The feature article published in yesterday’s (19) ‘Silumina’ titeld ‘Who is the opposition politician behind the lifting of the LTTE ban?’ written by T. Chandrasekara, has caught attention both locally and internationally due to the picture published along with the article. The picture shows the president and other office-bearers of the UNP branch in the UK in conversation with the opposition leader. The picture had the caption ‘Ranil deep in conversation with Tiger Diaspora in London’.
The office-bearers of the UNP branch have promptly sent a letter of demand to the newspaper, alleging serious insult to their good name, reported weekend media. According to reports, the UNP office-bearers are going to file cases, one in Sri Lanka demanding Rs. 500 million in damages and a two million pound sterling defamation case in England, and are also seeking a ban on the sale of ‘Silumina’ in that country.
But, it is surprising to all as to whether the UNP office-bearers had not seen that – before ‘Silumina’ published this picture, ‘Sunday Mawbima’ of the previous weekend had carried the same picture with the same title. If not, they should explain the cause of action for having disregarded Tiran’s ‘Mawbima’ and filing action against ‘Silumina’ only.
Our sources at ‘Mawbima’ explained to us as to what has happened:
The consultant to the UNP branch in question is also the London correspondent for ‘Mawbima’, and due to a personal antagonism, he has sent this particular picture along with another picture for publication. The other picture shows former president of the UNP branch in the UK Dr. Roger Srivasan conversing with the opposition leader. Dr. Srivasan is a person with wide social acceptance, being a member of various societies in London, having conections with both opposition and government personalities as well as members of the armed forces, and who frequently visits Sri Lanka. He is a very close friend of the opposition leader, but he being a Tamil, it is very easy to brand him a ‘Tiger.’
By mistake, ‘Mawbima’ had published the wrong picture, which shows the opposition leader being flanked by UNP London branch president Harsha Kannangara, who is a barrister in Britain. He is also a close friend of ‘Mawbima’ managing editor Thushara Gunaratne. During visits to Sri Lanka, he has paid more than five visits to the ‘Mawbima’ office, say our sources there. This picture amply demonstrates that Gunaratne is unaware of what is being published in his newspaper, in which he is the editor only for the name. This irresponsible act has led to the prevailing dispute between Tiran and Thushara, say the sources.
‘Mawbima’ does not consider it has any ethical obligation to correct the mistake. Since both sides being mango friends, the matter was settled without letting it go out of hand. It was thereafter that the ‘Silumina’ idiot fell into the same pit. Without making any inquiries, he too, used the same picture for his stupid article. What has happened now is that the mistake has increased many folds and it has become a ‘free for all’ due to one conspirator among office-bearers of the UNP London branch.
Giving prominence to this article, for the first time in its history, ‘Silumina’ pasted posters with the same caption all over Colombo city on Friday night.
The intention was to brand the opposition leader a Tiger and to promote president Mahinda Rajapaksa at the presidential election. But, that bomb has exploded prematurely. That bomb was made in London to target the leader. The state media is raising a big voice over this falsehood in order to nullify Wickremesinghe’s popularity among Sinhala Buddhists in Sri Lanka. Harsha Kannangara and other office-bearers of the London UNP branch have contributed to it knowingly or unknowingly.
Due to the abovementioned facts, all office-bearers of the London UNP branch should explain their collective conspiracy against their leader. If they were truly unaware of the matter, they should immediately expose the perpetrator. They have the peremptory obligation to prove their innocence. Before seeking damages from ‘Silumina’ they should nullify the damage caused to the UNP.