ITAK Gets a Clean Chit as Supreme Court Rules Federalism is not Separatism
The month of August saw a flurry of hectic political activity in Sri Lanka. The statement made by controversial minister Ravi Karunayake at the Presidential Commission of inquiry followed by his resignation, the move to postpone Provincial council polls by way of the 20th Constitutional amendment, the revolt within UNP ranks against the conduct of maverick UNP minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and the fast tracking of probes concerning allegations against family members of ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa along with other issues like the SAITM affair etc have been drawing the attention of the nation at large for the past few weeks.
In the midst of all this August excitement, the supreme court of Sri Lanka delivered a landmark judgement of profound importance on August 4th. The three member bench comprising Chief Justice Priyasath Dep, Justice Upali Abeyratne and Justice Anil Goonaratne in a landmark ruling gave a clean chit to the federal form of governance and the chief Tamil political party espousing federalism in Sri Lanka namely the Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi(ITAK) popularly referred to in English as the Federal Party(FP).
From the very early years since its inception in December 1949 the ITAK/FP had been accused by its political detractors of being a party attempting to divide the country by espousing Federalism. This has led to the growth of an erroneous impression among many Sri Lankans that Federalism amounts to Separatism . In its long political journey the ITAK/FP found this perception of equating federalism with secessionism a major obstacle in pursuing the objective of power sharing through negotiations.
“Govigama” Monopoly Of Presidents And Prime Ministers In Sri Lanka
by D.B.S. Jeyaraj
As a keen observer of the Indian political scene for many decades the election of an Indian President is an exercise I greatly admire. What I have been impressed most is the tradition followed by successive Indian Governments of electing presidents reflecting the mixed population of the country at large. India has through a deliberate process of selection ensured over the years that members of the regional, religious and linguistic minorities are rotated as Presidents of India. In recent times caste and gender too have become relevant factors. [DBSJ]
Anatomy of an Anti-Tamil Pogrom: Thirty-fourth Anniversary of “Black July” 1983
(This article was posted in 2013 to denote the 30th anniversary of Black July 83 and is reproduced here again with minor changes in view of the 34th anniversary of the anti- Tamil pogrom)
“Shops, Banks, Offices and Restaurants in the Capital’s crowded City Centre and Main Streets being burnt while the Police look on. Thousands of houses ransacked and burnt, sometimes with women and children inside. Goon squads battering passengers to death in trains and on station platforms and, without hindrance, publicly burning men and women to death on the streets! Remand prisoners and political detainees in the country’s top prison being massacred.The armed forces joining in and sometimes organizing this pogrom against members of Sri Lanka’s two Sri Lankan minority communities. The nation’s President and top ranking cabinet members publicly justifying the pogrom!” – (Introductory Paragraph from “Sri Lanka” The holocaust and After” by C.R. Hensman writing under the pseudonym L. Piyadasa)
The tragic history of post – independence Sri Lanka records that the Tamils of Sri Lanka have been subjected to mass –scale mob violence in the years 1956, 1958, 1977, 1981 and 1983. The anti-Tamil violence of July 1983 was the most terrible and horrible of them all. It remains etched in memory even after 30 years. [DBSJ]
Ex-LTTE Leader Ezhilan’s Wife Ananthy Sasitharan Becomes First Woman Northern Provincial Minister
45 year old Ananthy Sasitharan made history when she was sworn in before Northern province governor Reginald Cooray in Jaffna as Northern provincial minister of women’s affairs, rehabilitation, social services, food supply and distribution and industries on June 29th 2017. Ananthy who will celebrate her birthday on September 10th has set a record of sorts by becoming the first woman to be appointed as a Northern provincial minister. She was elected from the Jaffna district in the first Northern provincial election with the second highest number of preferential votes polling 87,770. ( Incidently her name is spelled in the media in different ways such as Anandhi, Ananthi, Ananty and Ananthy. The official Northern province council website spells her name as Ananthy. Therefore I am also using the same).
Well-known Lawyer Lakshan Dias Flees Sri Lanka After Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe Threatens to Take Action in Two Days
Well -known lawyer and Human Right Defender Lakshan Dias has flown out of his motherland to an undisclosed destination for reasons of personal safety,it is learnt.
The outspoken lawyer had been receiving threats from different quarters after stating in a TV forum that over a 190 incidents of violence,harassment and intimidation against Christians and christian places of worship have occurred in Sri Lanka for the past two years since January 8th 2015. [DBSJ]
TNA Leader Sampanthan “Saves” Wigneswaran By Informing Governor Cooray that No Confidence Motion Against Northern Chief Minister will be Withdrawn
Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran will continue in the post following an understanding with Tamil National Alliance leader R. Sampanthan, days after a large bloc of governing council members withdrew support.
On Monday, the Chief Minister agreed to reverse his controversial directive to two provincial ministers that Mr. Sampanthan had earlier objected to. [DBSJ]
Wigneswaran in Fighting Mood Planning to Defy TNA- ITAK Leadership by Appointing Four New Provincial Ministers From EPRLF, TELO and PLOTE
Controversial Northern province chief minister Canagasabapathy Visuvalingam Wigneswaran who has lost the confidence of at least 22 out of 38 Northern provincial councillors is in a fighting mood and is planning to defy the Tamil National Alliance(TNA) and Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi (ITAK)leadership said informed Jaffna sources yesterday. [DBSJ]
Unsolved Murder in Broad Daylight of Batticaloa Journalist Aiyathurai Nadesan
Jaffna District MP, Mathiaparanam Abraham Sumanthiran waxed eloquent during the course of the adjournment debate in Parliament on June 6th 2017. M. A. Sumanthiran who is also the official spokesperson of the Tamil National Alliance(TNA) and its premier constituent, the Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi (ITAK) emphasised that they stood “for a country that is not divided, a country in which all the peoples will be proud of their equal status to live without discrimination or fear”. Speaking further Sumanthiran lamented the fact that there was much discrimination along ethnic lines in many spheres in the country. He pointed out that there was discrimination even in the matter of taking action to ensure justice for journalists victimised in the past.
The TNA Parliamentarian who is also a lawyer touched upon the issue of attacks on journalists in this regard and stressed that there was discrimination in addressing such matters too. [DBSJ]
Remembering LSSP Leader Dr.N.M.Perera at a Time When Most of His Cautionary Warnings Are Coming True in Sri Lanka
by Tissa Vitarana
When celebrating the 112th Birth Anniversary on June 6 of Dr.N.M. Perera, one of the few great visionary statesmen produced by our country, one can only marvel at his commitment and his many predictions that have come to pass. [DBSJ]
Sathya Sai International Organization #FloodSL Flood Relief Collection point
“Operation Re-shuffle” Key Objective Was Removing Ravi Karunanayake as Finance Minister
The Oxford English dictionary defines the word compromise as being “an agreement or settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions”. Sri Lanka witnesed a political compromise of sorts between President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe when the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and United National Party(UNP)leaders displayed a show of unity in bringing about a mini re-shuffle of portfolios among members of their cabinet. [DBSJ]
Sri Lanka: Many missing after floods kill 151 people
Flooding and mudslides have killed at least 151 people in Sri Lanka and 111 people remain missing, according to Rajitha Senaratne, health minister.
Emergency teams rushed to distribute aid to another half a million people displaced by the island’s worst flooding in more than a decade. [AlJazeera]
Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Nocturnal Rendezvous With Narendra Modi
Vesak festivity in Sri Lanka acquired an international dimension this year with the Island nation hosting the United Nations International Vesak day. The icing on this Vesak event cake was the participation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as chief guest in the celebrations. Even though President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe basked in the glow of Narendra Modi’s brief trip described officially as a “religious visit”, the political highlight of the Indian premier’s stay in Sri Lanka was the nocturnal rendezvous with former Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa. [DBSJ]
The White-Vanning Ordeal Of Journalist-Activist Poddala Jayantha
Well-known Sri Lankan Journalist – activist Poddala Jayantha was in the news last week when he sent a letter to the Director-General of Information Dr. Ranga Kalansuriya who is also the Secretary to the Cabinet Sub Committee on granting measures of relief to media persons who were subjected to various types of harassment and oppression during the period 2005 – 2015. Media reports said that copies of the letter had also been sent to the respective cabinet ministers serving in the cabinet sub – committee. [DBSJ]
TNA Concerned Over Provisions of Proposed Counter Terrorism Act as an “Attempt to Enlarge Scope of Unchecked Executive Power Over the Citizen”
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is “deeply concerned over Cabinet approval for a policy and legal framework relating to the proposed Counter-Terrorism Act”. The TNA says “We have not been consulted on the terms of the draft framework, which has recently appeared in the press and appears to be a Cabinet memorandum approved on 25th April 2017”. [DBSJ]