There is a widespread rumour that Mithripala Sirisena agreed to nominate Mahinda Rajapaksa as a parliamentary candidate for the forthcoming parliamentary election. Numerous individuals do not think this rumour for the reasons properly recognized to the globe. The victory of MS in the presidential election in January 8th, 2015 was not a surprise since it was anticipated that the Tamil and Muslim minority groups that had been subjected to critical injustices by the MR government given that 2005 would overwhelmingly vote for him. As anticipated, they came out to vote for MS in fantastic strength. For example, over 68 percent of the votes in the Northern Province was polled in distinct contrast to the 2010 elections when Jaffna district saw only 25 percent polling and the other districts of Wanni region saw just 40 percent polling. The Muslims too voted with unusual enthusiasm and in large numbers for MS. All round the election registered a record turnout exceeding 81%. Their votes had been primarily anti-MR than pro-MS. The men and women voted for MS to get rid of MR tyranny rather than being convinced by the pledge of MS to implement the 100-day reform system. Sri Lanka’s majority Sinhalese population also objected to the quantity of energy accrued by MR’s family and corruption of his regime. In other words what they wanted was a regime change. The nation by no means witnessed such a communal unity among the main three communities in the Sri Lankan history in an election. There had been clear reasons for this. It was clear that many Tamils have been believed to have voted heavily for MS not simply because they supported him but since they hated MR so significantly. Muslims, the second-biggest ethnic minority, also voted against MR, who was accused of backing BBS and other racist groups and turning a blind eye on anti-Muslim violence in June final year in Aluthgama and Beruwela places. As for the Sinhalese, MS’s entry into the race gave them one more credible alternative if they wanted Sri Lanka to move in a correct direction.
Therefore, if MS agrees to nominate MR in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, the people will never forgive him and they will take into account it as the greatest betrayal of the people in the Sri Lankan political history. He will be clearly branded as a traitor. It may also be the finish of his political career right after he completes his term of office in tiny much more than 4 years’ time. Men and women now urge MS not to make such historic mistake in his political career. The voters entrusted him with the job of cleaning the mess, eliminating corrupt practices, restoring rule of law and guaranteeing good governance by eliminating the loved ones rule on the 8th January 2015. President MS himself repeatedly mentioned this publicly on many occasions prior to and after the election. What would make him to take a big U turn and betray 6.2 million voters?
When we go back to pre January 2015 days, it will be extremely clear why the men and women voted for MS. When MS announced on 21 November 2014 that he would challenge incumbent President MR at the 2015 presidential election as the widespread opposition candidate a massive quantity of men and women even did not know effectively who he was. But the folks were convinced very considerably with his election propaganda and promises. MS claimed that every little thing in Sri Lanka was controlled by MR and that the nation was heading towards a tyranny with widespread corruption, nepotism and a breakdown of the rule of law. Though he promised to abolish the executive presidency inside one hundred days of getting elected, repeal the controversial eighteenth amendment, re-instate the seventeenth amendment and appoint Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister, the principal convincing appeal to the folks was acquiring rid of MR. He also mentioned instantly following he was elected president, ‘no more abductions, no more censorship, no far more family members rule, no more dictatorship.’ Soon following his declaration as the Presidential candidate, MS mentioned “Today 48 political parties and organisations have united as a common coalition regardless of party policies, ethnicity and religion to defeat MR’s corrupt regime.” Throughout his election campaign, MS said that he had warned MR to change his approaches or threat new unrest in the country. He additional said that MR was top the country down a dangerous road to destruction. He also stated that “I came out since I could not stay any longer with a leader who had plundered the nation, government and national wealth.” Because MS’s defection, dozens of MR loyalist parliamentarians followed him. Is he going to betray all of them as well if the rumour is proved to be true?
MS should not forget the reality that, as reported by some parliamentarians, MR even attempted to stage a coup in order to keep in energy when it became clear he was going to shed the election. He need to also don’t forget that he was branded a “traitor” by MR’s close allies.
If MR is given nomination, it may well be the finish of the party and we will be able to see a huge number of crossovers to the opposition. MS need to not forget all the struggles the people, his allied parties and partners went through to elect him as President of this country. If he betrays the individuals by giving the country to MR again, he will have to spend a extremely large cost for this. What is he going to inform those voters who relied on him and trusted him in the final Presidential election? People have not forgotten the dictatorial and household rule against which MS campaigned to turn out to be the President. MS ought to realise the truth that MR is attempting to destroy the country as soon as once again.
When MS created a speech at the function to celebrate Chandrika Kumaratunga‘s 70th birthday at BMICH he did not overlook to mention that he would take his choices contemplating his party and the nation. It also indicates that he will not place his celebration just before the country and people who voted for him. It was a identified reality that MR was detrimental to both the party and the nation. For that reason, he demands to take a appropriate selection not to permit MR as a candidate for the forthcoming parliamentary election. MS also did not fail to mention that he by no means thought of becoming President even in his dream and it was CBK who initiated the notion of placing forward his name as Presidential candidate. He also stated that he in no way believed JVP and UNP would support him. Is he going to betray all these parties, personalities and the folks? The decision and the nation’s future are solely in his hand now!
There are projects all more than but numerous of them are failed projects
Human history is replete with projects enabling civilisations to deliver marvellous creations through them. But many of them have been failures appropriate from the design stage. Sri Lanka’s current history is marred by a plethora of such failed projects due to errors in design and style. Of them, the Hambantota Harbour failing to attract big draft ships due to low depth of the harbour, the Mattala Airport with a runway perpendicular to the headwinds forcing airlines to shun it and the Diyagama International Sports complicated with a running track slightly shorter in depth than the international requirements so that no international sports event could take spot are some striking examples.
The latest addition to this project failure is the acclaimed public private partnership involving the Hyatt Hotel project in Colombo in which expenses have doubled due to profligate economic management, an problem involving the failure to observe economic policy governance.
All these troubles in projects could be overcome if all these involved in public projects – politicians, bureaucrats, project managers and civil society – are conversant with the 1st principles of projects.
Now those initial principles have been codified in a comprehensive manual variety text by a Sri Lanka born academic – Nihal Amerasinghe – previously at the Asian Improvement Bank or ADB and now a professor at the Asian Institute of Management or AIM in Manila, the Philippines. The title of the text is ‘Design, Appraisal and Management of Sustainable Improvement Projects’.
A manual by an knowledgeable practitioner
Nihal Amerasinghe is an aptly qualified academic cum practitioner to write a text on project management. His long career has been with ADB whose vocabulary has practically nothing but projects. Having completed a degree in agriculture at Peradeniya University in Sri Lanka, he has acquired two Master’s degrees in economics and environment from Manchester and London Universities, respectively, followed by a doctorate in economics from the latter. He is presently at AIM disseminating his wisdom as an academic. Thus, Amerasinghe is a combination of practice with theory, the foremost requirement for somebody to write a manual on a complex topic.
The logical organisation of the manual
The 25 chapters in Amerasinghe’s book have been presented in 5 components: The very first component talks about projects and improvement, the second about project identification and design and style, the third about project feasibility and appraisal, the fourth about project implementation and control and the fifth about the project completion and evaluation.
The chapters have been planned in such a way that they could be mastered by interested readers separately as individual essays or together as a single text to acquire the desired information on project management.
3 critical flaws of improvement policy
Amerasinghe starts his book by analysing three critical flaws in improvement policy planning attributed to Romanian-American Economist at the University of California at Berkeley – Irma Adelman.
A single is the reliance on a single contributor to maintain economies at low development referred to as ‘monocausalism’. Over the years, many such crucial contributors have been identified but removing them from economies has not led to economic development demonstrating that growth is a multifaceted activity. The second flaw is pursuing a single goal in development such as rising per capita income as had been done in Sri Lanka throughout the administration of Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Amerasinghe says that such pursuits have brought in greater worries to countries such as inequality in earnings distribution, weakened democracy, loss of cultural identity, overconsumption of organic sources and environmental degradation and so on.
All these have been the outcome of Sri Lanka’s reported larger financial development in the previous handful of years. The third is the most serious flaw in policy: that is, believing that organic systems move on a straight line enabling a nation to attain a pre-planned financial growth without any derailment.
Sri Lanka’s Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance have been well-known for generating such linear economic development forecasts to uncover that actual realisations have usually been at variance from the projected path. That is simply because all all-natural systems are non-linear primarily based on such laws as the law of result in and impact, the law of impermanence and the law evolution. It is therefore of importance that Sri Lanka’s policy authorities discover one particular or two lessons from Amerasinghe.
Improvement is not just economic growth but numerous much more
An essential element highlighted by Amerasinghe is the meaning of sustainable development which need to be the aim of all nations right now. Drawing on Nobel Laureates Gunnar Myrdal and Amartya Sen, he has initial presented a wide definition of improvement that encompasses social, political, cultural and humane aspects of living in addition to financial factors. Then, he solidifies development by incorporating the notion of sustainable improvement drawn basically from the Brundtland Commission headed by the former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland.
If you want to sustain, take pleasure in nowadays with out harming tomorrow
According to Brundtland Commission, sustainable development is the meeting of the requirements of the present generation with no compromising the capacity of the future generations to meet theirs. It requires two generational equities: Intergenerational equity exactly where resources are passed onto the future generations in affordable conditions and intragenerational equity exactly where the exact same transfer requires spot amongst distinct segments of the present generation.
Any public project must take into account this wider idea of development and the need for making such development a sustainable one particular. The ad hoc projects implemented in Sri Lanka in the recent previous beg the query whether or not these aspects have been deemed at all at the style or implementation stage.
The impact of a project is the essential criterion of accomplishment
Public sector projects are normally appraised by public authorities in terms of the cash spent or the output developed. A classic instance is the Central Bank Annual Report or the Annual Report of the Ministry of Finance which have tended to assess the good results of projects in terms of cash spent on them. But Amerasinghe says that the crucial assessment criterion need to be the outcome of a project that leads to making an impact on the economy. The influence must not only be sustainable but also bring in ultimate human improvement by expanding the possibilities offered to them as human beings.
Easy project management has now turn out to be a complex method
Amerasinghe has supplied a very intriguing account of how projects evolved from 1950s to date. In its evolution, the scope, design and style, management and ultimate aims of projects as well have expanded significantly from six straightforward objectives to 47 complex ambitions.
Amerasinghe has presented the six basic objectives in a six-sided polygon: financial, technical, political, administrative and managerial, environmental and social and financial are these issues. Then, he builds around these six issues distinct parameters or essential sub issues which have been added to the goals of projects in each and every of the subsequent phases of their evolution.
What truly began as a basic operation of project management in 1950s has evolved these days to a really complex structure that is not easy for ordinary project management folks to comprehend. Amerasinghe calls this complex structure the ‘conundrum of 2000’. It includes virtually all the broad aims which a modern day society aspires to attain in its social cultural, political, economic, legal, administrative, monetary and spiritual spheres. There is a justification for this broad therapy, since it is taxpayers’ cash which is being utilized for public projects.
Nevertheless, if a discipline becomes too complicated, the most likely outcome would be the comprehensive disregard of those added parameters when actual project management workouts are conducted. Even when they are reckoned, the project management nonetheless runs the threat of their not getting treated seriously. They just turn into a want list in the minds of the project practitioners.
Amerasinghe too has raised the concern by questioning whether the project management has turn out to be much more powerful more than the years. But he notes that according to the observations of significant project financiers, namely, ADB and the Planet Bank, project efficiency has enhanced regardless of the complexity built into project targets. Only the projects implemented under the sponsorship of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Europe’s counterpart of the World Bank, these ambitions have been only partially successful.
Project steps are also time involving intricate processes
Project cycle too is a 13 step complicated approach, according to Amerasinghe. There are seven steps to be completed top up to project approval: identification, design and style and formulation, feasibility analysis, project appraisal, project choice, negotiation and ultimately approval. These are also complex processes and when it comes to establishing countries, there is no property primarily based experience obtainable to complete them successfully. Hence, in a lot of situations, external help has to be solicited and such external help is generally extended by the project financier himself major to a conflict of interest.
Soon after the approval, there are 6 processes to be completed: project activation, implementation, supervision, monitoring and reporting, completion, evaluation and follow-up analysis and action. Amerasinghe has given a detailed description of actions involved in each of these various methods. This is where projects fail since in creating nations, the political authorities which have arrogated powers to themselves for initiating projects can’t wait such a lengthy period to have project approved and a additional period to full the project. Therefore, many measures are overlooked comparable to the disregard of the broad goals involved in modern day projects. Politicians who go by election cycles and not the natural cycles demand that projects are completed in time for them to industry at elections though the accomplishments are half-baked and bound to fail shortly.
A excellent instance is the infrastructure projects undertaken by the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration in the final 5 to 6 years. Amerasinghe has been emphatic on evaluating the outcome and the effect of projects which have to be done after the completion. These two aspects are mostly disregarded in almost all the projects implemented under political patronage.
Numerous pitfalls of development organizing
Organizing has been regarded the saviour of several establishing countries which have failed to maintain a reasonable rate of economic development and decrease poverty by way of continuous financial advancement. A single question which critics of governments normally raise is ‘where is your program?’ and they opine that ‘without a program, how can an economy grow?’ Therefore, all creating countries have resorted to meticulous arranging which they emulated from the experiences of the former Soviet Union. India had a rolling preparing method in each 5 year period with emphasis for the state to make critical investments.
Whilst admitting that several establishing countries have organizing capability today than just before, Amerasinghe has laboriously documented the reasons for the failure of development plans. They arise from external forces, shortcomings of preparing procedure itself and due to difficulties which planners would run into in strategy implementation. Crucial external forces are the lack of peace, wars, natural calamities and increases in planet prices that derail plans. In the arranging approach, frequently identified causes are the inadequate preparation like capacity, lack of credible data, disregard of the significance of governance, corruption and most importantly failure to discover from prior errors.
Program implementation is hindered, according to Amerasinghe, due to budgetary constraints, ownership problems, conflicts, bureaucratic inefficiencies, damaging political interferences and failure to properly monitor plans. These are essential concerns but can be resolved if due recognition is paid to capacity improvement and management of politicians. But a single of the issues in development organizing is the availability or mobilisation of sources as displayed by Sri Lanka’s Five Year Strategy in 1971.
Without having resources, the targets and objectives of a strategy are just want lists. If a country’s government is infested with a weak budgetary circumstance and the private savings are insufficient to finance the planned activities, resorting to foreign financing becomes critical for arranging. But if a country does not have a good governance structure, the mobilisation of sufficient foreign funds will be a problem.
An crucial manual enriching the toolkit of project practitioners
The rest of the book is a detailed manual of project style, appraisal and management. Amerasinghe has drawn on his wealthy practical expertise in these regions to make his manual a comprehensive document. A project practitioner does not have to turn to any other document to design and style and implement a project successfully. It is a self-contained manual with elaborate explanation of steps to be followed, checklists to be marked off and methods to tackle delays and issues.
The practical use of the manual has been enhanced immensely by the colourful illustrations that have been added to chapters for straightforward understanding of the complicated processes involved. There are a lot of exercises which the practitioners have to work out in order to self-test their finding out. There is a step by step developing up of answers to crucial issues, a novelty that one particular finds in a manual. Each chapter begins with an introduction that would guide the user what to count on from it. After presenting the body of information, it ends with a summary of essential points helping the user to revisit his learning outcome.
The manual on Design and style, Appraisal and Management of Sustainable Improvement Projects by Nihal Amerasinghe is a timely addition to enrich the toolkit of project practitioners all through the globe.
*W.A Wijewardena, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, can be reached at [email protected]
I should state at the extremely outset that in my title Are Foreigners backing anti-Muslim racism in Sri Lanka? I am posing a question, not stating a conclusion. I believe that in political analysis it is essential to pose inquiries even when no definitive answer is available. The explanation is that some queries could quantity to fertile hypotheses that lead to answers later. In some circumstances it could be crucially crucial to pose inquiries even when no much more than conjecture of a rather wild order is feasible. This applies to foreign involvement in our internal affairs as it can sometimes have quite horrible consequences. That was shown in the case of the Tamil ethnic issue. We should try to ensure that there is no repeat efficiency in the case of the Muslim ethnic problem. We must as a result pose the question regardless of whether foreigners are backing anti-Muslim racism in Sri Lanka even although no more than conjectural answers could be possible at the moment.
I will now indicate really briefly how foreign involvement in our Tamil ethnic difficulty has had very horrible consequences. India insisted that our troops refrain from going into Jaffna right after the effective Vadamarachchi operation, and President Jayewardene caved in to that demand when he could have resisted it without a lot difficulty – as I have shown in recent articles. The result was the extension of the war by twenty two years at the cost of a hundred thousand deaths. Norway and other countries initiated a peace procedure with the greatest of intentions. But they did not realize that the LTTE would be content material with nothing at all less than Eelam or a confederal arrangement close to it. They did not recognize that the LTTE was by no means critical about a negotiated political remedy. And they believed that the war was unwinnable. Consequently they contributed mightily to our ethnic disaster.
The evolution of our Muslim ethnic problem supplies a really vivid illustration of the destructive potential that there is in foreign involvement. There were anti-Muslim ructions from 1975 to about 2002 then there was the Grease Yakas episode in which Muslim ladies were targeted for harassment and also there was the dilemma of Muslim businessmen being kidnapped for ransom. But all that did not amount to a significant Muslim ethnic problem causing international concern. That transformation occurred right after the BBS began its anti-Muslim hate campaign. It clearly had the backing of Norwegian Islamophobes, but who else was involved? According to the former President MR it was all element of an international conspiracy to topple him. Following the next Government is installed there must be a thorough enquiry into the question of foreign backing for the BBS.
A Muslim pal of mine tells me that he followed closely the BBS’s anti-Muslim campaign and discovered that their speeches to the masses were heavily influenced by Western Islamophobia. He is convinced that the heaviest input into these speeches was produced by Israel. This brings me to the query whether or not the Israelis have participated in advertising anti-Muslim racism in Sri Lanka, and much more especially no matter whether I have been targeted by the Israelis. I wield the pen and such persons can be troublesome, even hazardous, which is why practically all governments attempt to handle the press or influence it. And of course as a Muslim I can be expected to be unsympathetic to Israel. In addition there is a distinct purpose why I could have drawn the unwelcome attentions of the Israelis. It is believed that President Premadasa decided to close down the Israelis Interests Section in consequence of a speech created by me.
Among the Tamil lunatic fringe racists who have been attacking me there is one particular who appears to be the agent of a foreign power. I must give the context in which my suspicion tends to make sense. The concerted attacks against me – concerted virtually surely by the LTTE – died out altogether right after obtaining flourished vigorously for numerous months, as I pointed out in my last write-up. As far as I can bear in mind there is only 1 participant in these concerted attacks who still continues to attack me. Each and every week he is joined by a couple of newcomers. A noteworthy reality is that the hysterical hatred and the mad dog rage – which in the early days of the concerted attacks led me to create of “a total annihilating hatred” – has largely diminished. The hatred and rage are still there, but they are given vent to in sneering and jeering. I think that the explanation for this welcome transformation is that my counter-attacks have created the Tamil racists appear ridiculous. The lesson to be drawn is that the antidote to racism is to counter attack it, not to ignore it, in which case it flourishes. Anyway the crucial point is this: the attempt to cease me being published by the Island and the Colombo Telegraph, which was the motivation behind the attacks, has failed totally.
The motivations for the continuing attacks have to be sought elsewhere. It is partly that impotent rage is finding expression via sneering and jeering. But in the case of the sole survivor from the days of the concerted attacks I consider the motivation is to market hatred of Muslims, the expression of an Islamophobic drive. K’s functionality – let’s contact him K – is in a class apart from the other people in critical respects. Though his hatred and rage are clear, as in the case of the other individuals, he surprisingly concedes that I am properly study and readable. My guess is that his foreign mentor has told him that if he is merely abusive he will lack credibility, and that he need to concede some merit to me so that his attacks will then appear unprejudiced. My guess is also that his foreign mentor has instructed him to adopt Goebbels’s strategy of the massive lie: if a lie, any lie, is repeated often it will come to be believed by the public. I have observed much more than a single reference to Goebbels’s idiotic notion in Tamil contributions to the Colombo Telegraph.
K’s responses are in a class apart for becoming chockfull of blatant lies, distortions, quotations out of context and so forth, displaying that his Goebellsian strategy is forging ahead complete blast. I provided details to the reader on how to access the text in which I wrote against the use of starvation against the LTTE, but he prefers to think that I advocated the opposite. I quoted Maugham as saying that under the Nazi occupation the French would have to “eat shit”. K has insisted, regardless of my creating the needed clarification, that I thereby referred to the Tamils as “shit”. In my final article I referred to the stereotype according to which the Muslims are, amongst other things, superb “drug traffickers”. He attributes that view to me, not to the stereotype, and proceeds to berate me more than that in a lengthy paragraph. Is K clinically mad? I believe that the explanation for what appears like lunacy is that he is following the Goebellsian technique of the massive lie. Anyway what interests me is regardless of whether he is acting as the agent of a foreign energy.
I can believe of only one country in the world that could have a quite special interest in the promotion of Islamophobic hatred: Israel. It has to be anticipated that several Israelis will have a visceral hatred of Muslims, warmly reciprocated by Muslims since human beings are human beings are human beings. We have to bear in mind that Israel is presently going via a phase in which it is extensively regarded as an apartheid state – Archbishop Desmond Tutu believes that its apartheid is even worse than that of the former South Africa. We should also bear in mind that Israel’s present leader appears to be clinically mad at least to some extent, as indicated by his former psychiatrist who committed suicide in 2010, and he appears to be in a state of genocidal rage against Iran. Netanyahu is indeed the very epitome of the sort of leader that Theodor Herzl would have wanted for Israel, considering that Herzl saw Israel as the last bastion of European civilisation against the advancing Asiatic hordes. Ultimately we must bear in mind that several of our Tamils have had a deep admiration for Israel, and that the LTTE which wants to be taken as a liberation movement has never spoken up for Palestinian liberation even after. It seems to be a extremely reasonable surmise that the Israelis could use the lunatic fringe Tamil racists to foment hatred against the Muslims. The Government need to look into that possibility, bearing in thoughts the terrible harm that has been triggered to Sri Lanka by interfering foreign busybodies.
Current media reports hinted that President Maithripala Sirisena is in a dilemma regarding the forthcoming parliamentary elections. Is he? A quite short reply to that question is an emphatic “no he isn’t”. His position as the President of Sri Lanka is secured for the subsequent four and a half years. If he does not concentrate in contesting a second term, he has no obvious political calamity in sight. To adjust the deep-rooted, abhorrent political culture of Sri Lanka he may possibly need to have the assist of like-minded individuals. Nonetheless, he can do it on his personal if he intends to do it. If the king practises Dasa Raja Dharma, other individuals would invariably stick to, they have no decision! Only if the king urinates standing, the followers do it running.
Is the UNP in a dilemma?
Yes it is. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s premature Presidential election tactic backfired. Opportunism is not a virtue! Some components of the UNP claim that 80% of the votes cast in favour of Maithri at the recent Presidential election were the UNP votes. This is misleading. A mixture of several variables contributed to the victory of MS. The mixture was the UNP, all minority parties, a section of the SLFP, the folks who have been fed up with the corrupt governance who sought a alter and so on. The false belief emanated from the benefits of the Presidential election has led the UNP to be convinced that it can win on its personal. This has created a dilemma inside the celebration whether to go alone or to contest as a united front. If the celebration decides to be opportunistic it can backfire the same way it backfired on MR. The country needs a great bunch of men and women to rule it irrespective of which party they belong to. The UNP has to be mindful of that.
Is the SLFP in a dilemma?
Yes it is. The defeat of MR has not taught a lesson to the majority of the SLFP MPs. They have selected to ignore the truth that MR was defeated for the factors that his persona was corrupt, nepotistic, cunning and egocentric, his governance was inefficient and ineffective and his politics had been destructive and divisive. They have not realized that parliamentary elections are different from the Presidential election that the voting pattern can be influenced by extremely many external elements. The insistence on bringing back Mahinda is understood by correct minded folks as a signifies to keep away from indictments and to retain corrupt practices since MR allowed all that to happen during his reign. The dilemma of the celebration is whether it is wise to get rid of all these who are clamouring for the return of MR and go along with a new breed.
President Maithripala Sirisena has the greatest chance to alter the destructive, stale and undesired political culture of Sri Lanka. Being the head of the SLFP he has the authority to make changes inside the celebration. Creating drastic modifications to an current entity on his personal is a frightening prospect. In this case he has the backing of the former President Chandrika Bandaranaike who is the daughter of two former prime Ministers. Her father was the founder of the SLFP. It is foolish to write off the help for the Bandaranaike name inside Sri Lanka at any provided time. In addition he has the assistance of some brave politicians who rocked the MR boat at the preceding election.
Failing to contest the parliamentary elections as a united front of the individuals who fought MR at the election, MS must make his personal list for the SLFP candidates. That list must exclude Mahinda Rajapaksa, Basil Rajapaksa, Chamal Rajapaksa, Namal Rajapaksa, Mervin Silva, Duminda Silva, Johnston Fernando, Sajin Vass, SB Dissanayake, Muthuhettigama, and all other people who are known to be criminals. Also exclude everyone who actively participated in the campaign to bring Mahinda back.
When a drastic alter is produced, it would wake the men and women up, provoke their thoughts and ignite their rational faculties. Individuals have shown that they can distinguish among very good and evil and they will no doubt recognize that the change has been produced for the better. Fortune favours the brave. President, you must not be an additional Ambanwela Rala who let Rajasingha II, the killer king, go unscathed when he overran Rajasingha’s palace in Kandy and finally paid with his life for the folly. For that reason, go for the kill!
If it is to advantage from a higher-growth area and prosper among other nations in the globe, Sri Lanka have to drastically switch its concentrate away from narrow and claustrophobic identity and tribal battles onto contemporary, secular targets connected to the prosperity of its people. We are facing a new version of the old guns versus butter debate central to economics. Do we allocate our time,sources and work toward guns? (meaning, war or conflict) Or are we going to allocate the bulk of them toward the production of “butter?” (meaning, our material sustenance)? I say, we need to extricate ourselves from spurious battles more than identities that only create unfavorable emotional energy and violence and take us to darkness. Rather, let’s move forward into economic realities that are staring in the face.
Swami Dayananda Saraswathi,writing to the Times of India in April this year, has pointed out how the Indian Constitution has defined India as a secular state. This is a recognition that ethnic and religious tensions can undermine a complicated society. Secularism embraces universal human values linked to human existential concerns. It operates on a standard universal ethic: “Do to others as you want them to do to you.” This maxim is all-natural to humans regardless of specific religious dogmas due to the fact it is based on a universal human endowment referred to as empathy. We all have embedded in us this good quality of empathy,which is adequate to live with no even a religion. Religion divides whereas empathy unites.
Accordingly, below secularism the state and church are separate. Religion does not invade government and government does not invade religion. The two are apart. Swami Saraswathie additional states that India has banished religion from state schools. Sri Lanka is behind India as our technique hasn’t divided church and state. Religious instruction is a need to in our schools. Monks are playing too a lot of a meddling role in the affairs of state. This is plain nonsense.
Along with financial prosperity and the adoption of secularism, the possible for identity -primarily based social and political conflagaration will pale into insignificance. Considerably of identity tensions are rooted in poverty and scarcity and a public perception of lack of space for all. Bread and butter will supersede narrow versions of one’s self. In the end, every single citizen desires a shelter to live in, a meal at the table, a college for his kids, healthcare consideration when ill and the common space to take pleasure in life. Modernity is built on such foundational values.
Now,with the elections on, Sri Lanka has a glorious possibility to make a decision regardless of whether to tread the modern day path or to languish in misery brooding over whether or not a single is a Sinhalese,Tamil, Buddhist, Muslim or Christian. All such identities are purely social constructions. Unless we reach to our widespread humanity we get nowhere. Voters should eschew leaders who are prone to be enemies of a secular state. Be confident, that this modernity in outlook is in truth inherent in Buddhist teaching.The regime of Buddhist Emperor Ashoka was an exemplar of a prosperous secular state.
This time, Sri Lankans go to polls to elect a new Parliament. The composition of Parliament is particularly important on this occasion due to the fact genuine power has now shifted to this institution of elected representatives. Presidential absolutism is largely gone following the 19th Amendment and the gravitational force of energy shifts towards the physique of MPs and by way of them to the Prime Minister and cabinet more than whom Parliament has ultimate control. The PM selects his Cabinet of Ministers. This is a neat, sensible and accountable arrangement in constitution-creating. Augurs nicely for a country that had been converted into a lawless state beneath a chief executive who had small respect for the constitution and other laws of the land.
This, alone, is considerable achievement by Yahapalanaya. Following the 19th Amendment, when the new Parliament is elected a Constitutional Council will be appointed and this vital institution will mother other independent commissions to appear soon after the Public Service, the Judiciary, and Elections isolating the latter from dysfunctional political meddling. In the black days of Rajapaksa, politicisation of practically almost everything beneath the Sri Lankan sun deprived powerless people of their security, liberty and freedom to stroll in dignity. These like us who live in Australia and the West observe ordinary citizens enjoy such a top quality of life. Surely, Sri Lankans deserve that! The strange point thing is that we observe how bigmouths amongst the Australian and Western Sinhala Buddhist nationalists seem to recommend that Sri Lankans do not deserve such a quality of life that the average man should continue to genuflect just before lawless politicos in order to secure their wants.
I would have preferred had we been able to pass new electoral laws that would have served to fend off undesirable parasites enter Parliament by way of the list -option of a celebration hierarchy. The present electoral system is stupid and has been the bane of our political culture. On the other hand, its replacement is a far more difficult measure that demands study and broad-primarily based consultation for which time did not permit. The politically displaced seedy characters that hanged around the defeated President, in order to insure themselves against investigations into their corrupt deals have been so busy attempting to sabotage the silent revolution of January 8th. Going significantly beyond the one hundred days mandated for, would have brought in anarchy and triggered a counter-revolution.
That mentioned and accomplished, now the ball is in the electors’ court and they should choose a steady government led by males and ladies who have had no corrupt narratives behind them. We also need to have leaders with intelligence, education, knowledge and decency to steer the ship of state.
The truth is that the ship of state requirements fast rectification from the harm it underwent beneath Rajapaksa rule. The nation lies on the brink of a severe debt trap. This cannot be seriously addressed by a purely interim government of a hundred days. Our national income is hardly enough to repay and service the irresponsible levels of debt repayments built up over ten years. Chinese blokes merely kept on giving any money the government asked without having any evaluation of feasible studies that typically precedes the granting of loans. On the other hand,Western help adopts stringent approaches of assessment. As a result, we have in our hands terrible White Elephants like the Rajapaksa International Airport in Mattala, the Rajapaksa Port at Hambantota, and the Rajapaksa International Sports Stadium. Even the beneficial Highways that have been built have been completed far above regular fees. Big commissions have been constructed into charges as a routine. Open robbing has been the name of the game and President Rajapaksa looked on winking himself away from the stories that reached his ears.
If a single cared to read the Sunday Instances economics column of respected economist Nimal Sanderatne one would have noted a lot of dark trends. Our agriculture production has dropped. With the exception of tea, our coconut, rubber and minor export crops have all dropped alarmingly. Fishing has badly gone down. With the drastic decline in demand for our tea from Russia and the Middle east, our agricultural exports have dropped by as a lot as six.five per cent. The result of all this is that our trade balance has been in the red for several years since the last regime took more than. Fortunately, our balance of payments have been salvaged largely by foreign remittances. Foreign remittances are essentially vulnerable and no economy can rely on that. Direct foreign investment,discouraged by threatening legislation, has been hovering around zero for numerous years.
Clearly the Sri Lankan economy is in peril. It follows that the living normal of our men and women is in danger.
Key structural changes in the agricultural,industrial and service sectors will have to be introduced and direct foreign investment must be encouraged into the nation if we are to salvage the nation and give a decent common of living to the ordinary person. Poverty is rampant in the country and a record sixty per cent school drop -out price reflects the inability of parents to support the education of their kids. This is sad. Hospitals are starved of vital drugs and individuals are thrown from pillar to post to get their medication at inexpensive costs.
Yahapalanaya hence far has largely restored the formal system of governance appropriate. Now, we need to have a additional stage of Yahapalanaya to deal with the elements of very good policy that will lift the economy from the doldrums.The ruling class under the former regime have been engrossed in filling their pockets while crying about the Buddhist Sinhala nation in danger. Film Star Parliamentarian, Malini Fonseka, quite much a Mahinda fan,alleged the other day how commissions were demanded as a routine from higher places for the displaying of Tv Drama episodes.
It appears almost self-evident that the historical function of finishing the Yahapalanaya project and transforming Sri Lanka into a contemporary state has to be played by none other than Ranil Wickremesinghe and his United National Party. I can’t think of a single existing Parliamentarian who can supersede Ranil in intellectual capacity, in emotional maturity, in knowledge and in integrity-qualities ideally required for the demanding part. Seeking back, a single can credit Ranil Wickremesinghe as a leader who has waited patiently, marked his time, defended his celebration against all sorts of machinations played by the former Machiavellian President and bearing insults and humiliation from even his own celebration ranks that have been clearly manipulated to discourage and oust him. “The wise man is unruffled by praise or blame,” says the Dhammapada. So was Ranil. He was never shaken as he believed firmly in himself.
Whilst Mahinda Rajapaksa was at his height Ranil confidently announced that the UNP will form a government in 2015. What a prophet! Credit backhandedly goes to Mahinda Rajapaksa for his political savviness in seeing in advance that Ranil was his only danger. Sensing that, he played a complete card of tricks to get him out of the UNP. Mahinda set up UNP men to challenge him and employed media vilification. It is here that Ranil exemplified considerable emotional maturity-not to blow up but to hold his own. And he did. Doesn’t he not deserve the Cup?
As an organization the leadership of the Bodu Bala Sena and its Secretary General, Buddhist monk Galagoda Atte Gnanasara are popular for setting controversial trends, such as introducing a new tradition for Buddhist Monks to consume their alms in restaurants.
Monk Gnanasara is pictured here enjoying a “Pan Fried Monkfish” meal at the popular Barefoot Garden Café in the presence of an acquaintance.
The trendy upmarket garden restaurant Barefoot, states in its web site “The Garden café is an oasis in the heart of Colombo and an best venue to relax with pals. The blackboard menu displays the every day lunch specials. Try the legendary Black Pork Curry or the notable Spinach Quiche and we also have a fine choice of wines and beers. We have reside Jazz each Friday evening and on Sunday afternoons. The famous Colombo Pub Quiz takes place on Wednesdays from eight pm. The space is also utilized to host cultural events, private dinners and parties at night”.
It was barely a couple of years ago that Colombo Telegraph uploaded a equivalent story when a delegation of BBS Monks had been pictured enjoying a lavish meal in New York.
Authorities in Sri Lanka then announced plans to draw up new recommendations for donating food to the country’s Buddhist monks amid issues about their weight and wellness.
The Well being ministry stated the faithful, who offer alms as a religious tradition, tended to give meals that was as well higher in fat and sugar and monks have been building preventable well being circumstances such as heart illness and diabetes.
“The Medical Research Institute had been asked to prepare menus that could be utilized for alms givings,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that the new suggestions were to be issued then.
BBS US Images: Sumptuous Feasts For BBS Monks
Sri Lanka Announced Plans To Draw Up New Suggestions For Donating Meals To The Monks
Drunken Chief Buddhist Monk: Bitter Truth Revealed With Wild Boar
Full Court Report: BBS Leader Gnanasara Pleaded Guilty To Hit-And-Run And Drunk Driving
With the announcement that parliament would be dissolved efficient midnight, June 26th 2015, the political debate will move on to the subsequent stage of building coalitions. The rebel group from the UPFA who have stood by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa might finish up as political orphans, unless Mahinda Rajapaksa comes forward to give leadership to their election campaign. Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Celebration (UNP) which probably will go it alone and is probably to emerge as the larger winner at the next general election, may not succeed in receiving the magic 113 quantity as a single celebration. So, they have to appear for wheeler-dealers to type the next government. Will it be the minority parties or will it be Sirisena’s lot from the SLFP/UPFA? Sri Lanka demands a steady government and we pray that President Sirisena would be capable to steer the next elected parliamentarians to perform with each other with the national government idea.
The passage of the watered down 19A is a landmark achievement, but it falls quick of the many promises made by the common opposition in the run up to the January 2015 elections. The dilution of it is seen as a strategic move by vested interests to climb to the presidential seat after Maithripala Sirisena relinquishes office after his very first term. Would president Sirisena quit right after his initial term or would he want the second term? He has renegaded on several of his election promises, and this might not be an exception.
The much talked about 20th Amendment will be place in to cold storage with parliament getting dissolved without its passage. The minority parties strongly think that Champika Ranawaka and some groups of Buddhist extremists are behind the attempt to deprive the minor and minority parties, the political influence they have had with successive governments. They believe that with the achievable exit of Maithripala Sirisena following his very first presidential term, Champika Ranawaka could stake a claim to the throne as the UPFA presidential candidate, and if minorities have no major say, it would be less difficult to convince the majority neighborhood that they need to have a nationalistic leader. His desperate ambition to lead the nation is no secret and the truth that Champika and his lot opposed the total abolition of the executive presidential system gives credibility to this theory. Is President Maithripala aware of this attainable conspiracy or has he grow to be a victim of his personal self-self-assurance.
Sri Lanka has just emerged from an ultra nationalist period of governance with the regime adjust in January 2015. Mahinda Rajapaksa’s downfall was the rejection of him by the anti racist majority of Sri Lankans. With that knowledge, will Champika adhere to in the footsteps of Mahinda Rajapaksa and try one more ultra nationalist government? Would the majority Buddhists reject the racist policies espoused by extremists once more?
The minorities’ major grievance was their fear that the 20th Amendment would decrease their numbers in parliament and eliminate them from the decision creating procedure of government. Hakeem’s comment in parliament that his neighborhood is in a worse circumstance than for the duration of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s tenure is certainly laughable. He has forgotten the hate, intimidation and threats his community faced from Buddhist extremists beneath the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, with the Bodu Bala Sena and other extremist groups allowed to cause violence against minorities with impunity. In the last 3 years, the Secretariat For Muslims (SFM) has recorded more than 540 incidents against the Muslims. The evangelical Christian neighborhood too has recorded a related number against them.
More than 6.two Million voted for President Maithripala Sirisena against the 5.eight million for Mahinda Rajapaksa. ZL Mohamed in his detailed analysis (Colombo Telegraph-June 6th 2015) of voter registrations show that there have been 15,044,490 voters registered on the electoral rolls but the quantity of citizens who were of legal voting age was only 14,449,000 as per the official Census data. That would be at least 600,000 ghost voters, who would have been registered most likely illegally to change the election outcomes in favour of the then incumbent president Mahinda Rajapaksa. ZL Mohamed’s assumption is possibly based on the belief that there were massive numbers of ghost voters registered prior to the last presidential elections in connivance with the Grama Niladari’s, who not only helped to consist of them in the voters registry, but also helped in issuing fake identity cards. If this allegation is correct, it is important that an immediate investigation is undertaken and all such ghost votes cancelled prior to the subsequent elections and criminal proceeding ought to be brought on all who conspired.. Failure would imply that these ghost votes could tip the balance of 15 to 30 parliamentary seats in the next elections, as per Mohamed’s analysis.
With the existing flux in the governance mechanism, the Presidents resolve to dissolve parliament and hold a basic election is almost certainly the most suitable selection created by President Maithripala because his election.
The achievable entry of Mahinda Rajapaksa in the Prime Ministerial stakes would bring in a lot flavor to the election procedure. It would be fascinating to see if Mahinda Rajapaksa will walk the talk or abandon his followers. Both Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Sirisena cannot be observed as dividing the SLFP, thereby diminishing the chances of the SLFP’s victory. On the other hand, President Sirisena cannot forget the sacrifices made by the UNP in forwarding him as the frequent presidential candidate. Hence, he has a moral obligation to honour his commitments to the UNP.
The Mahinda Rajapaksa clan in parliament was aware that parliament would be dissolved. They played every delaying tactic feasible to postpone the next general elections, as delays would be a distinct benefit to them. Several wanted to pull the rug beneath President Sirisena’s feet, but he appears to maneuver effectively along slipper floors.
The best selection now would be to campaign for a national government led by the UNP where a new constitution would be formulated that involves the abolition of the Executive Presidency, preferential voting and accommodate fair representation of all communities and ensure that rule of law prevails. This will augur well for the nation. A steady government could take Sri Lanka to unprecedented heights.
The United National Celebration as the then main opposition took a firm stand in October 2013, when they unanimously decided to vote against the attempts created by the Rajapaksa regime to legalize casinos via a draft legislation which was presented in Parliament.
Even so, current photographs of the Mayor of Colombo, UNP’s Ahamed Jamaldeen Mohamed Muzammil‘s full action playing higher stakes in a casino is going viral in social media.
The UNP Pc MP, President’s Counsel Srinath Perera wrote to the UPFP Pc member Udaya Gammanpila the following letter in February 2014
Mr Udaya Gammanpila,
District Leader of Colombo for the UPFA.
Dear Mr. Gammanpila,
We have come to know – by way of media reports – that you have launched your election campaign beneath the auspices of Defense Secretary Gorabhaya Rajapaksa.
Gota and GammanpilaAlthough you brag about political ethics and adherence to election laws, you have launched your election campaign under the aegis of a government official, showing the level of your hypocrisy and duplicity.
It is an offence to use state officials and state house in an election campaign beneath any circumstance, and the fact that you have violated election laws in public at very outset of your campaign disqualified you from boasting about political ethics or “new political culture”
We are also interested to know why you – who stated to stand against establishing casinos in the nation – chose to launch your campaign with the support of Mr. Rajapaksa, who explicitly favours casinos in Sri Lanka.
The Urban Improvement Ministry was the physique that gave approval to start off new casinos in Colombo, and Mr. Rajapaksa, in his capacity as the Secretary of the Defence and Urban Development Ministry, handles numerous essential responsibilities in this regard. He has always been of the view that Sri Lanka ought to have an open policy towards casinos.
This brings into question your self-styled anti- Casino patriotism. It is clear that you have betrayed your policies, ethics and values for your new ‘position’ as the District leader for the UPFA.
We therefore challenge you to disclose your stand on numerous matters,
Have you changed your policy on Casinos? Have you changed your view on ‘political culture’ and political ethics’ ? What is the reason for sudden shift of core beliefs? We openly challenge you to answer the aforesaid questions.
The President’s resolve to make sure the passage of 20A in its present type, is noticed by more than twenty minor and minorities parties as a blatant attempt to dislodge them from parliament. His commitment to 20th Amendment could be due to the assurance that he gave the SLFP members when he sought their help for the 19th Amendment, yet it is crucial that this approach is not bulldozed.
The group of little parties that met at the headquarters of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) wants the gazette notification published on the 20th amendment withdrawn and a correct consultation undertaken. Failure would mean that it passage would be challenged both in and outdoors parliament.
While, it is agreed and accepted that delimitation and constitutional reforms to rid the scourge of the preferential vote are an absolute necessity, and a guarantee in Maithripala’s Yahapalanaya manifesto that needs to be honoured, it is critical that the fears expressed by the minor and minority parties are addressed forthwith.
President Maithripala Sirisena could stand accused of entirely betraying the minority communities that ensured his victory at the Presidential election of January 2015. The 20A will get rid of the representation from parliament most of the minority parties who helped him reach the presidency. Many of these parties do not command a big enough voter base to win electorates but are sturdy enough to win representations in the districts. They fear that if 20A is implemented in its present kind, it would cement the two celebration rule. This may auger effectively as a nation to move away from ethnic primarily based politics, but, Sri Lankan electorate has been polarized along ethnic and religious lines. We want to go back to the days when the elected legislators represented all the folks and communities alike. This might not be the effortless following more than 35 years of ethnic/communal politics that was introduced under the JR Jayewardene constitutional reforms.
Numerous amongst the minority communities see this the push for 20th A as a Hela Urumaya (JHU) agenda to dilute the influence of minorities in government. This calculated move would force minority parties to kind alliances with Maithripala’s Sirisena’s SLFP or Ranil Wickremesinge’s UNP for their political survival. This will at some point make certain that no minority celebration could dictate terms or hold the remote controls of government.
The late MHM Ashroff, the founder leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) during President Chandrika Bandaranaike’s government used to claim that they held the remote controls of government with their numbers in parliament. The mainstream parties saw this as holding the majority view to ransom. This may or could not be a accurate assumption, but they did have the clout to demand and receive genuine dues for their constituencies. They also employed this clout to receive undue perks and privileges for themselves. If the 20A goes through, the controls of the remote would end up in the hands of either Maithripala Sirisena’s SLFP or Ranil Wickrmesinghe’s UNP.
One may possibly wonder why the JHU is on a suicidal mission to remove themselves from parliament, but the reality is that they have ensured their place in Maithripala’s SLFP, understanding really nicely that their saffron politics will be entirely rejected by the folks at the subsequent General Elections. There is no way that they could contest alone and anticipate to survive, so this is a face saving agenda and a convenient route back to parliament through con the 20th Amendment as all minor and minority parties would be compelled to be portion of 1 alliance or the other.
If candidates from minority parties had been to be elected from the districts exactly where they are a minority, they would need to type alliances with major parties to be granted the benevolence of an chance to contest from 1 of the significant parties. Under the current Proportional Representation, minor and minority parties can seek their votes from the complete district. Proponents of 20A will argue that they can still obtain that by means of the district preference, however is it the exact same?
On the other hand, this could also lead to additional polarization of the various communities, ought to they commence forming alliances based on religion or language.
20A could not influence the bigger minority parties line the TNA in the North and East and the Muslim Congress in the East, but it will affect these parties and all other minor and minority parties in each and every electorate outside their bastions.
The minority parties are convinced that the JHU and other Buddhist forces had this strategy to minimize the dominance of minority parties in government correct by means of out the presidential campaign of Sirisena. The UNP, which would stand to obtain substantially if minorities have no option but to vote for one particular of the principal parties, stay uncommitted. On the other hand if minority parties kind their own coalition, the UNP would stand to be the greatest looser.
All credit must go to Maithripala Sirisena for the passage of the 19A , however he is in an unenviable position with regard to the 20th A. On a single hand, as the leader of the SLFP, he need to continue to lead the SLFP to victory at the subsequent general elections, and on the other hand, he requirements to maintain his promise of the one hundred-day reforms to the typical opposition that got him elected. To get anywhere close to reaching it, he demands the numbers in parliament, exactly where the opposition commands the majority. Through this the majority in the SLFP has managed to hold President Sirisena to ransom.
The average civilian wants an end to this wheeler dealing and an early election may possibly be the only selection, but without having the passage of the 20th A, Maithripala would be observed as a weak president by his SLFP and the group led by former President Rajapaksa. This has driven President Maithripala Sirisena to compromise on all aspects of the reforms that he promised by way of the Yahapalanaya Manifesto.
It would be tragic if Maithripala pushes 20A by deceit. He may possibly not require the voters in the course of the existing term as president, but exactly where would he be if the UNP and the minority parties that propelled him to the presidency were not part of his campaign in January 2015?
Amongst different proposals put forward by the professional committee on 20A of Asoka Abeygunawardene, Dr Sujata Gamage and Kirthi Tennakoon is the alternative of seeking in to the suggestions of the Muslim Congress and All Ceylon National Congress to accept the dual ballot notion. This may satisfy the demand by the minorities as it would give them a chance at the preference vote, however has it been researched effectively to push it by means of in this mighty hurry. Will this not drive us back to the “manapay pora” that we have skilled? If implemented, the largest winner of this would be the JVP. Most individuals may not want to dilute the value of their vote on the JVP which stands a poor likelihood of acquiring elected below FPTP, however numerous would not hesitate to vote for the particular person in the JVP list.
Whatever the method that would be introduced require not be pushed through in haste. Fresh elections and a fresh mandate ought to be given to the next government to formulate a new constitution where all Sri Lankans would be able to live in dignity and peace.
The outcome of the presidential election of January 2015 created expectations of change, hope and reform among considerable sections of Sri Lankan society. For Muslim communities, who played a pivotal role in the election, the change in Government was willed into being in part due to the insecurity and violence suffered by Muslims particularly in the South of the country over the last two years. As indicated by the compilation of incidents carried out by the Secretariat for Muslims (SFM) from 2013 onwards, Muslims faced a hate campaign that has resulted in violence and tension, including damages to mosques and private properties, harassment and injuries to individuals and even deaths. This campaign that was carried out through a variety of methods, including direct violence, demonstrations, speeches, social media and the mainstream media had multiple impacts not just for Muslim communities but the country at large, raising serious concerns relating to the equality before the law, the lack of law enforcement, impunity and national identity. Above all it questioned the commitment of the then Government to both arrest the violence and perpetrators of the hate campaign such as the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), and deal with the underlying culture of hate. The hate campaign played a significant role in mobilizing the Muslim community, including many of the Muslim members in Parliament, to vote for Maithripala Sirisena, in the expectation that his Government would bring about positive change. The election of January 8th created a palpable sense of security for the Muslims, especially in flashpoint areas which had seen violence in past months and had become the focus of Sinhala Buddhist extremist groups.
Over the last four months the Government has made a number of symbolic gestures and statements as to how this new Government differentiates itself from its predecessor, not just with regards to the hate campaign but also the ethnic conflict. President Sirisena has made repeated pledges and requests for a shift in the politics of this country, including at the SLFP convention on March 17 where he stated that the SLFP was “not a Sinhala Buddhist party” and for its members not to engage in racist politics. While the Government has yet to announce frameworks for addressing critical post-war issues, it has acknowledged the need for reconciliation. At the Independence Day celebrations, the President pointed out that “the biggest challenge we face today, is that of bringing together the minds of the people of the North and South, and through a process of reconciliation bring about co-existence and national understanding.”
In addition to statements, the new Government has taken a number of measures to restore and strengthen democracy and the rule of law as promised in the ‘100-Day Plan.’ While some promises have been delayed and/or not fully implemented, efforts to reform the Constitution, most notably the system of governance, and to strengthen the rule of law, including reinstating the 43rd Chief Justice, Shiranie Bandaranayake and initiating a series of investigations into corruption and other crimes have helped to restore public confidence in State institutions. Some of these reform processes lack transparency, have been rushed through with little or no public dialogue and participation, and represent significant compromises. Coupled with the delays and gaps between promises and implementation these developments have increased public cynicism as to whether this Government is fully committed to introducing good governance and improving the status quo.
In dealing with fundamental post-war issues of reconciliation and accountability, the new Government has signaled that it is approaching these issues through a fresh perspective, but there continues to be lack of clarity as to how these processes are moving forward, while on the ground the victims continue to find little recourse. The Government announced that some land held by the military would be released in Valikammam, Sampur and Panama, but each release has its own set of problems that have meant those attempting to return have been delayed or have not been provided the resources to rebuild their lives, homes and livelihood. As noted by SFM, there are a number of other locations of military occupation continues to hamper post-war recovery and amounts to a denial of rights. The Government reinstated the past practice of permitting the national anthem to be sung in either Sinhala or Tamil.
An important development took place on May 26th when the General Secretary of the BBS, Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera was arrested by the police on a court warrant. He was later released on bail but made clear that at the very least that this group would not enjoy the level of immunity that it enjoyed in the past. This has been a long standing demand of Muslim groups and civil society organizations that the State should use the systems of law and order to investigate and to prevent communal violence. Heavy police presence and action at key demonstrations at sites such as Kuragala/Jeylani in the last few months, also minimized or even thwarted violence, highlighting the importance that the restoration of the rule of law is to enjoying peace, security and stability, whereas during the past administration there were serious concerns about the inaction or even complicity of State actors in the lead up to and during violence.
As this compilation of incidents of hate speech and actions against Muslims that have been documented in the mainstream and social media, make clear this period from January to April 2015 has seen a continuation of incidents. This reinforces concerns that even though there has been a change in Government the actors involved in these acts of hate are still at large and the culture of hate and violence that was unleashed has not completely receded. In total there have been 37 incidents in the first four months of 2015. This is a decline in the total number of incidents as compared to the last four months of 2014 (48). Jeylani/Kuragala Mosque has become a critical site of dispute in the last few months, with some of the key Sinhala Buddhist extremist groups such as BBS and Sihala Ravaya organizing protests and making ultimatums regarding the site. The latter group also threatened to commit mass suicide if Muslims are not evacuated from Kuragala. This location is currently a protected archeological site and is shared by Muslims and Buddhists. That the BBS is incriminated in approximately one third of the incidents between January and April (13) makes clear the threat the group continues to pose.
The political context remains highly charged and dynamic, with the stability of this current government also being uncertain. The use of a flag depicting the lion from the national flag without the stripes for the minorities at a rally outside the Bribery Commission by key members of UPFA and the SLFP on April 23 represented flagrant disrespect of the Constitution but also demonstrated the willingness of those supporting the Rajapaksas to use divisive communal politics to mobilize support. Figures in the Government and in civil society condemned this act, and an apology was later extended by some of the high profile protestors for using the flag but it once more highlights questions of the very identity of post-war Sri Lanka and the place of minorities. These mainstream politicians appear to be echoing sentiments expressed by groups such as the BBS and Sihala Ravaya who have highlighted the exclusive claim of Sinhala Buddhist to the island. In February one group, Sinhala Jathika Peramuna publicly claimed that Sri Lanka “does not belong to Sri Lankans, but to the Sinhalese.” With the coming general election, there are concerns that both during the election and possibly its outcome could create a context for a re-launching of a hate campaign and even violence against minorities. The campaign to seek new positions of power for the defeated and previous President Rajapaksa has seen increasingly racist undertones, particularly focusing on the Tamil community.
At the Independence Day celebrations this year the new Government presented a Pledge for Peace that highlighted key goals:
“On this solemn occasion we pledge to adopt consensual approaches through democratic means, to advance national interest, national reconciliation, justice and equality for all citizens. We shall do this in a spirit of tolerance, accommodation and compromise and uphold the unity and territorial integrity of the nation for the progress and development of our pluralistic society.”
From May to July the country recorded a number of anniversaries of mass violence, not all of which are officially commemorated. The sixth anniversary of the end of the war, the thirty second year since Black July along with the century commemoration of the 1915 Riots in May and the one year anniversary of the Aluthgama Violence should serve as reminder of the urgent need for introspection as to how to move forward by tackling fear, distrust, and hate, in order to create, as highlighted in the pledge, an acceptance of values of democracy, justice, peace and pluralism.
Hate incidents against Muslims – January to April 2015
(Threats, attempts to attack, attacks, harassment, inciting, warning, violence, provocation, etc. against Muslims)
January 03, 2015 – Kirulapone, Colombo District: Ven. Gnanasara calls Justice Minister Hakeem a pariah: Gnanasara when speaking at a meeting organized by Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS) in support of Mahinda Rajapakse, in Kirulapone said “Hakeem is a pariah! I clearly tell this, he is a pariah. I have told media that he is a prostitute. He is cheaper than those prostitutes. They (prostitutes) are more respectable than Hakeem. We remember that a few years back he signed an agreement with Norway and crossed over to opposition for money when 137 Muslims were massacred by LTTE in Muttur’. At that time, he criticized the Sinhala army for doing that. During the last election he talked of ‘yellow robe terrorism’. He is in the habit of feeding poisonous racism to garner votes. Rishad Bathiudeen and Faizer Mustafa are no different than him. Whoever comes to power, we will take care of these guys”.“Have we ever talked about and targeted traditional Muslims? During Aluthgama riots extremist who attacked Sinhala Buddhist four times and groups who insulted Buddhism have also joined Maithripala Sirisena. I ask the JHU leaders how they plan to achieve a Pivithuru Hetak (a clean tomorrow) and develop a good society by joining Rauff Hakeem, Rishad Bathiudeen, Mujeebur Rahman, Azad Salley, Thawheed Jama’at, Ikhwanul Muslimeen and Jama’at e Islami?”, he queried.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTfPCVuWhuo (Starts from Minutes 22)
January 04, 2015 – Nationwide: We are only against fundamentalism – Ven. Gnanasara: In an interview with Irida Lankadeepa, Ven. Gnanasara stated “We only talk about religious fundamentalism and pointed our finger at them. We did it during Chardrika’s period also. There were no issues between Sinhalese and Muslims until the appearance of groups like the Thawheed Jama’at. Has anyone ever heard of Lord Buddha being referred to as a cannibal and that the ‘Triple Gem’ is just three pieces of stones? Traditional Muslims have never insulted Buddhism. We have identified who these groups are. We are disclosing the nature of extremists and racist Muslim leaders. These people instilled a fear into the minds of Muslims as if the BBS is going to massacre them”. He further said “if BBS had attacked Muslims, mosques, or business establishments, the police and other law enforcing bodies are there to inquire into it.”
Lankadeepa (page 10) January 04, 2015
January 04, 2015 – Nationwide: Those who left us are separatists – President: President Mahinda Rajapaksa during an exclusive interview with ‘Deshaya’ newspaper said that Muslim and Tamil separatist factions who demanded separatism have left the government since the government was not ready to divide the country. Furthermore, President Rajapaksa claimed that the Muslim Congress who was demanding a separate district and Tamil separatist factions had joined the opposition due to the rejection of their separatist proposals.
Deshaya (page 1) January 04, 2015
January 04, 2015 – Nationwide: BBS Advertisement aimed at forthcoming Presidential election: BBS full page advertisement appeared on Sunday Lankadeepa newspaper which reads as fellow. “O! Sinhala Buddhist! Awaken and unite! The Opposition’s manifesto and agreement are dangerous. Do not allow racists, separatists and minority powers/ politics to decide the leadership of the country. Let’s defeat the force that will pay ransom to extremists, those who put the unitary state and the wellbeing of motherland into jeopardy, and the international conspiracy. Cast your vote diligently.”
Lankadeepa (page 12) January 04, 2015
January 05, 2015 – Nationwide: Media briefing – Maithripala Sirisena’s Manifesto based entirely upon Muslim extremism and Christian fundamentalism – BBS: Speaking to the media in Colombo, BBS CEO Dilanthe Withanage stated “the common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena’s Manifesto was based entirely upon Muslim extremism and Christian fundamentalism. Factions of Christian fundamentalists, Muslim extremists and other NGOs are implementing their own agendas through this manifesto”.
Ceylon Today (page 3) January 06, 2015, Daily Mirror (page 6) January 06, 2015
January 11, 2015 – Nationwide: Media briefing – We will never abandon our struggle – BBS : Gnanasara asked what the present government’s stand on Halal, Sharia banking, Niqab and so on is. He also criticized Azath Salley and Mujibur Rahman, and demanded to know from the present government whether an inquiry would be made about people who said the Buddha is cannibal. In addition, they wanted to know if those who are destroying Wilpattu forest and grabbing land in Mannar will get punished.
January 13, 2015 – Public Library, Colombo District: Muslim fundamentalism is a threat to the country: When speaking at a book launch “Anthawadaye Beeshanaya” (A book ‘Terror of Extremism’ by Chatura Pamunuva, a journalist of Divaina newspaper) at the Colombo Public Library Auditorium Gnanasara said “Muslim fundamentalism is a threat to Sri Lanka, and when the BBS discloses these facts we are being targeted”.
Divaina (page 14) January 14, 2015
January 20, 2015 – Nationwide: Media interview – BBS got the inspiration from RSS and BJP – BBS: Speaking to The Indian Express, the BBS CEO Dilanthe Withanage said that his group is inspired by the BJP and RSS (of India) and that it would soon launch “a party modeled on these Indian ventures to protect Buddhist culture in Sri Lanka”. “We have a very positive understanding with Modi,” Withanage said. “We admire him as a leader. Unofficially, there have been personal relations and talks with RSS and BJP leaders. We will soon launch active political talks with our Indian counterparts.” Claiming that the portrayal of BBS as a religious terrorist organization was similar to the situation faced by Modi when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat during the 2002 riots, Withanage said, “We are not against any religion. We don’t spread hatred against anyone. But it’s true that we do deliver hard speeches on certain truths that we believe in, to protect Buddhist values in Sri Lanka.” He added that what his organization does in Sri Lanka for the majority Buddhist religion “is inspired by what the RSS and BJP do in India”. “There are lots of similarities between India and Sri Lanka,” Withanage said. “Both of us face threats from Muslims and minorities who are actively engaged in conversions. When Sinhalese families have a child or two, minorities have half a dozen or more. When foreign money plays behind such activities, we need to resist. So Modi and his party is a great inspiration for us,” he added.
January 20, 2015 – Nationwide: Media briefing – Separate administrative district will lead to division – Ven. Gnanasara: Answering to a question raised by a media person related to separate administrative district Ven. Gnanasara said “Muslims in Colombo and suburbs live peacefully, do they ask for separate administrative unit? We are against racism. The concept of so called good governance of the new government will ultimately lead the country towards division as Sinhala speaking and Tamil speaking like what happened in Sudan”.
The BBS Attempts To Undermine President Maithripala's Government And Attempts To Spread Fear Among Sinhalese Buddhists
February 01, 2015 – Dehiwala, Colombo District: Muslim owned business place stoned: ‘Nawalanka Super City’ in Allen Avenue, Dehiwala a Muslim owned business place where items like hijab were sold, was stoned early morning today shattering its window glass front by unknown persons. The owner of the shop while explaining said that the previous evening a Sinhalese person had cast some critical comments to a Muslim lady customer who had been in hijab in the shop. On a complaint regarding this by the lady the management had questioned the person. This had led to an argument. Subsequently, the person had threatened the management whilst wielding a knife and said “see what will happen to your shop” and gone.
February 10, 2015 – Nationwide: Media briefing – Will start our struggle again from Kuragala – BBS: Gnanasara at the media briefing held in Colombo criticized former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumartunga for making a speech at Thihariya against BBS which he alleged that will encourage extremist forces in this country. “An organization called the Shoora Council conducted a programme at Independence Square where once again she made derogatory comments against the BBS. We have waited enough; we will start our struggle again from Jailani Kuragala.” he said. Dilanthe Withanage, stated that the National Shoora Council has been given unnecessary privileges and positions; and called for a competent authority to “look into its formulation, funding and financial transactions, links and the individuals involved including their relationships. Meanwhile, the BBS will file a lawsuit again Minister Rauff Hakeem,” he said. Commending the government for amending the United Nations Act No. 45 of 1968 to ban the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, Withanage said that “The government has acknowledged the truth and depth of what we have been talking about since 2013 for which we were labeled racists and extremists inciting religious tensions, challenging religious freedoms and discriminating against minorities. MPs and political leaders are ignorant about this issue. We must protect moderate, traditional Muslims from this scourge.” Speaking further, the BBS also called for the niqab to be banned. “niqab must be banned in public places and on public transport as it is a danger to national security since one can conceal weapons and materials underneath. Muslim terrorists are also engaged in drugs and weapons smuggling and human trafficking,” he added.
February 17, 2015 – Nationwide: Media briefing – Muslim extremism nourished at mosques – Ven Gnanasara : “If anyone thinks that they can continue with their Muslim extremist activities after electing Maithripala Sirisena, they will never get that opportunity”, Ven. Gnanasara said at media briefing held in Colombo today. “We will never allow Buddhist ideology to get destroyed. Muslim extremism is being nourished at mosques. This will have great impact. They’re challenging us without knowing who we are. They are trying to hunt us because we are silent, the Muslim separatist leaders must keep in mind that we are like lions, if they rouse our anger the repercussion will be very serious”, he added. “Muslim separatists are totally responsible for what happened in Aluthgama, but we were blamed for it”, Ven. Gnanasara noted. “Giving preference to Islamic law in this country is unacceptable. Similarly Islamic law about dress is terrible; it is awkward to see women walking around with their faces covered; it is frightening too”, he added.
13. February 23, 2015 – Balangoda, Ratnapura District: We will not allow these infidel Muslims to run riot in Kuragala – BBS: The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) has requested a meeting with the government, to call for the Antiquities Ordinance to be enforced with regards to the Kuragala monastery. The Kuragala monastery dates back even before 2nd century BC and is considered a national treasure. “We will not allow these infidel Muslims to run riot in Kuragala,” Ven. Gnanasara recently stated. The BBS had previously threatened that if the Antiquities Ordinance was not enforced within a month, they would remove the Sufi mosque within the premises brick by brick. (Please refer incident number 11 – February 10, 2015)
14. February 26, 2015 – Nationwide: Media briefing – This country does not belong to Sri Lankans but to Sinhalese: “Red was the only color which prevailed in the national flag of Sri Lanka to denote that this is a Sinhala country; and other two colors denoting Tamils and Muslims must be removed from it”, said the leader of Sinhala National Front Ven. Gallage Punniyawardana. He told this at the media briefing held in Colombo today. He further said that he will go on a protest march from Colombo to Kandy and remove the flag from Naga Vihara which gives recognition to three communities and replace it with one that gives recognition only to Sinhalese. This country does not belong to Sri Lankans but to Sinhalese, he emphasized.
Virakesari (page 8) February 27, 2015
March 02, 2015 – Kandy, Kandy District: Attempt to hoist the ‘Sinhale Flag” at Dalada Maligawa: A tense situation was reported in Kandy today when the Sinhala Jathika Peramuna (Sinhala National Front) and Swarna Hansa Foundation organized a commemorative ceremony to mark the hoisting of the national flag 200 years ago by Ven. Wariyapola Sri Sumangala at the Sacred Temple of the tooth in Kandy. A group of extremists including few Buddhist monks, tried to remove the Sri Lankan National Flag hoisted inside the Sri Dalada Maligawa by force and attempted to hoist the ‘Sinhale Flag’ instead. A police team attached to the Kandy Police prevented this from happening, and the police media unit states that investigations have been initiated into these incidents. Many ‘national organizations’ including the Sinhala National Front and the Bodu Bala Sena have declared several times that the country’s name should be changed to ‘Sinhale’ instead of Sri lanka and that the green and saffron stripes in the National Flag also should be removed . ( Please refer incident number 14 – February 26, 2015)
March 02, 2015 – Katugastota, Kandy District: Tensed situation in Aladeniya: Attempts have been made to create communal tension in Aladeniya, Katugastota following an incident that occurred few days ago between private bus owners. Following this incident four Sinhala youth had attacked a Muslim. Following complaint to the police one of the attackers had been arrested. Some Sinhalese of the area have threatened that Muslim owned shops would be attacked if the arrested person was not released. In the meantime some Muslim owned business premises have been stoned. Police presence has been strengthened after Azad Salley – Central Provincial Council member brought the matter to the notice of the Inspector General of Police (IGP).
March 03, 2015 – Nationwide: Picture in text books creates misconception of Muslims: Muslim teachers complain of a cattle-slaughtering picture that appears page 9 of the Tamil (second language) book currently taught at Government Sinhala Medium Schools for Grade-9 is offending Muslim sentiments. This picture creates an unnecessary bad impression in mind of Sinhala students about Muslims. Muslim teachers who teach at Tamil as a second language in Sinhala Schools feel uncomfortable about it and have requested Educational Publications Department to amend to it. Today’s Vidivelli carried this report.
Vidivelli (page 11) March 03, 2015
March 03, 2015 – Seruwila, Trincomalee District: Abaya banned in Seruwila Divisional Secretariat: The Seruwila Divisional Secretary issued instructions banning Muslim lady staff of the Secretariat from wearing abaya to the office. This has compelled the lady staff to wear sarees to office during weekdays. Staffs who do not wish to adhere to this instruction have been asked to stay away from the office.
Navamani (page 13) March 08, 2015, http://madawalanews.com/61772
March 03, 2015 – Nationwide: Media briefing – BBS calls for ban on burka in public: BBS General Secretary Ven. Gnanasara at the media briefing held at its office Kirulapone said “ BBS will instruct youth to not to adhere to face-covering helmet law until burka is banned. There cannot be two different laws in the country. If the authorities are really concerned of the safety of the citizens and the national security they must ban burka as well, if the Government does not ban the burka we will also cover our faces with the robe ”, he added.
Thinakkural (page 7) March 04, 2015, Virakesari (page 2) March 04, 2015, Mawbima (page 12) March 05, 2015
March 09, 2015 – Ratnapura, Ratnapura District: Discrimination: According to August 8, 2014 gazette notification applications called for 4500 Tamil medium teachers to teach in schools in the upcountry completely ignoring Muslim Schools. Interviews were held on 9th, 10th& 11th of March at Ferguson Girls School, Ratnapura. When Muslims went for the teaching interview they have not been entertained by the interview board. They were informed that these vacancies were available only to upcountry Tamil teachers.
March 10, 2015 – Kurunegala, Kurunegala District: Slogans vilifying Allah and His prophet at Kurunegala: Derogatory sentences vilifying Almighty Allah and Prophet Muhammad appeared on walls closer to Kurunegala Zahira College. Furthermore, some abusive, disparaging sentences against Muslims and Muslim ministers too have appeared.
Navamani (page 1) March 14, 2015, http://madawalanews.com/62752
March 10, 2015 – Badulla technical College, Badulla District: Teacher barred hijab at technical College: Female Muslim students of Badulla technical College were barred from entering the college in hijab by a newly appointed teacher. This was amicably settled after the matter was taken up by the Badulla District Muslim Council President Mr. Muzammil, to the relevant authority.
March 17, 2015 – Nationwide: Muslim extremists encroach historic places – Ven. Medille Pangnaloka: A letter written by Sinhala National Front President Ven. Medille Pangnaloka was circulated on websites claiming that Muslim extremists are destroying historic places and are encouraging communal disharmony. Ven. Pangnaloka alleged that the activities of the Muslim extremists have been rising once again with emergence of the good governance. He claims that the Muslims were constructing religious places of worship in a manner which did nothing but provoke the Sinhala Buddhists. “Buddhist temples and religious identities can be challenges for the Muslims when their population increases, economy and culture develop, therefore, the Muslims are planning a long term strategy to encroach the historical places,” he alleged. “The settlements closer to the Pottuvil Grand temple, Kirinda, Kuragala, Rangiri Dambulla and Dalada Maligawa in Kandy are some example of their expansion,” he further elucidated. The letter concluded with the author requesting responsible officials to refrain from making false allegations against Sinhala Buddhists by accusing them of racism. According to Ven. Pangnaloka, actions of Muslim extremists continue to provoke Sinhala Buddhists. Offering a solution, he states that the re-establishment of the Ministry for Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs will ensure religious harmony, especially if priority is given to Buddhism.
March 22, 2015 – Warakapola, Kegalle District: Tenants of shops owned by Muslims claim the shops belong to Naga temple of Dalada Maligawa: Sinhalese who had leased shops from Muslims for a long period in Warakapola recently started to claim ownership of 13 shops by stating that they belonged to the Naga temple of the Dalada Maligawa. They used to pay rent to the Muslim owners but now make payments to the above temple instead. Additionally, they produced paid rent receipts from the temple as well. Recently, several Sinhalese forcefully entered and attached new locks to shops belonging to Muslims. Though the shop owners took legal action and the court had ordered the shops to be returned to its rightful owners, these orders were defied by several extremist groups. Allegations by extremists also claim that Muslims have no right to live in certain areas on land in Warakapola, and that those residing in such areas should pay tax to the temple.
Nawamani (page 1) March 22, 2015
March 30, 2015 – Dehiwala, Colombo District: Neighbours insist closer of Kadawatha Road Mosque : The Sinhalese people in Kadawatha Road lodged a complaint insisting the closure of the Dehiwela Kadawatha road Masjidul As-Shafee Mosque, as it is a hindrance to the people who live closer to the mosque. They made this complaint to the Special Police Unit dealing with complaints related to religious activities. In their written complaint they have mentioned that the Mosque comes under the Kohuwela Police Division, creates unpleasant noise from religious activities and vehicle parking of Mosque visitors in front of Sinhalese houses also pollute the environment. The Special Police Unit (which handles religious complaints under the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs) requested the Mosque’s administration to present themselves to the Ministry to record a statement in this regard.
Vidivelli (page 1) March 31, 2015
March 31, 2015 – Boralesgamuwa, Colombo District: Case filed against Jummah Mosque: The Boralesgamuwa Urban Council chairman filed a case against the Boralesgamuwa Jummah Mosque at Nugegoda Magistrate alleging that some building blocks attached to the mosque were illegal, and for the removal of such blocks. Nugegoda court took the case for examination on March 31, 2015. However, the mosque administration states that the urban council refused to approve the revised plan for the mosque, claiming that there were legal issues concerning the plan. The Court is due to examine the case on July 14, 2015.
Vidivelli (page 1) April 05, 2015
April 01, 2015 – Arayampathy, Batticaloa District: Stop building Mosque and Muslim settlements: The President of Nam Hindu (We are Hindus) organization and former Provincial council member P. Prasandhan handed over a petition to several senior officials of the government requesting to stop the building of a mosque and of planned Muslim settlements in holy land of Kovilkulam Sikaram, Arayampathy East. Requesting the Archeological Department to declare the land as a ‘Holy Site’, he threatened to launch a hunger-strike if officials failed to respond to his demands within a week.
Thinakkural (page 5) April 02, 2015
April 02, 2015 – Nationwide: Media briefing – Ban niqab/burka if full-face helmet to be banned – Sinhala Ravaya: The Sinhala Ravaya demanded the police to ban the wearing of the burka and niqab with immediate effect, if they decide proceed with implementing the ban on wearing the full-face helmet. Speaking at a media briefing today, Convener of Sinhala Ravaya Magalkande Sudaththa said, “If the police claims full-face helmets are banned to reduce crime rates, it is nothing more than a decoy to cover the inefficiency of the police. A man dressed in a burka attempted to rob a bank in Katugastota, and a drug lord was evading the police for a year under the guise of this attire. What is the technique deployed by the police to identify a criminal hiding under this attire?”He went on to state that if the police is able to identify whether it’s a man, a woman or a criminal who hides under the niqab or burka, the police should deploy similar methods to crack down on criminals attempting to engage in illegal activities under the cover of the full face helmet. “We urge the Police to ban the burka too as it is a grave threat to national security,” he added.
https://www.facebook.com/751267798237933/photos/a.786058734758839.1073741829.751267798237933/949146491783395/?type=1&theater Lakbima (page 5) April 06, 2015
April 04, 2014 – Kuragla, Ratnapura District: Sihala Ravaya tried to enter the Kuragala mosque: A group of protesters led by Ven. Magalkande Sudantha demanded the demolition of the mosque and two tombs within the Kuragala mosque premises, claiming that they stood on an archaeological site that once housed Buddhist centres. The protesters vowed to come back if the authorities did not take action to remove them, and gathered outside the Kuragala mosque site despite an enjoining order issued by the Balangoda Magistrate against any protests. Police said they were forced to disperse the crowd of about 150 Sihala Ravaya supporters who had come armed with crowbars and other tools to demolish the mosque. However the local Sinhala neighbors had obstructed the road while holding banners which read “We are Sri Lankans and we are against racist powers which provokes Sinhala-Muslim clashes”. Further conversation between protesters and locals lead to a tense situation and police intervention to control the situation also failed. Therefore police resorted to using tear gas in order to disperse the crowd. ( Please refer incident number 13 – February 23, 2015)
Lakbima (page 6) April 06, 2015, Mawbima (page 4) April 08, 2015, Rivira (page 3) April 08, 2015, Rivira (page 3) April 06, 2015, Serendib (page1) April 06, 2015, Thinakaran – Arangam – April 10, 2015
April 05, 2015 – Kuragala, Ratnapura District: Sinhala Ravaya vows to fight on for Kuragala: Sinhala Ravaya Chairman Ven. Akmeemana Dayarathana said that his organization will continue fighting to protect the Kuragala archaeological site from Islamic extremist elements. Releasing a video statement, Ven. Dayarathana said that the Sinhala Ravaya went to Kuragala after they had repeatedly requested relevant authorities to protect the archaeological site by implementing available rules and regulations. Explaining further, Ven. Dayarathana said that there were several signboards indicating that the site is a Buddhist archaeological site, and that Islamic fundamentalist elements were damaging the area. He added that it was in fact the site of the ‘Diva Guhava’ found in Buddhist folktales, and is believed to be the cave in which Lord Buddha rested in on his way to Sri Pada(Adam’s Peak). “Since it is an archaeological site, authorities could have taken steps to protect it. If they are not taking action, Sinhala Ravaya will continue fighting to protect the site”, he concluded. ( Please refer incident number 29 – April 04, 2015)
April 05, 2015 – Nationwide: Protecting the Buddhist historic places is our obligation- Ravana Balaya: General Secretary of Ravana Balaya Ven. Ittekande Saddhatissa stated when laws on hate speech is implemented, action must be taken against R.Sampanthan and Rauff Hakeem as well. He further claimed that Sinhalese Buddhists did nothing to provoke communalism or racism, but merely struggled to protect their historical rights; whereas Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader Sampanthan and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress’s (SLMC) leader Rauff Hakeem initiated hate speech with the intent of causing disharmony within the country.
Virakesari (page 21) April 06, 2015
April 06, 2015 – Kiribathgoda, Colombo District: Protest against Muslim business: Hameedia, the leading fashion wear for men, has opened a new branch at Kiribathgoda. After few minutes of opening it, a small group of people gathered and began to protest. People who protested held boards stating that they didn’t want the outlet in Kiribathgoda. The protest was stopped upon the arrival of the police. Additionally, a number of posters displayed condemning the clothing chain’s expansion to Kiribathgoda. Muslims have not been allowed to begin any businesses within the Kiribathgoda area for a long while now.
April 07, 2015 – Kuragala, Ratnapura District: Media briefing – “We cannot allow Muslims to encroach Kuragala” – BBS: BBS CEO Dilanthe Withanage stated in a media briefing held at BBS head quarters Kirulapone that the BBS will not allow Muslims to occupy the holy Buddhist land of Kuragala. Furthermore, he condemned the actions of police towards the Sihala Ravaya monks who lead protests in Kuragala, and accused the government of failing to take action against those who continued to defy the court order by constructing mosques in the area. Further they demanded government intervention to find an immediate solution to this problem. ( Please refer incident number 30 – April 05, 2015)
SudarOli (page 1) April 08, 2015, Virakesari (page 21) April 06, 2015
April 08, 2015 – Nationwide: Media conference – Sihala Ravaya warns the Government: At a media conference held at Buddhist Cultural Centre Dehiwala, President of the Sinhala Ravaya Ven. Akmeemana Dayarathana warned the Government to safeguard the Buddhist sites – namely Kuragala, Dambulla and Devanagala – from Muslim Fundamentalists. He also threatened to join the Bodu Bala Sena and the Ravana Balaya in joint protest and launch massive protests if the government authorities failed to comply with them. ( Please refer incident number 33 – April 07, 2015)
Vidivelli (page 1) April 13, 2015
April 23, 2015 – Kuragagala, Balangoda, Ratnapura District: Kuragala Mosque to be relocated – Minister: State Minister of Cultural Affairs Nandimithra Ekanayake issued a statement declaring that a decision has been taken to relocate the Kuragala Mosque, following discussions with the Muslim community. He further stated that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had appointed a committee to look into the matter. However, this statement was concerning the relocation of the mosque was strongly denied by the mosque trustees. ( Please refer incident number 34 – April 08, 2015)
The Nation (page 3) April 26, 2015, Rivira (page 3) April 24, 2015, Vidivelli (page 1) April 27, 2015
April 23, 2015 – Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 07, Colombo District: Distorted Sri Lankan National flags marginalizing minorities: The emergence of distorted Sri Lanka National flag sans the standard green and orange coloured stripes representing Sri Lankan Minorities were noted again today at an anti – government protest outside the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption. These flags widely used by the protesters when former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa appeared to make a statement. Following the incident three complaints were lodged and Inspector General of Police ordered the Crime Investigation Department (CID) to launch investigations into the distortion of the National Flag. Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya directed the CID to arrest the suspects in this regard and to produce them to court on July 13, 2015. ( Please refer incident number 15 – March 02, 2015)
Ceylon Today (page 10) April 29, 2015, Daily FT (page 1) April 24, 2015, Daily Mirror (page 1) April 25, 2015, Sunday Times (page 2) April 26, 2015, Dinamina (page 1) April 25, 2015, Thinakaran (page 5) April 27, 2015, Vidivelli (page 2) April 27, 2015, Virakesari (page 1) April 25, 2015 https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=900878889972629 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpmEXxgzZZc
April, 2015 – Nationwide: Muslims discriminated in teaching appointments at plantation sector: It was reported in the newspapers that only the Tamil youth wereappointed for the posts of teachers to serve in plantation sector schools. Muslim youth from plantation sector and upcountry also applied for the aptitude test and appeared for the interviews. But they were disappointed in the manner these interviews were held. The selections were made only from the Tamil youth. The Muslims were told at the interviews that these appointments were only meant for Tamil youth. A large number of Tamil students study at Muslim schools just as a considerable number of Muslim students study at Tamil schools in the plantation sector.
Daily News (page 8) April 24, 2015, Thinakaran (page 2) April 23, 2015
 President Maithripala Sirisena’s Address to the Nation at the 67th Independence Day Celebrations.