Peace for the World

Peace for the World
First democratic leader of Justice the Godfather of the Sri Lankan Tamil Struggle: Honourable Samuel James Veluppillai Chelvanayakam

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

‘Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act should be repealed’  

Participants of the 'Free Jeyakumari' campaign held in Colombo on Monday. Photo: Meera Srinivasan
MEERA SRINIVASAN-September 30, 2014 
Return to frontpageCivil society members and politicians came together at a campaign in Colombo, seeking the release of Balendran Jeyakumari, who was arrested by Sri Lanka’s Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) in March this year. They demanded that the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) — under which Ms. Jeyakumari was detained — be repealed immediately.

ජෙයකුමාරි රදවාගෙන දින 200යි! | ජෙයකුමාරි නිදහස් කරනු! කොටුවේ විරෝධතාවයක් [එම විරෝධතාවයට, විරෝධය පළ කරමින් ආණ්ඩුවේ කුළි හේවායනුත් විරෝධතාවයක][Photos]

2014 මාර්තු මස 13 වන දින ආරක්ෂක අංශ විසින් ජෙයකුමාරි බාලෙන්ද්‍රන් අත්අඩංගුවට ගෙන අදට දින 200ක් ගතවෙයි.-
මේ දින 200ය තුළ ඇයට කිසිදු චෝදනාවක් ඉදිරිපත් නොකර බූස්ස රැදවුම් කදවුරේ රදවා ගෙන සිටින කිලිනොච්චියේ බාලේන්ද්‍රන් ජෙයකුමාරි ඇතුලු දේශපාලන සිරකරැවන් වහාම නිදහස් කරන ලෙස බල කරමින් කොළඹ කොටුවේ, දුම්රිය පොල ඉදිරිපිටදී අද(29) විරෝධතාවයක් පැවැත්වීය.
Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act Should Be Repealed by Thavam

Sri Lanka police stop online media workshop: rights groups

COLOMBO Tue Sep 30, 2014 
Reuters(Reuters) - Sri Lanka media rights groups said on Tuesday police had stopped an online journalists' association from holding a workshop on ethics and digital security at the weekend, the fourth disruption of media gatherings since May.
The Action Committee for Media Freedom, an umbrella organization of media rights groups, said police officers threatened the owner of the resort where the workshop was to be held in Negombo, a popular coastal town 38 km (24 miles) north of Colombo.
"A group of plainclothes police officers from the area and the intelligence unit warned the resort owner of dire consequences if they allowed the workshop to take place and the owner did not allow the workshop, fearing the repercussions," the group said in a statement.
Similar threats were made against three other gatherings earlier this year, the group said, adding to concerns over media freedoms in the Indian Ocean nation.
Sri Lankan government forces have been accused of widespread human rights violations in the final stages of its 26-year civil war which ended in May 2009. Colombo refuses to cooperate in a U.N. probe into the allegations, and in August denied visas to international investigators.
The Defence Ministry's NGO secretariat, which regulates non-governmental organisations, in July banned activist groups and NGOs from holding press conferences, issuing press releases and holding workshops for journalists.
Political analysts believe the government may be concerned that media workshops are connected to the U.N. probe.
In May, Sri Lanka blocked two news websites critical of the government, which press groups decried as intimidation.
Police denied making any threats in connection with the weekend's workshop, which was organised by the Professional Web Journalists Association.
"We don't have any involvement in this incident," national police spokesman Ajith Rohana told Reuters.
The owner of the resort, who did not want to be identified, declined comment but said the group's costs had been refunded.
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Writing by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

News from Jaffna

uthayan-30A young reporter dares to cover press freedom in one of the world's most dangerous places for journalists - Sri Lanka.
Despite the dangers involved in working for the Tamil newspaper Uthayan in Jaffna, young journalists like Thadsa still join their ranks.

Apart from the chief editor, Uthayan does not have a single news journalist over the age of 40. As they grow older, young journalists come under family pressure to find a safer job.
Thadsa is passionate about reporting and wants to cover a story on a journalist who disappeared in 2007, and look into the ongoing restrictions to press freedoms in Sri Lanka today.
fact book 1
I first covered the remarkable story of the Uthayan  newspaper in 2010. I made a short film about the resilience of Jaffna residents and how they overcame the embargoes during the height of the war. For Uthayan , they had to overcome the scarcity of newsprint. Their ingenuity in the face of hardship and scarcity was awe-inspiring.
I was born in Jaffna so for me its stories take on a particular significance. My family left for England in the 1979s before the war started. We were very lucky to leave. For decades, Jaffna residents were trapped between a repressive regime and an even more brutal insurgency.
The war ended in 2009 with the obliteration of the Tamil Tigers, but people's freedoms are still under threat. Freedom of speech in particular is stifled and journalists face intimidation and the risk of being disappeared. This has been especially so for Tamil journalists in the north.
Uthayan has faced violence up close. In 2006, two workers were shot dead. More recently, in April 2013,  Uthayan's printing press was set ablaze. Today a policeman at the gate provides round-the-clock security but the threat of violence still looms large. Yet young reporters still join the ranks of Uthayan , undeterred by parental pressure to find a safer job.
Today Uthayan has just six news journalists and all of them are in their 20s, like Thadsa and Tharsan, the main characters in my film. They are supervised by the editor, Premananth, who navigates a fine line between encouraging his young reporters to find important political stories to write about, and at the same time making sure the parents do not worry too much about their safety to stop them from working there.
Like Prem, when working in Sri Lanka, I have also had to be strategic. Often it was better to tell stories from the past. In many ways, it was a form of self-censorship. If I am honest, I am not sure whether I could take the risks that the young journalists in my film face on a daily basis.
If the situation became precarious, I could always take a flight to my other home, the UK, but this is obviously not an option for your news reporter in the north.
Since returning to Sri Lanka, I often wondered what my life might have been like had my family not left. Would my life be so different from the journalists I met at Uthayan had my family stayed in Jaffna?
Mrs Subramanium, 85, former personal secretary, Uthayan Newspapers, Jaffna
By Kannan Arunasalam

Web Journalists Hold Govt Responsible For Disrupting Their Workshop – Freddy Gamage

Sri Lanka Brief30/09/2014
Freddy Gamage, the convener of the Professional Web Journalists Association (PWJA) says that they hold the Government responsible for disrupting their two day on 27/28 Sep 2014.
Issuing a statement he says that he was told  the local police and by an officer from the Terrorist Investigation Department (TID) on 27 September morning that they have information of a protest in front of the hotel, if we were to have the training session for our media personnel. The training session was to begin at 03.00 pm that same day. Over a dozen officers had visited the hotel to warn the owners of such a protest, if we were allowed to have our training sessions in the hotel.’
Read the full statement below:
29 September, 2014
Sri Lanka
Media Release
We Hold The Government Responsible In Disrupting Journalists’ Programme
We, as the Professional Web Journalists Association (PWJA) organised a two day training programme for our membership on 27 and 28 September, 2014 at a beach resort in Kudapaduwa, Negambo, Sri Lanka. This was disrupted by the police using the usual threat of “people who would protest” against the training sessions that could result in a breach of peace. Such organised mobs were used before in disrupting training sessions for journalists and hoteliers were coerced to cancel all bookings for any programme that involves media personnel. The same method of using protesting groups were used against families who gathered in Colombo to discuss about their missing family members.
This time too, I the undersigned as Convenor of PWJA was informed by the local police and by an officer from the Terrorist Investigation Department (TID) on 27 September morning that they have information of a protest in front of the hotel, if we were to have the training session for our media personnel. The training session was to begin at 03.00 pm that same day. Over a dozen officers had visited the hotel to warn the owners of such a protest, if we were allowed to have our training sessions in the hotel. Under such threat, helpless as they were, the hotel owners were compelled to cancel the booking. We were therefore forced to reorganise the training programme elsewhere, after much hassle.
This behaviour of the police that continues without any censure or warning from the Inspector General of Police, the Ministry Secretary and from the Minister for Law and Order, who is also the President of Sri Lanka, obviously means this regime can only live with such repression. Therefore the police is used by the regime to provide undisturbed space for mobs resorting to violence in public, as a tool to suppress civil activities.
This by a President, a minister, a ministry Secretary, the IGP and others in the hierarchy who have taken a pledge to uphold the complete Constitution in spirit and to the letter. This Constitution very clearly says in its Article 12.1, “every Citizen is equal before the Law and is entitled to equal protection by the law”. Where was that “equal protection” to the media personnel who assembled to further their professional skills ? That protection was only possible, if the police arrested those who were to stage protests as the police had prior information as claimed by them. They did not and they thus violated the right of our members to have equal protection by the law.
Also, the President and every member of this ruling regime had pledged to uphold this republican Constitution and its Article 14 that says,
14.1 Every citizen is entitled to -
a. the freedom of speech and expression, including publication
b. the freedom of peaceful assembly
c. the freedom of association
Freedom of speech and expression, including publication does not have any worth without the Right to Information. The right to information and their dissemination is facilitated by the media in any democratic society. The importance of a free and independent media that is responsible only to the Citizens, is therefore what guarantees all rights enshrined in Chapter III of the Constitution. This regime is violating all these Constitutionally established rights of its Citizens who alone are Sovereign and not the regime.
We therefore hold this government wholly responsible for violating the Rights enshrined in the Constitution. We hold the government responsible for all violations of law in suppressing the media. We therefore call upon the people to safeguard the media from being suppressed in order to have access to information, without bias and without tinkering by the ruling regime. A right the people are entitled to enjoy.
Freddy Gamage

Looking over my shoulder

Looking over my shoulder - Laura Davies
Pottuvil Tourist Police Post
A couple of weeks ago, I went on an official trip to the East.  Starting in Arugam Bay, we drove North all the way to Trincomalee, through Pottuvil, Oluvil, Kalmunai and Batticaloa.  I met with government and political interlocutors, humanitarian workers and civil society organisations, and visited temples, beaches and hospitals.

Sri Lanka’s propaganda finds a home in Washington

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, second right, with his brother and defense secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. Pic: AP.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, second right, with his brother and defense secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. Pic: AP.
Asian CorrespondentBy Taylor Dibbert | @taylordibbert
Sri Lanka’s powerful defense secretary and brother of the president, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, has recently published a lengthy article in a policy-oriented journal called PRISM. The publication of this article, particularly at a time when the Sri Lankan government has been under the microscope for alleged war crimes and ongoing human rights abuses, raises a number of questions.
Sri Lanka’s Propaganda Finds a Home in Washington by Thavam

MaRa’s inferiority complex wreaks havoc in US : Heads of State ignore his sumptuous dinner -profligacy at its worst!

LEN logo(Lanka-e-News- 29.Sep.2014, 11.30PM) Medamulana MaRa going by his self publicity circus and gimmicks after taking over the reins of the country is indulging in monumental profligacy and wasteful extravagance using up the public funds like his dowry monies only to conceal his acute inferiority complex before the annual UN general assembly, and merely to achieve just that dastardly selfish goal .
Like leaders of other countries , our own sensible leaders of the past too did not attend this conference every year because it is customary for the leaders to attend this conference only if there is some important matter affecting the country or the world is going to be discussed. In other instances , the country’s permanent representative in New York and the foreign Minister alone attend this conference , which are amply adequate, and for which purpose they are appointed and paid salaries in addition to the perks and privileges they enjoy.
Sadly however to the detriment of the country’s already crumbling economy , Sri Lanka’s present insensible leader Medamulana MaRa in contradistinction to his sensible predecessors has chosen to go on a junket every year making this conference an excuse. Though his going alone itself is bad enough , he has yet made it a habit to make pleasure trips annually for this conference with his wife , their bevy of damsels and others who know absolutely nothing except sightseeing and free excursions at state expense- thanks to MaRa.
Mind you his entourage comprised more than 70 members this time when he travelled to New York. A full two floors of the most expensive hotel ‘Waldorf Astoria’ have been reserved for his entourage, while the ‘Presidential suite ‘of Medamulana MaRa costs US $ 24000 per day ! Apart from the bedroom , it has a lobby and a conference room while the cost of a meal is US$ 175.00
This expenditure turns two fold when wife’s expenses are included. Believe it or not , MaRa is spending or rather wasting Rs. 3.4 million in Sri Lankan currency just for lodging alone per night in ‘Astoria’ .For six days , the expenditure is Rs. 20.4 million!! It is to be further noted, Heads of countries who reserved super luxury hotels like Astoria are those from most affluent countries , and not from countries like Sri Lanka where the oppressed people are perennially planning how many meals they must skip per day to eke out a living. The affluent countries are America, China, Japan , South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Even England that is rich enough did not book this hotel .
Though MaRa by staying in this hotel sought to rub shoulders with the Heads of the affluent countries and paint a wealthy image about his country , it is reported that those countries are frowning on him , and are giving the cold shoulder ,being fully aware of the poor and grief stricken masses he represents. They construe it as obscene ostentation and utter idiocy on the part of a Head of State. This Head of State who after plunging the country into irredeemable debts and overwhelming poverty indulging in profligacy of this magnitude unconscionably have rudely shocked them.
(The photograph depicts the hoisted national flags of the countries at Hotel Astoria where the Heads of States are staying .)
In addition to this wasteful extravagance , 50 luxury limousines have been hired for the traveling comforts of the MaRa entourage. The hiring charges are US dollars 50 per hour , and these vehicles have been booked for 16 hours of the day , meaning that per vehicle the hiring charges areUS $ 800 per day. The total expense for the 50 vehicles therefore per day is US $ 40,000. Hence for six days the full expenditure in SL currency is Rs. 31.2 million!!!
These super luxury traveling comforts are provided not to serve any worthy purpose on behalf of the people , but rather for the shopping sprees and sight seeing of MaRa’s wife and his bevy of cuties .These vehicles are apart from the high roof Mercedes Benz Vans hired for the cuties .
These vehicles were booked for 16 hours a day at US. $ 100 per hour or Rs. 1.25 million had been spent on these hiring vehicles . Because of MaRa’s limousine mania , a new breed of individuals have emerged. They pay US $ 50.00 per day for a vehicle that is hired out at US $ 25. 00 per day .
The worst part ? even after spending so much of public funds most recklessly and ruthlessly stemming from his inferiority complex , the speech made by MaRa at the UN session was a total fiasco. No important heads of States were present . This was also because MaRa’s speech was at 7.00 in the night. By that time , the Heads of States were meeting and greeting each other.
The next slap in the face came to Medamulan MaRa most disdainfully at the sumptuous dinner he hosted spending most lavishly. This was organized on the second floor of Matropolitan club at 60 th street yesterday (27) . Unnecessarily monies were wasted on this. For this dinner between 8.00 p.m. to 11.30 p.m. , strangely not a single head of State attended. Only some foreign Diplomats of the second tiers and beneath attended, and not surprisingly they were all stooges and lickspittles of MaRa .
Incidentally , wife of MaRa who attended a dinner at a most expensive Restaurant ‘Thulsi’ at 46 th street participated in a pooja conducted in Sinhala in a church at Saturn Island today, while MaRa left for New Jersey to inaugurate a golden fence belonging to a temple.
While the people of Moneragala in his own country are abysmally suffering without drinking water , the Head of this country on the other hand oblivious of all the sufferings of his own people right before his own eyes deemed it fit to indulge his and his cuties’ beyond anything they were ever accustomed to wasting public funds with reckless extravagance . In spite of all this ostentation and exhibitionism at state expense , MaRa and his entourage left New York for SL this evening with empty hands after a futile tour of New York . It is learnt that 8 members of his entourage have been left behind in America on the sly .

அல்வத்தைப் பிரதேசத்தில் ஆயுதம் தாங்கிய பிக்குகள்; அச்சத்தில் மக்கள்

HomeTue, 09/30/2014
மாத்தளை பண்டாரவளைக்கு அண்மித்ததான அல்வத்தைப் பிரதேசத்தில் துப்பாக்கிகள் சகிதம் பிக்குகளின் நடமாட்டம் இருந்து வருவதால் பொது மக்கள் அச்சமடைந்துள்ளனர். இது தொடர்பில் பொலிஸ் நிலையத்தில் முறைப்பாடு செய்த போது நெற்றியில் துப்பாக்கியை வைத்து அச்சுறுத்தப்பட்ட நிலையில் பொலிஸ் நிலையத்தில் அளிக்கப்பட்ட முறைப்பாட்டை வாபஸ் பெறும் நிலைக்கும் தள்ளப்பட்டிருக்கிறேன் என்று இறத்தோட்டை பிரதேச  சபை உறுப்பினர் திலக்குமார சிறி தெரிவித்தார்.
அல்வத்தைப் பிரதேசத்தில் கைவிடப்பட்ட நிலையில் காணப்படுகின்ற 50 ஏக்கர் காணிப் பகுதியிலேயே மேற்படி ஆயுதம் தாங்கியோரின் நடமாட்டம் இருப்பதாகவும் அவர் சுட்டிக்காட்டினார்.
இறத்தோட்டை பிரதேச சபையின் மாதாந்த கூட்டம் 29 ஆம் திகதி காலை அதன் தலைவர் ஜயந்த புஸ்பகுமார தலைமையில் நடைபெற்ற போதே உறுப்பினர் குமாரசிறி இவ்வாறு தெரிவித்தார்.
இது தொடர்பில் அவர் தொடர்ந்து கூறுகையில்;
கடந்த சில தினங்களாக நான் பிரதிநிதித்துவப்படுத்தும் அல்வத்தைப் பகுதியில் சீருடை தரித்த பிக்குமார் சிலர் துப்பாக்கிகளை ஏந்திய வண்ணம் நடமாடித் திரிகின்றனர். இதனால் அங்குள்ள மக்கள் பெரும் பீதிக் குள்ளாகியுள்ளனர். உயர் ரக வாகனங்களில் வந்திறங்கும் இவர்கள் இங்கு கைவிடப்பட்ட நிலையிலுள்ள சுமார் 50 ஏக்கர் காணிப் பகுதியிலேயே இவர்களின் நடமாட்டம் அதிகமாக இருக்கிறது. இது பற்றி பொலிஸாரிடம் நான் முறைப்பாடு செய்திருந்தேன். இதனால் நெற்றிப் பொட்டில் துப்பாக்கியை வைத்து கொலை பயமுறுத்தல் செய்யப்பட்டு எனது பொலிஸ் முறைப்பாட்டை வாபஸ் பெற வேண்டிய நிலைக்கு ஆளாக்கப்பட்டேன்.
குறிப்பிட்ட காணிப் பகுதியின் உரிமையாளர் வெளிநாட்டில் இருப்பதாகக் கூறப்படுகிறது. இக்காணிப் பகுதியில் விஜயபால மன்னர் காலத்தில் அமைக்கப்பட்ட குகையுடன் கூடிய சுரங்கப்பாதையொன்று இருப்பதாக கர்ண பரம்பரைக் கதை ஒன்றும் உண்டு. இங்கு ஏதேனும் புதையல் இருக்கலாம் என்றும் அதை தோண்டி எடுப்பதற்கே இந்த ஆயுததாரிகள் முயன்று வருவதாக மக்கள் சந்தேகம் தெரிவிக்கின்றனர். எது எப்படியாயினும் சீவர உடை தரித்துக்கொண்டு பயங்கர துப்பாக்கிகளை பகிரங்கமாகவே ஏந்தித் திரிவதும் அதன் காரணமாக மக்கள் மத்தியில் திகிலை உருவாக்குவதையும் எவ்வகையிலும் ஏற்றுக்கொள்ள முடியாது. ஆகவே, பிரதேச சபை இவ்விடயத்தில் தலையிட்டு மக்கள் மத்தியில் அமைதிச் சூழலை ஏற்படுத்த முன்வரவேண்டும் எனக் கேட்டுக்கொண்டார்.

Council members must reject procedural tactics that foreclose substantive debate

asian legal resource centreA Joint Statement by the Asian Legal Resource Centre
We write to express our concern about a worrying development in the Human Rights Council in the use of procedural tactics to silence important and legitimate debate on critical human rights issues and situations.
At the Council's 26th session in June 2014, we witnessed the use of a 'no-action motion' to prevent the consideration of an amendment proposed to the resolution on the 'Protection of the family and all its members', thereby preventing substantive debate. A 'no-action motion' is a procedural motion by a member of the Council that prevents the discussion of a proposal or matter in the Council. This was the first time that this stifling procedure was used in the
Human Rights Council in connection with a thematic issue. We are concerned about the prospect of similar tactics at the current session.
By virtue of General Assembly Resolution 60/251 the Council's mandate includes the promotion of 'universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all' (OP2) based on 'constructive international dialogue' (OP4). As a Human
Rights Council member your delegation has an obligation to 'fully cooperate with the Council' (OP9), which implies an obligation to participate in good faith in the Council's debates, to support full exercise of the right to freedom of expression and to express a position on draft resolutions and decisions and related proposals for amendment by voting when required.
With a view to the decisions and conclusions of the 27th session, scheduled to commence on Thursday, 25 September, we call on your delegation to refrain from introducing or supporting the use of 'no-action motions' and other procedural tactics that run counter to the principles governing the Human Rights Council. Supporting a 'no-action motion' with a view to avoiding substantive debate and a clear decision by the Council on a proposed resolution or amendment is incompatible with Resolution 60/251 and violates the principle of constructive dialogue.
A vote in support of a 'no-action motion' is censorship tantamount to opposition to the substantive question itself and will be seen that way. We urge your delegation not to support any such motions. Instead, we call on you to exercise your duties and responsibilities as a
Council member in such a way as to ensure full and open debate, and the resolution of issues put to the Council in a manner that ensures respect for all human rights for all.
Philip Lynch
Director, International Service for Human Rights • +41 76 708 47 38
This letter is supported by:
• Amnesty International
• Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (Forum Asia)
• Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)
• Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS)
• Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
• Conectas Direitos Humanos
• East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP)
• International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
• International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)
• International Service for Human Rights
• Human Rights Watch
• Human Rights House Foundation

Sri Lanka: One More Probe Proposed On Disappearances

Sri Lanka Brief30/09/2014
MULANGAVIL: The Presidential Commission on Disappearances and War Crimes (DWC) has asked President Mahinda Rajapaksa to establish an Investigating Team to help it pursue cases of alleged involuntary disappearance in the country.
Talking to a group of news persons at a sitting of the commission in Mulangavil in North West Sri Lanka on Sunday, the panel chairman, Justice Maxwell Paranagama, said that the charge that persons had disappeared after they had surrendered to the army or after crossing army-held territory, needs to be investigated by a competent agency.
“I have put in a request for  such a team to the President, but have not got a response so far,” Paranagama said.
Asked who might head the proposed the Investigating Team, he said that it would not be a police or army man but a retired judge so that no one can complain of a pro-state bias. The team would collect evidence and see if a case is fit for legal action. Giving an example of case in which investigation had been useful, he said that a proper probe in that case had revealed that the person who had allegedly disappeared was living in a refugee camp in Tamil Nadu.
Paranagama clarified that the recommendations of the commission and the investigating team are not binding, and it is the President’s prerogative to accept or reject a recommendation.
The commission has so far received more than 19,000 complaints of involuntary disappearance and has interviewed almost 1,300 affected families. It has had six sittings in the North Eastern Tamil-speaking districts of Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Mullaitivu. It is now conducting four sittings in Kilinochchi district.
Paranagama asserted that his panel is not under any pressure from the government. Despite propaganda about bias, people are coming to place their grievances before it, and people are speaking freely, he said.
‘Form Team to Probe SL Disappearances’  by By P K Balachandran for NIE

Assets Built On Bilateral Credit: Who Should Thank Whom?

By Lalithasiri Gunaruwan -September 30, 2014
Dr. Lalithasiri Gunaruwan
Dr. Lalithasiri Gunaruwan
Mahinda ChinaRecognising a help and expressing gratitude for it is a worthy human gesture. This applies to groups, societies, or even countries. 
Colombo TelegraphNon recognition of a helping hand given is considered unkind and disgraceful. Worse is when parties unrelated are praised when the true helper is elsewhere unrecognised.  In Sinhalese tradition, such behaviour is deplored, and the expression underlying such an attitude is “Gangen diya bee muhudata aawadiema”, or “praising the sea having drunk water from the river”.
This must be the feeling that came out from His Excellency the High Commissioner of India, Mr Sinha, when he made his chief guest’s speech at the Anagarika Dharmapala Commemoration session organised last week by the Centre for Contemporary Indian Studies of the University of Colombo.  He publicly mentioned in this speech that India has done so much for Sri Lanka, but inadequate expression of gratitude came from the Sri Lankan side, while others were frequently praised. A particular point of reference made in Mr Sinha’s speech was the Yal Devi train going to Jaffna after two and a half decades on the reconstructed Northern Railway tracks using Indian credit facilities.
As Sri Lankans, we should not ignore this as Mr Sinha’s personal opinion as he is the High Commissioner for India, thus more likely be reflecting the official sentiment of India. That is more the reason why we should examine the facts.                                               Read More  
Sri Lanka's rejection of ESVC summit will 'become more and more obvious' - William Hague

William Hague opening the End Sexual Violence in Conflict summit in London earlier this year.

30 September 2014
Former British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Sri Lanka's refusal to participate in the End Sexual Violence in Conflict summit was an “obvious gap”, adding its rejection of the campaign will become “more and more obvious” in the months ahead.

Speaking at the sidelines of the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Mr Hague hailed the countries who attended the summit in London earlier this year, calling it a “summit like no other”. 

Responding to a question from the Tamil Guardian, Mr Hague said, “Sri Lanka is an obvious gap particularly since so many of these crimes have taken place there, despite all our encouragement to the Government of Sri Lanka.” 

155 governments around the world signed up to a declaration at the summit, committing to prevent and punish perpetrators of sexual violence. Sri Lanka though, did not attend the summit and refused to sign the declaration.

“Sri Lanka is a more difficult case, partly because the Sri Lankan government doesn't always want past crimes to be investigated,” added the former Foreign Secretary, who is currently Leader of the House of Commons.

Despite this “Britain has led the way in securing a resolution in the human rights council of the UN calling for an international investigation” said Mr Hague, acknowledging however that “now Sri Lanka isn't co-operating with that.”

Sri Lanka's omission was particularly notable given that other countries in the region had committed to the campaign he added.

“We have India, Burma – Burma! - involved in the PSVI (Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative) campaign. And therefore as the years go by, or the months go by, the omission of Sri Lanka will become more and more obvious.”

British Ministers Hugo Swire and Mark Simmonds previously expressed disappointment at Sri Lanka’s absence, irking the then Acting Sri Lankan High Commissioner Neville de Silva in London who said the criticism was "surely misplaced".
Mr Hague also said the issue had been “taken to media and civil society” groups on the island, recalling his visit to Colombo last year where he spoke on the topic of sexual violence.
“The main public meeting I held, which was broadcast on Sri Lankan television and reported by many papers, was about this subject," he said. "Again it's the impact we can make as Britain going to other countries and this is the thing we are talking about.”

He had earlier reiterated the weight that Britain had thrown behind the campaign, saying “Britain has enormous influence in the world. We have a seat in every table in the world.”

The work for the campaign will continue says Mr Hague, even after he steps down from the House of Commons next year.

“Failure to tackle these issues in the past sows the seeds of conflict in the future... that is the purpose often of mass rape in war. To make it harder for one community to be reconciled with the other.”

“At the heart of so many conflicts we have seen this sickening crime,” he concluded. “Unless we do something about it it will get worse.”

See our feature: Sexual Violence in Conflict: Sri Lanka (09 June 2014)

Comrade Number Eleven (XI)

September 30, 2014 

When President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China, visited India, an Indian Doordharshan television newsreader kept referring to the President as “President Eleven Jinping!”

Either the newsreader had an irrepressible sense of humour, or whole episodes of human history that passed that worthy by; she did not know that Latin was no longer the ‘lingua franca’ of the world and ‘Xi’ was pronounced somewhat like ‘Shki’ in English, rather than the numerical 11! Definitely Gibbon’s monumental work ‘The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’ was not on that worthy’s school reading list! Doordharshan promptly fired the lady.
Comrade Number Eleven (XI) by Thavam

Jayalalithaa moves High Court against conviction, seeks bail

(Jailed AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa…)
The Economic Times
PTI Sep 29, 2014,
BANGALORE: Seeking immediate bail, jailed AIADMKsupremo J Jayalalithaa today moved the Karnataka High Court challenging her conviction in the disproportionate assets case which cost her the chief minister's job and disqualified her from being an MLA.
Noted Supreme Court lawyer Ram Jethmalani is believed to have been drafted by Jayalalitha's legal team for arguing the bail and stay application that is likely to come up for hearing by a vacation bench tomorrow.
In her petition, she has maintained that the charges of amassing wealth against her were false and that she had acquired property through legal means.
Jayalalitha has contended that the trial court has overlooked several judgements and has not considered the binding nature of various income tax orders and decisions of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, which had accepted the income and the level of expenditure pleaded by her.
The former chief minister said she had earned money by acting in films and bought property through legal means, Ashokan, Jayalalithaa's lawyer told PTI here.
C Duraipandian, member of the AIADMK legal, team said they have filed an appeal for suspension of the conviction and the sentence and have also refused to pay the Rs.100 crore fine imposed on her.
In a verdict on Saturday at the end of an 18-year old legal battle, Special Judge John Michael D'Cunha had convicted her, sentenced her to four years imprisonment and slapped a staggering fine of Rs 100 crore in the Rs 66.65 crore corruption case.
Unless the conviction is suspended immediately and later overturned by superior courts, Jayalalitha faces a bleak political future as she cannot contest elections for 10 years--four years in jail and six years after that.
Jayalalithaa also denied allegations that she has any share in Jaya Publications and was in no way connected with it.
Her aide Sasikala, her relatives V N Sudhakaran, disowned son of the former Chief Minister, and Ilavarasi have also filed applications in the High Court seeking bail and challenging their conviction.
The high court is on Dasara holidays from September 29 to October 6 and their petitions are also expected to be taken up tomorrow during a scheduled hearing by a vacation bench.
Sasikala, Sudhakaran and Ilavarasi were also convicted and sentenced to four years of jail term and fined Rs 10 crore each in the landmark judgement that saw the first conviction of a sitting Chief Minister in a corruption case.
Jayalalithaa and the other accused were held guilty of amassing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income under the Prevention of Corruption Act and criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code.
She had been accused of committing the offence when she was the chief minister for the first time during 1991-96.
With the special court giving more than a three-year jail term, Jayalalithaa can hope to get relief only from the High Court. If a stay on conviction is granted, it would nullify the disqualification of Jayalalithaa as MLA.
Jayalalithaa and the other three are at present lodged in the Parappana Agrahara central jail here.