 69, “the Minister might, upon getting happy of the above matter by Order created either generally and published in the Gazette or specially in writing in respect of any telecommunication service offered in any spot in Sri Lanka or in any ship in the territorial waters of Sri Lanka or in any vehicle or aircraft in or more than Sri Lanka or the territorial waters thereof.”

In the absence of such lawful order, we contend that the TRCSL has engaged in an act that is ultra vires. Colombo Telegraph request the Sri Lankan government authorities to examine the details of the case and supply us with (a) a detailed explanation and (b) an assurance that such unlawful acts shall not be repeated.

*Barracuda Appliances with backdoors https://www.sec consult.com/fxdata/seccons/prod/temedia/advisories_txt/20130124­ _Barracuda_Appliances_Backdoor_wo_poc_v10.txt

Connected posts

UNP Urges Rambukwella To Unblock Colombo Telegraph

President Rajapaksa Phoned TRC Palpita To Ask Colombo Telegraph Blockade

Ranil Demands Rajapaksa Unblock Web Sites

TRC Head Palpita ‘Selective’ And ‘Inconsistent’

Dhanapala Measures Down From Dialog Board

Fears For Ad Income From Dialog Stops Sri Lankan Print Media From Taking Dhanapala Concern

Dhanapala Must Take A Stand And Resign From Dialog, Condemn Its Illegal, Unethical Behaviour – Kumar David

‘I Give Dhanapala The Benefit Of The Doubt’ Says Radhika

Calling Jayantha Dhanapala A Liar, Or The Tragedy Of Lankan Public Life

Swedish Govt. Appointee Dhanapala’s Unethical Behavior Embarrassment To The SIPRI

‘Dhanapala Must Choose’ Says Saravanamuttu

Image Evidence: Soon after Dhanapala Addressed BASL Meeting Dialog Blocked Colombo Telegraph Again

Unlawful Restrictions On Media By State Or Private Actors Is A Matter Of Significant Public Concern And Need to Be Questioned – Bishop Chickera And Prof. Savitri

Dialog Unblocked Colombo Telegraph For Dhanapala To Address A Public Meeting

Jayantha Dhanapala Is A Liar Caught Lying More than Silence On Colombo Telegraph Blocking

Jayaratne Says Dhanapala Will Stand By Greatest Practices, Dhanapala Pussyfoots On Illegal Net Blocking

International Press Institute Urges UN To Make certain Interference With Colombo Telegraph Ends

Colombo Telegraph Has Each Correct To Raise Dhanapala’s Conflict Of Interest Friday Forum Member Speaks Out

Post 19 Slams Ban On Colombo Telegraph Website

Dialog Board Director And Friday Forum Member Jayantha Dhanapala Fails To Quit CT Blockade On Dialog Network

Dhanapala Might Be Influenced By Large Payment He Receives From Dialog – Professor Kumar David

‘Dhanapala’s Position Ethically Untenable’ Says Dr. Pradeep Jeganathan

Sara Says ‘Dhanapala – WebBlocking’ Situation Requirements To Be Resolved Inside The Framework Of Excellent Governance

Subtle Organization Interests Much more Damaging Than Anti–Democratic Regime: Dhanapala Must Answer Conflict Of Interest Inquiries – Dr. Nirmal Ranjith

Sri Lanka Blocks Web sites And The President Lies On Twitter

After Again Colombo Telegraph Blocked Dialog And Etisalat Tamper DNS Responses

TRC Blocks Colombo Telegraph, Warns Service Providers To Preserve It is A ‘Technical Glitch’

Colombo Telegraph Blocked, How To Attain Us Now: Sri Lanka Telecom And Mobitel Joins The DPI Club!

Sri Lankan Govt. Periodically Blocked Colombo Telegraph In 2013: US Human Rights Report

History of Colombo Telegraph blocking

1st -December 26, 2011 – We are blocked but we will not be stopped

Second – Might eight, 2012 – Colombo Telegraph Blocked Once more

Third – March 29, 2013 – Sri Lanka Blocks Colombo Telegraph and Chosen Tweets: Colombo Telegraph Unblocked

Fourth – August 23, 2013 – Colombo Telegraph Blocked, How To Attain Us Now: Sri Lanka Telecom And Mobitel Joins The DPI Club!

Other attempts

October 26, 2012 – Colombo Telegraph Was Hacked

August 9, 2012 &#8211 Colombo Telegraph Password Cracking Attempt Blocked

Freedom Property Report: Freedom On The Net 2012, Sri Lanka Is A Country At Danger

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How We Can When Once again Become A Genuinely Independent Nation

By Bishop Kumara Illangasinghe

Bishop Kumara Illangasinghe

Bishop Kumara Illangasinghe

The New Year dawned for Sri Lanka with a sigh of relief, with considerably needed respect for justice and freedom. Currently it appears to be an atmosphere of less and less restrictions, worry psychosis that engulfed the minds of people has moved a side, folks are receiving virtually daily, the advantages that they had been crying out for several years, fingers are pointed in the path of the former regime and individuals who ruled the roost, during that period and of course with a sense of relief praises are sung and flowers are presented to the leaders of the new regime. There is absolutely a feeling of ‘achievement’ on the element of the easy majority of men and women. There is also a sense of urgency in respect of numerous other concerns and concerns connected with the individuals. The cry for good governance, abolition of the executive presidency, actions on those who have been responsible for corruption and interference in the state machinery, establishment of the rule of law, justice and fair play, punishment for those who have been involved in drug trade and other illicit scams and on the whole, the implementation of the a single hundred day programme, are very significantly on the cards.

Sri Lankans have suddenly turn into really alert and watchful. The media is involved in a quite creative competition to make confident the administrators provide the promises made. The media too appears to be experiencing far more freedoms and unrestricted access, enjoying the fearless arena to be genuinely exercising their proper to offer the information for the men and women. We take the opportunity to thank God for all what we have been able to obtain via the franchise and the peaceful transfer of power that has been ensured, by the creative and faithful actions of some of the administrative hierarchy.

At this time when most citizens are focusing on great governance it is important to highlight the require for post war reconciliation and to ultimately deduce a sustainable action strategy for healing of the history of our nation and that is why we require to pressure the very same. The challenging and pertinent query at this juncture remains unquestioned. Is this all, that our people have been dreaming, praying, longing, crying and sacrificing their lives and engaging in action for? The commemoration of Independence this year raises the same unresolved concerns and challenges with a new sense of urgency and hope. It goes without having saying and is crucial for all concerned to recognize the important, patriotic, committed and the committed role played by the minorities in the nation in preserving and safeguarding democracy of our mother land. As much as they played a worthwhile function in 1948 and before, they have fearlessly displayed a characteristic love for the country and her men and women and assisted, in a big way, to foster the unity of our men and women and the nation. We salute them humbly as their action for unity and coexistence in the country has been worthwhile more than ever at this time. Such action have surpassed the discomfort, agony, anger and bitterness that each and every particular person had to undergo in the previous. .

Independence SquareWe strongly hope that the new government is wise and concerned to recognize this. Religious and ethnic freedom wants to be fortified with further constitutional strength. Healing of our nation is a priority for the government, as significantly as delivering relief for cost of living. Reconciliation demands unique interest in guaranteeing not only independence, but fostering and making awareness on inter-dependence of all ethnic and religious groups in the nation.

Towards this, it is crucial to reiterate our repeated requests, to the new government. A democratic government will recognize the indicators and indications of the desires, aspirations and the pleadings of our folks. Among such signs and indications, the search for a political solution, uniting all ethnic groups by means of harmony and national cooperation, need to take precedence. As witnessed in the past, allowing the minority groups to drift away from the principal political dialogue by ignoring and discarding their cries and thereby the emerging of an atmosphere of suspicion and mistrust, is extremely unfortunate and distressing. Such a predicament reflects the absence of a clear and an genuine vision and a commitment to peace.

It has turn out to be essential to alleviate the fears of the folks in the Northand East and other components of the country, due to enhanced militarisation, by also initiating required and powerful measures to stop murders, loot, plunder and abductions. It is the responsibility of all concerned to take required action primarily based on the evidence brought before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, during the go to of the former United Nations&#8217 Higher Commissioner for Human Rights, the findings of the presently functioning Commission on the Disappeared, the details that has surfaced in the course of the current check out of His Holiness Pope Francis and in many other approaches. This includes delivering safety to all those who have come before the commissions and eminent personnel and these who are willing to come forward with proof in the future. Failure to do so will result in paying a bigger cost as a nation, in the days to come.

It is unfortunate to note that reconciliation in the past has been limited to infrastructural improvement in the North, East and also in other locations of the nation. It is critical to strike a balance between the require to rebuild the lives and livelihoods, with each other with the psychological development of these internally displaced, due to the conflict or natural disasters and also to offer people with an atmosphere where they can live with out worry or suspicion. Also, delivering authentic information regarding the dead and those who have disappeared to their relations, which is extended overdue, is an urgent humanitarian want.

All political prisoners ought to be released or legally charged with no further delay. Failure to accelerate this procedure will boost the stress and pressure, upon such men and women and their loved ones. It is critical that men and women across the country get the freedoms assured to them beneath the constitution, especially the individuals in the former conflict areas.

Individuals need to obtain the financial and social rewards of the post-war era rather than continue to listen to the hope creating efforts of those in authority. We hear about major scale economic scandals and corruption, while the people are suffering with heavy economic pressures, day by day. It is critical to avert any uneasiness amongst men and women due to all kinds of economic pressures. Even even though it seems that men and women can be relieved by searching for solutions via efficient and correct managerial efforts, it has proved that all efforts have been unsuccessful, thus far.

As a result we see that the challenges are many for the new administration, but there is renewed hope that the authorities are conscious of the urgency in dealing with all of these concerns and much more. It is only by attending to these demands of the people, that we can when once again grow to be a genuinely independent nation. Let us all join collectively irrespective of all our variations to rebuild our nation, into a really integrated Sri Lanka. We extend our solidarity and pray for peace with justice to all, on this considerable commemoration of our independence. May God bless our beloved individuals and our mother land.

Troubles Of Eelam Tamils

By Eelaventhan Manickavasakar

Eelaventhan Manickavasakar

Eelaventhan Manickavasakar

The ethnic issues of Eelam Tamils which birthed in 1956 due to the political insane frenzy of S.W.R.D Bandaranaike who legislated the ‘Sinhala only’ act and inaugurated the subsequent turmoils in the Sri Lankan politics. The hidden agenda of Sinhalisation, Buddhisitation and militarisation proceeded unabatingly supported with state sponsored communal riots in 1958,1977,1981,1983 and the genocide in 2009.

With ‘Mahawamsa mindset’ deeply embedded , all celebration talks, peace agreements and proposals had been discarded or breached due to opposition from the Sinhala-Buddhist feelings of opposite parties. There was hardly any political leader who took actions in the interests of all Sri Lankan citizens. All have been clutching the chauvinistic sentiments to grab the political crown.

Sadly, this scenario is nonetheless continuing and will continue unless and until some external forces interfere to restore suitable considering and sanity to the Sinhalese political leaders.

As far as the Tamils are concerned, they are nonetheless the second class citizens usually at the mercy of Sri Lankan Govts and the safety forces. Their sufferings are immense in brief, they underwent all sorts of treatment, a human particular person can be subject to: killings, torture, rape, displacements. Deaths by starvations, loss of life and limbs, widow hoods, orphans, mental illness, Traumas, massacres, degrading remedy and so on. The writer of this post is a victim and a witness to the above tortures specifically my arrest and torture below the prevention of terrorism act in 1979.

FRANCE TAMIL PROTESTWhen the Tamil political leadership resorted to non-violent struggles they were very easily crushed by the security forces, whilst the armed struggle, a justifiable weapon, was decimated by Mahinda Rajapaksa with the help of 22 nations such as India.

Presently the Tamils are back to square one with TNA being the sole Tamil political force to get justice for the Tamils. The million dollar question now is : Is it attainable for them to deliver it and is it attainable by them to provide it. Sadly the answers for both queries are basically ‘no’ and “negative”.

The TNA, a mixture of different political parties with its leaders possessing divergent views and frequently conflicting opinions, is struggling to choose the correct and sensible path to liberate the Tamils from the oppressive hands of Sri Lanka’s Sinhala Govts. The senior leaders of TNA, Sampanthan and Mavai Senathirajah who had been after championing the solution of Thamil Eelam, have now offered an undertaking to uphold the Sri Lankan constitution and give up the cause of Thamil Eelam. They are certainly bound by the laws enacted by JR who created it an offence of treason, if any particular person calls for separation of Sri Lanka or Thamil Eelam. Even so T.N.A has the right to agitate for referendum and the right to self determination as endorsed and allowed in the U.N Charter. TNA is also facing the pressurising restraints of India which hangs on to the 13th amendment so as not to displease the Sri Lankan Govt while ignoring the immense sacrifices of Tamils throughout the past 60 years.

It is to be noted that this 13th amendment was currently rejected by the TNA as its is an empty formula of devolution of powers.

Coming to the existing circumstance in Sri Lanka a change of Govt from dictatorial to democratic features is now in power, thanks to the assistance of Tamils who voted for Maithiri only to inflict revenge on Mahinda for his inhuman treatment of Tamils for the duration of the war. Tamils do not have much faith in Maithiri who as a minister remained in Mahinda’s Govt and watched the genocide of Tamils, faithfully and loyalty to Mahinda.

Maithiri, seems as a excellent and humble particular person. But for the Tamils, “Appearances are deceptive”. It has to be noted that, Maithiri has so far in the course of the election or soon after becoming the president has not openly stated his position with regards to the Tamils troubles nor indicated his intention to solve it when and forever. As such , he can not be relied upon to provide the goods for Tamils. Furthermore, he has to be a president, listening to or even dictated to by the other parties and groups in his alliance of comfort.

It seems Ranil has been assigned the activity to deal with the Tamils issues. Ranil’s past record is not clean as he was instrumental in the destruction of Chandrika’s devolution proposals in 1994 which looked far better than the previous ones. It is only hoped that Ranil is now far more matured politically and acts in the interests of a nation and not succumb to the ‘ Sinhala- Buddhist-Mahavamsa mindset’. Even so, a word of caution is essential as far as the present Govt which includes Ranil.

Ranil and Maithiri and organization are determined best stay away from accountability for the safety forces and safeguard them from any prosecution by outside sources, like UN. Nonetheless, UN is proceeding with its investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity with its final report due on March 28th for submission to human rights council. Undoubtedly, the report will not free Sri Lanka and the military machine from any crimes. In this circumstance, Sri Lanka is facing the prospects of punitive measures from the planet physique and/or person states like U.K, U.S.A, and so forth.

It is consequently organic for the present Maithiri Ranil and Mangla Trio to take placating measures, to delay or even derail the UN commission’s report with false and empty assurances, like devolution of powers, some eye-pleasing acts of reconciliation like shifting or decreasing safety forces, or enabling some re-settlements of Tamils and vacating the properties occupied by the military.

Above methods are only measures to get rid of their illegalities and restore the snatched rights of impacted Tamil civilians.

The international community and UN have already learnt numerous bitter lessons from Sri Lanka and it is hoped that they will not fall for yet another tantrum of Sri Lanka in the course of the coming months. As far as tna is concerned, they have to get into sensible action and actions to advance the political agitation and fight. A hopeful waiting game with Maithiri or Ranil is as very good as a dead game as the prior bitter lessons and experiences are nothing but eve-openers, and undesirable precedents. The entrenched Sinhala domination more than the minorities is an unassailable stance in the political considering of Sri Lankan Govts, as evidenced in the previous, and it will be foolish to anticipate it to change for very good in the future.

It is clear that at present, Maithiri’s Govt has provided to priority to haul Mahinda’s empire to dock for the wrongdoings, bribery and corruption and so on and dusting out the stained offices occupied by his family and favourites. This cleaning procedure is expected to place an end to the political career of Rajapakses.

This is expected but the surprising calamity in this cleaning up is the Tamils troubles which is left, in Limbo untouched and permitted to be frozen with out any attempts to solve them. Naturally this is the most significant dilemma which is now internationalised due to the inconsiderate attitude of lack lustre and power hungry politicians whose interests are focused on winning elections and not on winning the hearts and minds of the Tamils.

Maithiri is fore warned that if he and his companions fail to grab the present chance with the goodwill of international community, they will be providing another just opportunity for the Tamils to resort to armed struggle which the world neighborhood wont object or stop.

It is the hope of all Sri Lankans particularly the traumatised Tamils, that the promised very good governance will not end with measures like returning homes and lands to dislocated Tamils, which were illegally seized, but consist of the swift release of Tamil political prisoners languishing in Jails, maintaining the soldiers inside barracks, stopping Sinhalese settlements but above all to offer you a dignified, just permanent solution which enables the Tamils to handle their own affairs in the North and East with minimal interference from the centre.

*M.K. Eelaventhan – Former Member of Parliament – Sri Lanka

Towards An Independence Day For National Unity And Reconciliation

By Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

It is only four days to go for the Independence Day celebrations. It seems that the good input from the Minister of Foreign Affairs has come to make the celebrations far more meaningful. Earlier indication was to have the day on the theme of ‘wholesome motherland, dignified tomorrow’ (piripun maubimak, abiman heta dinak).

That was adequate if Sri Lanka have been to celebrate the occasion under standard circumstances. However, Sri Lanka is now moving away from the previous Rajapaksa policy of ‘belligerence’ and ‘militarism’ and as a result it is more pertinent to have the theme of ‘National Unity and Reconciliation’ in addition or in its spot.

It is now announced that ‘A Statement of Peace’ will be produced at the 67th Independence Day celebrations based on some of the important principles of the LLRC Report. The Cabinet has authorized a joint proposal by the Acting Foreign Minister and the Minister of House Affairs to this effect on Wednesday.

There are two organizations, 1 primarily based in Colombo and the other outdoors the country, in Sydney, which have proposed that the National Anthem be sung in both Sinhala and Tamil at the Independence Day celebrations as a mark of country’s commitment to national unity. The Colombo based organization is the Friday Forum (FF) and the Sydney primarily based organization is the Sri Lanka Reconciliation Forum (SLRF). This is apart from a number of men and women and writers raising the issue of the bilingual national anthem. Although the Friday Forum issued a public statement (25 January 2015) to this effect amongst other matters, the SLRF has directly written to the President, Maithripala Sirisena, on this and a number of other matters (27 January 2015).

Let me initial quote the relevant section from the Friday Forum statement below.

“We urge that the celebrations be kept basic and dignified with out major military and military hardware demonstrating parades, floats, and the use of school young children. The occasion ought to promote new standards of straightforward and disciplined lifestyles. Most essential is to use the opportunity to remember the victims of the civil conflicts which Sri Lanka has endured because independence, to pledge our collective commitment to peace and reconciliation, and to resolve that there need to by no means be such violence in our country once more. We get in touch with upon the government, as a sign of our commitment to national unity, to guarantee that the national anthem is sung in each Sinhala and Tamil, and that this practice be continued.”

Just before quoting the mentioned letter to the President by the Sri Lanka Reconciliation Forum, let me briefly outline the importance of emphasising ‘national unity and reconciliation’ at the Independence Day celebrations.

Some Past Landmarks

When the Independence Day was celebrated in 1948 and even thereafter, for some years to come, the event resembled one particular of the colonial events with couple of of the artifices of the new nation state. The flag and the national anthem have been of the latter genre. As Nira Wickremasinghe noted (Sri Lanka in the Contemporary Age: A History), it was like the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Queen Victoria with flag hosting, military parades, religious ceremonies, speeches and acts of charity. The acts of charity integrated the distribution of rice packets to the poor and five cents!

Air force officer holds Sri Lanka's national flag as the sun sets at Galle Face Green in ColomboThe elitist nature of the celebrations largely changed right after 1956, but as an alternative, practically the exclusive Sinhala character of the event predominated. From the beginning, there was an attempt to more than- establish the Sinhala identity over the celebrations. This was a usual ethnic competition. It was not only a query of equality but the lack of inclusiveness.

Sri Lanka adopted the National Anthem in 1952. There have been no actual qualms of possessing it in Tamil at the beginning. In many celebrations, particularly in bicultural contexts, it was sung in both languages. An ambiguity was created when the Sinhala only version became incorporated in the 1978 Constitution as the Fourth Schedule. There was no certain necessity for a constitution to incorporate a national anthem at all. Ironically, it was the same constitution which recognized Tamil as a national language and thereafter as an Official Language in the 13th Amendment in 1987.

The matters became considerably worse in the course of the war. There was retaliation. There had been instances where the national anthem or even the national flag could not be employed in Tamil speaking areas. As Apratim Mukarji (Sri Lanka: A Unsafe Interlude) reported, the national anthem could not be utilised even at a sports event in Vavuniya in October 2004. This occurred throughout the ceasefire period. One particular of the most impacted Independence Day celebrations simply because of the war was in 2008. A quantity of bombs exploded setup by the LTTE in Colombo exactly where 12 civilians plus a soldier had been killed.

Right after May possibly 2009

Maybe it was again as a retaliation to some of these incidents that the military did not let the singing of the national anthem in Tamil language in Northern regions soon after May possibly 2009. They insisted that it need to be sung only in Sinhalese, even by the Tamil (only) speaking college kids. Even so, retaliation was not the appropriate policy on anyone’s element. Then there was mistaken ‘theorization’ that only in one language that a country ought to have its national anthem overlooking several of the other nations like South Africa, Switzerland, Canada, Belgium and so forth. The ‘theory’ became accepted by the Rajapaksa cabinet in 2010.

A lot worse was the way the Independence Day celebrations were held after 2009. It once more took an imperial glamour. The Rajapaksas went around the country with heavy military hardware to commemorate not the independence but the war victory in May 2009. I never ever had any problem with defeating the LTTE militarily. It was a political or a military necessity which must have been kept at that. Apart from particular atrocities that have been justified, directly and indirectly, ‘triumphalism’ was the tone of the Independence Day celebrations.

It is not only the Tamils in the North who felt excluded from the Independence Day celebrations. Daniel Bass who researched on the problem (Each day Ethnicity in Sri Lanka, p. 43) commented that “Sri Lanka’s Independence Day on February 4 has tiny meaning to most Up-country Tamils…” This was not the case amongst the Muslims previously, but things have changed significantly in current years.

It is not only in the North that these sort of difficulties of conflict existed in the country in the past. When R. Premadasa was elected to the Presidency in January 1989, 1 of his problems was what to do with the JVP? He utilized the Independence Day celebrations to appeal to the nation to desist violence and come to the primary stream. It didn’t perform quickly, but had an effect in the extended run. That was a sensible approach for social reconciliation, elimination of social alienation.

No one can say the circumstance is comparable right now or Premadasa was completely right particularly in respect of the LTTE. The predicament these days is considerably greater. The LTTE is no a lot more. The key political celebration of the Tamil neighborhood, the TNA is cooperating. Even they sit with the JVP and the JHU in the National Executive Council. For that reason, what Maithripala Sirisena could do at this Independence Day celebrations as the President is to make a genuine appeal to every person and all communities to work towards reconciliation.

In respect of the national anthem what may possibly be most acceptable is the recommendation of the LLRC. Soon after observing two views expressed by those who gave proof, the LLRC recommended the following in para eight.296.

On the question of the National Anthem, the practice of the National Anthem getting

sung simultaneously in two languages to the identical tune need to be maintained and supported. Any adjust in this practice at the present time would only produce a major irritant which would not be conducive to fostering post conflict reconciliation.”

SLRF Letter to the President

This is exactly what the Sri Lanka Reconciliation Forum (Sydney) has also asked from the President, in a letter dated 27 January 2015 amongst other items. The Reconciliation Forum is an organization of a group of Australians of Sri Lankan origin belonging to all ethnic communities specifically living in Sydney and New South Wales with an open door policy for any individual interested in reconciliation to join. They pursue reconciliation both in Sri Lanka and in Australia.

The letter has congratulated the President on his election and in the appointment of Ranil Wickremasinghe as Prime Minister. They say, the “SLRF strongly believes that your election, which was endorsed by people of all ethnic and religious communities, would pave the way for national reconciliation in addition to democratization of the nation.” They also say:

“We complete heartedly assistance the ‘100 Day’ Program and think that you would also do your utmost to take the initial steps towards creating national reconciliation (while safeguarding national safety) inside the identical one hundred day period.”

They are especially cheerful about the formation and the composition of the National Executive Council which includes virtually all the relevant political parties and a specific mention is created about the TNA’s participation. What they have not stated about is the desirable inclusion of the leader of the opposition in the Council.

The concentrate of their letter being on reconciliation, they have appreciated the following 3 steps so far in that path.

  • Appointment of a civilian Governor for the Northern Province.
  • Lifting of the ban on overseas passport holders to check out the North and East.
  • Appointing a Committee to look into the military presence and land connected concerns.

As it was mentioned previously, they have expressed that, as they say, “We hope that you would enable and encourage the National Anthem to be sung in each Sinhalese and Tamil starting with this Independence Day celebrations.” One particular of their major focuses has been on the “full implementation of the LLRC recommendations,” by “ensuring a effectively-resourced and powerful mechanism firmly in spot to do this.” The letter advocates a synergy amongst excellent governance and reconciliation as a corollary of democratization in the nation and says the following.

“We strongly think in the reintroduction of the 17th Amendment, which along with the setting up of the needed Independent Commissions and the abolition of the executive presidency, would pave the way for good governance, accountability and guaranteeing the independence of judiciary and rule of law, which in order will boost the reconciliation approach.”

Yet another highlight of their letter has been on human rights. For that reason, they have emphasized “the value of safeguarding and promoting human rights by way of a mixture of channels, which includes legislation, institutional mechanisms and education” and expressed the view that “This, we believe, should have an additional focus on ethnic, religious and social reconciliation and understanding.” The following appears to be their motive behind their letter and the efforts for reconciliation.

“Though living in Australia, we are deeply committed to helping Sri Lanka create as a peaceful and just democracy exactly where all the citizens of the country can appreciate the fruits of its prosperity and growth.”

It appears that this is only an initial letter that they have sent. They have said, “As it is not achievable to place forward all our proposals in this quick letter, we would appreciate if you could kindly inform us of any institution or particular person with whom we need to communicate to submit our proposals and go over methods in which we can contribute.” Possibly what they are pointing out is the lack of a focal point for reconciliation at present (i.e. a Minister or President himself taking up the initiative) for them to submit their proposals or tips.

The letter is signed by Samira Wanigatunga, Sris Ponniahpillai and Shanaz Razeem, on behalf of the Sri Lanka Reconciliation Forum. Copies of the letter also have been or are getting sent to the Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe Minister for Resettlement, Reconstruction and Hindu Religion, D. M. Swaminathan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mangala Samaraweera Higher Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Australia Higher Commissioner for Australia in Sri Lanka and all Members of the National Executive Council.

A Chequered Transition

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

Yes, I give the Devil benefit of law, for my personal safety’s sake!” &#8211 Robert Bolt (A Man for all Seasons)

Mohan Pieris had to go. Regrettably the indicates utilised to eject him seem also Rajapaksa-like for comfort.

Right after they got rid of Shirani Bandaranayake by way of an illegal-impeachment, the Rajapaksas could have replaced her with one more Supreme Court justice or a legal luminary with some degree of independence. Alternatively they chose Mohan Peiris, a man infamous as a Rajapaksa-cipher. By doing so the Rajapaksas indicated clearly the subservient and partisan function allotted to the judiciary in their Sri Lanka.

Shirani backMr. Pieris did not disappoint his masters. He acted not as the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka but as the Rajapaksa Chief Justice. Provided this record, his questionable presence in the Temple Trees in the early hours of the morning-soon after-elections is hardly questionable. As ‘Chief Justice’ he created Sarath N Silva seem a model of probity and rectitude. That is saying fairly a lot.

Mr. Pieris could have resigned honourably but he opted not to. Yet another impeachment with an clearly preordained outcome would have turned the whole procedure into a negative joke.

Probably the legal technicality used by the government is a valid one. Nevertheless items could have been done in a manner which did not look so arbitrary, so redolent of abuse of energy. At the least, the President could have informed the parliament and the nation formally of what he intended to do and why &#8211 just before it was accomplished. Maybe parliamentary approval and judicial sanction could have been sought. Such measures may possibly have been absolutely nothing much more than window-dressings, but their absence bares the excessive use of executive energy and of political muscle.

The alleged depredations of Provincial Councillor Azath Salley render the entire saga even uglier. Mr. Pieris has lodged a complaint accusing Mr. Salley of threatening him. That complaint need to be investigated speedily and impartially, and if tenable, Mr. Salley have to be brought prior to the law. Mr. Pieris was an execrable chief justice but a technique which fails to provide him the protection he is entitled to as a Lankan citizen is no greater than him – or his Rajapaksa masters.

Political sins cast quite lengthy shadows. The very first episode in the ugly drama of the final few days was enacted for the duration of the presidency of Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. Desiring a more amenable judiciary, she bypassed Justice Mark Fernando and gave the CJ position to her handpicked-favourite, Sarath N Silva. Mr. Fernando had carried out significantly to defend the fundamental rights of the citizen against the excesses of the state and the government. He was learned, fearless and impartial. Because there was no way to impugn his impeccable character, it was whispered that his religion (he was a Catholic) made him ‘unsuitable’ to be the Chief Justice and that the Chief Justice ought to be a Buddhist. Lankan judiciary never ever recovered from that outrage. (Ironically, a couple of years later, the JHU utilised the same ‘religious’ argument to advance the claims of Mahinda Rajapaksa to the premiership, over the far a lot more appropriate Lakshman Kadiragarmar).

The new Chief Justice will be the senior-most member of the Supreme Court. That is the only commendable point in this really murky saga. That the post of Chief Justice is provided according to seniority ought to be turned into a constitutional provision. Such a provision together with the restoration of independent commissions can hopefully bring to a definitive end the deadly practice of the executive/legislature interfering in the judiciary.

The manner in which Mohan Pieris was ejected have to not grow to be an additional lethal precedent. That danger can be averted only via a new constitutional arrangement which revitalises and strengthens separation of powers.

Premier-Presidentialism

The transition from Rajapaksa familial rule to democratic normalcy is a complex affair due to the very nature of the Rajapaksa project. The Siblings’ goal was to turn the Lankan state into a patrimonial oligarchy. Consequently a conscious work was made to impose familial dominance on every little thing, from the military to the judiciary, from the bureaucracy to the economy.

The alter Sri Lanka is experiencing is as a result a lot more than the common replacement of one particular government with yet another. The National Executive Council (NEC) is a distinctive experiment born out of the specificity of this conjuncture. In that structure, the JVP and the UNP, the TNA, the SLMC and the JHU are functioning together with a degree of maturity which would have been unimaginable just a month ago.

This week, the controversial UPFA politician Nishantha Muthuhettigama informed the media that “a Mahinda Rajapaksa era will be born in this country once again in 3 and a half months”[i]. His statement indicates, again, that diehard kith and kin are dreaming/plotting a Mahinda Rajapaksa comeback. Preventing such an outcome is in the interests of not just the former ‘Common Opposition’ but also the post-Rajapaksa SLFP. The new Leader of Opposition also ought to be brought into the NEC, to render the entity a lot more representative and to enhance the isolation of Rajapaksa-diehards within the SLFP/UPFA.

According to media reports the NEC has reached agreement on a constitutional amendment replacing the executive presidency with a dual-executive system. Even though information are not offered, the new arrangement is likely to veer towards a premier-presidential program rather than a presidential-parliamentary method. A premier-presidential program will mean that the PM and the cabinet are accountable exclusively to the elected parliament. It will also prune a lot of of the presidential powers. The resultant division of executive energy amongst the president and the prime minister in conjunction with the Independent Commissions will restore separation of powers in a a lot more strengthened form and give the Opposition a actual say in governance. This new democratic amalgam (including a hybrid electoral system and the Correct to Details Act) will generate critical systemic impediments to the overweening ambitions of energy-hungry political leaders.

Economics enabled Maithripala Sirisena to defeat Mahinda Rajapaksa. As a result paying attention to economic needs of the ordinary folks is vital to avoid a Rajapaksa return to power. So far the new government has acted in a manner which has made people hopeful about significant improvements in their living situations.

There is a need to have to make ordinary individuals, specially amongst the majority community, realize the degree to which the Rajapaksas abused power and state resources. But the existing practice of running hither and thither right after rumoured racing automobiles and sea planes need to be replaced with a much more orderly and legal work to uncover Rajapaksa excesses.

Crimes need to not go unpunished. But at instances like this, the line in between justice and revenge can be a quite fine a single. The new leaders need to make certain that their a lot more radical supporters do not overstep that line. Replacing prosecution with persecution would be contrary to ‘good governance’ and intelligent governance.

Zeal for justice have to be tempered with doses of mercy, practicality and prudence enabling the Rajapaksas to don martyrs’ robes will be a negative notion indeed. In the absence of written orders it will be impossible to make legally tenable charges about the alleged coup. But when it comes to the billions the Rajapaksas owe the state for the use of buses, helicopters and media for election purposes – these will be open-and-shut situations certainly.

[i] Ada Derana – News – 26.1.2015