Constitution, devolution and minorities

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…

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Trouble once again in paradise

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…

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

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…

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

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”…

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Govt. should work with elected representatives of North: Sampanthan

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…

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Karuna Amman arrested after appearing before FCID

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…

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Tamils mark Maaveerar Naal 2016 worldwide

Tens of thousands of Tamils across the world on November 27 and the days leading up to it held events to mark Maaveerar Naal (Tamil national remembrance day).  The day, which remembers those who sacrificed their lives in the Tamil struggle for freedom, is marked on November 27 in memory of the first death of a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) cadre in fighting. Lt. Shankar died in combat on November 27, 1982.  For the first time after the end of the armed conflict, Tamils in the North-East gathered by thuyilum illams (LTTE…

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SLFP AGAINST ANY INCLUSION OF FEDERALISM IN NEW CONSTITUTION

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party says it will not compromise on its stance on three issues concerning the new constitution. Speaking to reporters in Kandy after a meeting with SLFP organisers Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said the SLFP remains adamant that the new constitution should preserve the prominence of Buddhism and the unitary state principal and should not include any federalism. Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said the new constitution is not being compiled in secret. He said the Lal Wijenayake committee report contains the summary of public opinion…

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‘President Mahinda’s LTTE Deal Exposed’ but will not be arrested or punished!

Investigators Helpless Over Alles’ Deal  ‘All are equal but some are more equal than others’ by Nirmala Kannangara The former parliamentarian’s influence extends beyond the three powerful Rajapaksa brothers who visited him in remand prison. Although the RADA funds had been disbursed for the Jaya Lanka housing project, not a single house had been constructed neither in Vavuniya nor in Mullaitivu districts. In the event the RADA officials were not able to unearth the scam, the remaining Rs. 676 million would have either gone to Emil Kanthan to strengthen the…

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Refuse to pay a bribe to police and you will be branded a ‘LTTE – Tiger’ and subjected to abuses.

By Easwaran Rutnam The United Nations is maintaining its status quo on Sri Lanka with regard to the investigations on incidents related to the war. The government had said recently there was no pressure on Sri Lanka with regard to the accountability process. There is also a feeling that the policy on Sri Lanka may change with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stepping down next year. Farhan Haq, the Deputy Spokesman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon exclusively told The Sunday Leader that the priorities for Sri Lanka have not changed. “I…

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Sri Lanka’s Conflict, Peace, and the American Myth

by William Martz 1983-2009 saw Sri Lanka in the midst of a civil war, an era encapsulated by daily fear, loss, and bloodshed. Since peace was restored following the SLA’s 2009 victory over the LTTE much has been commented upon in the press about the war. One commonly proponed discourse in this country asserts that the conflict should be condensed into a struggle of good vs evil; a simplistic approach that wholly neglects a comprehensive vision. Whilst many remain loth to accept a holistic viewpoint, they are liable to promote…

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Inaugural Meeting of the Canadian-Tamil Parliamentary Friendship Group

For Immediate Release  November 22, 2016 Ottawa, ON – The Canadian-Tamil Parliamentary Friendship Group was formed on Monday, November 14, 2016, at the Parliamentary Precinct.  Several items of business were passed at this inaugural meeting, including a Constitution, election of the Executive and consensus to build relations with groups such as the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils in the United Kingdom. The current group comprises 31 members from four different Canadian Political parties. The following Executive Positions were elected: Chair Mark Holland, MP, Ajax (Liberal) Vice-Chairs Alex Nuttall, MP, Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte…

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Diaspora participation in post-war revival and reconstruction of the Tamil homeland in Ilankai/Sri Lanka

Seven years ended in May 2016 since the civil war ended, but the unfortunate consequences of the conflict continue to have a huge impact on the lives of the people in the island. Although the Tamil people of the North faced the brunt of the brutal war in the final phase, the life of the Tamils in both the North and the East in the post war situation is a difficult and bitter struggle. The gruesome events in the last phase of the war galvanised the Ilam Tamil diaspora, horrified…

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NPC calls for legal action against racist Buddhist monks

The Northern Provincial Council has condemned the building of Buddhist viharas in the North as well as calling for legal action against Buddhist monks who incite racial and religious hatred. In its 66th sitting on Thursday, the NPC’s chair C. V. K. Sivagnanam brought the resolution condemning the proliferation of Buddhist viharas across the North, pointing out that the region was home to very few Buddhists. The resolution also called for legal action to be taken against Buddhist monks, particularly mentioning the recent incident in Batticaloa’s Mangalaramam, where a monk…

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Solihull Junior School Raised £10,908 to Srilankan Tamil School

Head Master of Solihull Junior School Mr Mark Penney, accompanied by Assist RR Trustees, visited Sri Lanka in July/August 2106 . When we visited Puthukudiyiruppu (PTK) Roman Catholic Tamil Mixed School (RCTMS), the Acting Principal of the school, Sister Yaso James, invited us to witness a dilapidated temporary shelter that is being used for four classrooms. The shelter was in a very bad condition and in an urgent need of replacement. Photos of this shelter is given below. Mr Penney was taken aback by the conditions under which children were learning. After witnessing the need there, the Solihull Junior school agreed to raise funds during their fund raising week…

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Devolution of powers considered under unitary state admin By admin

Devolution of powers to the provinces will be considered under a unitary state, the Government said today. Deputy Minister of Power and Energy, Ajith P. Perera said that the process to draft a new Constitution includes discussions on devolving powers to the provinces. However he asserted that the unitary state of the country will not be compromised in the new Constitution, nor will the priority given to Buddhism. The Deputy Minister said that all religions have accepted the priority given to Buddhism in Sri Lanka and this will be safeguarded in…

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SL’S UNITARY STATUS WILL BE RETAINED – SLFP

Rejecting all Opposition allegations, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party today asserted that the proposed new Constitution or an amendment to the existing Constitution will retain the Unitary Status of Sri Lanka. Minister Susil Premajayanth said the first law of the country will not compromise the rights of the citizen. Speaking during a media briefing in Colombo today Minister Premajayanth said a Constitution of a country should address concerns and issues of its citizens. The Minister stated that a COPE committee report on the investigation into the Bond issuance has been…

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Lasantha killing Army Int. men positively involved – CID

By Ananda Weerasuriya Mount Lavinia Magistrate Mohammad Sahabdeen yesterday dismissed a request for a temporary lifting of the ban imposed on Premananda Udalagama, the Army Intelligence Officer suspected of involvement in the Lasantha Wickrematunge killing, from entering Army Camps. Udalagama, who was arrested on charges of abducting the driver of late Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha, was recently released on bail but prohibited entering any Army Camp/premises in the country. When the case was taken for hearing yesterday at the Mt. Lavinia Magistrate’s Court, attorneys for suspect Udalagama making submissions to…

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‘Gotabaya gave Rs. 50 million to murder Raviraj’-Constable Abeyaratne of intelligence division giving evidence reveals..!

(Lanka-e-News -28.Feb.2016, 7.00PM) Former defense secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse had given Rs.50 million to Karuna group to murder former Jaffna district M.P. Nadaraja Raviraj , an ex constable of the intelligence information  unit, Liyanarachige Abeyaratne revealed before Colombo additional magistrate Thilina Gamage when giving evidence.  The murder was an outcome  of the conspiratorial actions of the previous government , and this sum was paid through Vasantha of the defense ministry to the Karuna faction . This murder was committed with the knowledge of DIG Keerthi Gajanayake ,SSP Doole(State intelligence division )…

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Rajitha in Jaffna and Wiggy in Colombo

By Manekshaw Minister of Health and Co-Cabinet Spokesman Dr. Rajitha Senaratne has announced at the Cabinet Media briefing last Wednesday (23) that there was nothing wrong in commemorating the dead. Minister Rajitha Senaratne was in Jaffna on Sunday (20) to participate at the event to commemorate the tenth year death anniversary of slain Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarian N. Raviraj. The statue of N. Raviraj has been erected in his hometown Chavakachcheri, and it was unveiled by the Leader of the Opposition and the Tamil National Alliance Leader R. Sampanthan, in…

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