30th November 2016

Constitution, devolution and minorities

30th November 2016 // 0 Comments

A national debate on the proposed new constitution commenced with the recent session of the Constitutional Council and drafting of proposals by different Committees. To set the tone, President Maithripala Sirisena referred to the conceptual positions with regard to the proposed constitution in his recent interview with The Hindu. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Opposition Leader R Sampanthan made statements in Parliament and Northern Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran also made few comments in the Provincial Council and outside. Talking to Meera Sirinivasan of The Hindu, President Sirisena did not hesitate to give his honest opinion. “People of the south are scared of the word federal. People of the north are scared of the word unitary. What we should do is not fight over these […]

Trouble once again in paradise

30th November 2016 // 0 Comments

The fluid political situation in Sri Lanka, and the erosion of popular support for the Sirisen a – W i c k r e m e s i n g h e combine, have together created in the minds of the minority Tamils, doubts about the regime’s ability to draft a Tamil-friendly constitution and face the political storm that will certainly follow. Sensing a drift towards abandonment of the constitution- making exercise and its substitution by a few amendments to the existing constitution along with electoral reforms, the MPs of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the largest Tamil party in Parliament with 16 MPs, met President Maithripala Sirisena recently to air their concerns. Sirisena assured the MPs that he is keen on a new constitution […]

Questions still ahead as Sri Lanka prepares for EU scrutiny for GSP+ resumption

30th November 2016 // 0 Comments

Marriages are made in heaven they say, but even this as a basis of child rights among a host of other issues from torture of detainees to tackling hate speech and equality of minorities in Sri Lanka are hot topics in Brussels where the European Union (EU) is currently drafting the recommendation likely to allow Colombo to regain its concessions to the bloc. The EU has had discussions with Sri Lanka’s new administration under President Maithripala Sirisena soon after they  assumed office on how the country could submit a successful application to regain the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) +. This clearly signaled the government’s intention to regain the GSP + concessions as opposed to the climate that prevailed back in 2009 when the EU […]

Growing concern over revival of hate speech against Sri Lankan Tamils and Muslims

30th November 2016 // 0 Comments

COLOMBO: There is growing concern in Sri Lanka over the revival of hate speech against the minority Tamils and Muslims. The Minister of National Coexistence, Mano Ganesan, leader of the National Unity Alliance (NUA) Asad Sally, and the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), have called for stern action because hate speech defeats the Sirisena government’s bid to bring about ethnic reconciliation after a 30 year conflict. The Batticaloa Buddhist monk Ampitiya Sumanarathana  of the Mangalarama Temple last week publicly abused a Tamil Grama Sewaka calling him a “bloody Tiger and a dog” and threatened to “smash” him and “the rule of the Muslins and Tamils” if he did not stop filing cases against the Sinhalese. What was more galling was the total inaction of the police officer […]

Govt. should work with elected representatives of North: Sampanthan

30th November 2016 // 0 Comments

The government needs to formulate a comprehensive programme of work for the North and East. The government needs to work with the elected representatives of the people, Opposition Leader R.Sampanthan said in Parliament yesterday. He was joining the Second Reading debate on Appropriation Bill 2017. The Opposition Leader said that there are sixteen TNA members and they are ready to work with the government to accomplish that task. He said that the North and the East had been a much neglected area both before and after the war and the basic needs of the people such as rehabilitation, housing and livelihood including farming, fishing and animal husbandry should be fully met in 2017. “The suffering of these affected people cannot be a continuing phenomenon,” Sampanthan […]

Karuna Amman arrested after appearing before FCID

30th November 2016 // 0 Comments

Former Minister Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman was arrested today after he appeared before the Police Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID). Amman was asked to appear before the FCID to record a statement on the alleged misuse of a Government vehicle.  He was arrested and produced in court and remanded till December 7. Karuna Amman was a Minister in the former Government and was also an LTTE member. After leaving the LTTE, Karuna led the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pullikal (TMVP) and helped the army to defeat the rebels. Following the end of the war Karuna Amman joined the Government led by then President Mahinda Rajapaksa. In January last year when the new Government took office Karuna Amman lost his place in the Government and later in Parliament. He […]