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

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Right to Return id Inalienable and Needs to Be Implemented With Urgency

Sri Lanka Brief
(Press Release/National Peace Council)-31/05/2015 
One of the unresolved and tragic problems of Sri Lanka’s war is the return and resettlement of the Muslim people who were expelled from the North by the LTTE in 1990. An estimated 80 percent of them continue to live outside their original places of residence. Recently the issue of resettlement of displaced Muslims took on controversial proportions and was linked to the alleged encroachment of the Wilpattu National Park. Sections of the national media gave wide publicity to statements by nationalist Sinhalese groups who accused displaced Muslims backed by Muslim politicians of being involved in this illegal and environmentally destructive activity.
IDPs in Sri Lanka ( 2009)
IDPs in Sri Lanka ( 2009)
The government and environmental groups have now confirmed that there is no encroachment of the Wilpattu National Park which is located in the Puttlam District outside of the Northern Province. However, there is concern that the buffer zone is being illegally encroached upon in the neighbouring Mannar District, namely the Marichchukkaddei-Karakdikuli forest reserve that adjoins the Wilpattu North Sanctuary, which is contiguous with the Wilpattu National Park. There is evidence that it is the formerly all-powerful Presidential Task Force (PTF) that allocated these lands for resettlement as far back as 2011. Environmental groups have taken the position that no settlement or resettlement of people should take place in violation of the law and at the expense of environmental conservation.
The State has a legal and ethical obligation to provide alternative lands to the displaced people as the current places of resettlement are in dispute. This is essential to maintain peace. The war and conflict have created numerous land disputes between state and private, between communities and between individuals which in fact take communal overtones because of deep rooted ethnic and political divisions in the country. The previous government made some effort at resettlement but such efforts have not been according to the accepted procedures for the alienation of land under the land laws of the State. This matter has to be looked into by the new government and a permanent solution found.
It is also important to note that the practice of encroaching and settling people on protected forest land has also taken place elsewhere with other communities and needs to be stopped. No persons or body of interested persons should be allowed to encroach on state lands. Environmental groups have filed legal action in these cases or have publicly protested against them. An example would be protests by environmental groups in 2013 against the establishment of Namalgama and Nandimithragama in the Vavuniya District, where Sinhalese from the South have been settled.
The National Peace Council asks the general public not to be misled by groups with a partisan political agenda. We affirm the right of return of all war-displaced and forcibly evicted people, be they Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim to their places of original residence including that of the war-displaced Muslim people currently resident in Puttlam and other camps. If the security forces require the continued use of their lands, then it is necessary for the State authorities to provide such alternative lands according to theaccepted procedures for the alienation of land under the land laws of the State.
In view of the growing controversy and polarization within society on this issue, the National Peace Council calls on the government to formulate a national policy on resettlement of the war-displaced and to establish an administrative mechanism to ensure resettlement in a fair and transparent manner as a matter of priority. The government also needs to reconsider the issues of High Security Zones and the take-over of lands for purposes of setting up military camps especially where it has led to the displacement of significant numbers of people.

Sri Lankan perceptions on life post-war

GroundviewsSix years after the end of war in Sri Lanka, the four main ethnic communities are still divided when it comes to issues related to reconciliation. ‘Sri Lankan perceptions on life post war’ is a series of infographics looking key public opinion data from CPA’s ‘Democracy in Post War Sri Lanka’ survey (conducted annually since 2011) on the theme of reconciliation.
Since 2011, a question that showed much division between the Sinhala and Tamil community has been on whether the Government has done enough to address the root causes of the ethnic conflict. While majority from the Tamil community has said that the Government has done nothing (32.3% in 2011 increased to 39.9% in 2014), majority from the Sinhala community has said that the Government has done a lot (41.1% in 2011, 35% in 2014).
When asked in March 2015 about whether there should be a credible mechanism to look into accountability of what happened during the last stages of the war, most people from the Sinhala community (44.4%) said no while majority from the other three communities said yes (Tamil – 83.9%, Up Country Tamil – 75.6%, Muslim – 61.7%). Those who said that there should be a credible mechanism were asked whether this mechanism should be exclusively domestic, exclusively international or both domestic and international. Again, the communities are divided on this with 57.8% from the Sinhala community stating that it should be an exclusively domestic mechanism while 44.9% from the Tamil community and 35.5% from the Up Country Tamil community stated that it should be exclusively international. 43.9% from the Tamil community stated that it should be a mix of domestic and international while only 7% said that it should be exclusively domestic, a clear indication of a lack of faith in an exclusively domestic mechanism.
The National Anthem being sung in both Sinhala and Tamil is another issue that divides the communities. 42% from the Sinhala community strongly feel that it should not be sung in Sinhala and Tamil while 82.9% from the Tamil community, 86.6% from the Up Country Tamil community and 69.4% from the Muslim community strongly feel that it should be sung in both languages.
These findings are all from CPA’s annual ‘Democracy in Post- War Sri Lanka’ survey, an island wide public opinion poll conducted annually in all districts since 2011. The infographics were designed by Shanika Perera.
Download the infographics as a PDF here.

"Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall"

"Excellent joke!"

by Kumar David0-

Whether this is a Ranil-Sirisena (R&S) government or an S&R one, is significant. It certainly started off with all the trumps and partnership seniority in Ranil’s hands, but time and completion of the 100-Day tasks has moved the equation into an S&R domain; so I will use this acronym assigning political seniority to the President. Typical of the shift is that Ranil asked for dissolution of parliament but President Sirisena, sweating under SLFP heat seems to be holding out for later, hinting at August-September. Pulling in different directions on this issue is understandable; though the calculations on both sides I believe are erroneous. The UNP opines that it will do better under the existing PR scheme while the SLFP (I hope not under the influence of astrological opium again) seems deluded that electorates which voted for Rajapaksa on 8 January are theirs for the asking.

Vasu, Ranil, & Sumanthiran

Colombo Telegraph
By Jagath Asoka –May 31, 2015
Dr. Jagath Asoka
Dr. Jagath Asoka
I once wrote about Pissudewa, Buruwansa, and Gommanpila, the latest incarnations of Sri Lankan Three Stooges; their hallmark is political farce, chauvinism, and Mahinda-nostalgia. Recently, as we say in the vernacular, Ape Pissudeva went bananas; in front of hapless school children, he displayed his arrogance and vituperative skills by using profanity. Bravo, my friend, you gave a pukka performance! You have concretized and given credence to my hypothesis. What an exemplary Marxist-Leninist? I don’t recommend a literal public beheading because Vasu has done it politically on national TV; however, I heard the following suggestion from another Sri Lankan: if Vasu has any decency, he should find a public toilet, immerse his swollen head filled with political fecal matter and flush it several times; by the way, if Vasu cannot do it himself, he should ask the former swine-faced, pseudo intellect, education minister, who appeared on TV and gave a lecture on the Sinhalese word “Paiyya,” to be a companion and participant in this ritual. After listening to my colleague, I watched Bandula’s comment. Folks, you got to watch this on YouTube; just search for the following: Bandula Explains Derogatory Word Used by Vasu in Parliament. Once upon a time, the name Vasudeva was synonymous with “integrity,” but now with the Sinhalese word “Pakaya.” What a pukka Shakespearian tragedy? A noble protagonist, who was somewhat flawed, ended up with an obscene conclusion. Vasu is throwing fuel into his own house on fire: He will not apologize, a true quality of a hallucinogenic revolutionary.
I think we have a candidate, not for President, but for Prime Minister: M. A. Sumanthiran.
The latest political fiasco is who is going to be our next Prime Minister. Pissudewa, Buruwansa, Gommanpila, swine-faced Bandula, and their ilk, in hallucinogenic ecstasy, keep regurgitating the same mantra: Prime Minister Mahinda. The majority of Sri Lankans are neither subversive nor incendiary. The majority of Sri Lankans are fairly intelligent and capable of critical reflection and reason; they were tired of corruption and knew that they had lost their freedom of expression. It is true that Ranil was appointed, not elected, due to peripheral issues. Ranil’s biggest faux Pas is to continue supportingArjuna Mahendran, when the perception is that Mahendran’s son-in-law had inside information, participated in financial skullduggery, and swindled the hapless Sri Lankans. Speculation, trust, rumors, and ethics are the wheels of financial markets. I hope Arjuna Mahendran is not another Raj Rajaratnam. As I have written in my previous articles, Sri Lankans would not accuse Ranil of stealing, but the perception is that Ranil would protect his friends without justification. The conclusion of this debacle was that Mahendran was not directly involved, implying that he was involved, indirectly. Ranil had an opportunity to be a political giant, instead he dwarfed himself, politically. So, now, our quagmire is: Who is going to be our next Prime Minister?Read More

Sri Lanka: Freedom for 278 Political Prisoners, Consequent to TNA Talks:

Sri Lanka Brief31/05/2015 
Two hundred and seventy eight political prisoners whose release the Tamil community has been agitating for several years will soon be granted their freedom following talks with the Tamil National Alliance, party frontliner M.A. Sumanthiran MP told the Sunday Observer. The TNA will this week discuss with Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe the procedural methods and the priority categories of prisoners to be released, he said, adding that a meeting scheduled for last week was postponed due to unforeseen circumstances.
Many prisoners have not been served any indictments but arrested on mere suspicion, while many others have been arrested for minor offences, he said.The TNA after compiling the details held talks with President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
They are optimistic that the release of the prisoners will be finalised at the next round of talks with Minister Rajapakshe, he said.
by P. Krishnaswamy / The Observer

Parliament heading for mid-June dissolution?

* All parties except UPFA oppose 255-member legislature
* Consensus on 20th Amendment recedes

by Zacki Jabbar- 

With the government hesitant to disregard objections raised by smaller parties to the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution and its enactment hanging in the balance, a dissolution of Parliament seems likely by about the middle of June.

Government sources said yesterday  that  even though President Maithripala Sirisena  was  doing his best to introduce the   First Past the Post and Limited PR (FPP&LPR) System prior to  dissolution of the national legislature, he may be compelled to hold the next General Election under the current electoral system if the smaller parties including the JVP, SLMC and those representing the estate Tamils continued to oppose the suggested reforms.

"All parties except the UPFA have objected to the number of seats in Parliament being increased from 225 to 255 as a means of arriving at a consensus on FPP&LPR. In this scenario the possibility of enacting 20A is receding by the day", the sources noted. "It appears  a mid-June  dissolution is a distinct possibility."

While the UNP has called for  125 MP’s to be elected on FPP and the other 100 on PR , the JVP and SLMC want the MPs to be elected on a 50-50 basis with two ballot papers being issued to the voter.

Leader of the House and Plantation Industries Minister Lakshman Kiriella said that the UNP was opposed to an increase in the number of parliamentarians.

"India with a population of 1.4 billion people has only 545 MPs, so how can we justify having 255 legislators for a population of a little over 20 million? The UPFA is trying to delay the dissolution of the House as long as possible by taking differing positions on 20A. President Sirisena was elected on a pledge to hold Parliamentary Polls at the end of his 100-day program, but we are now well past that deadline. Meanwhile, people are clamouring for early elections. It’s our duty to given them an opportunity with or without 20A."

Asked why polls could not be held under the proposed FPP & LPR System in the event that the President was able to persuade the smaller parties to support the 20th Amendment Bill, he replied that there was no agreement to begin with and the crux of the issue was survival in the political arena.

General Secretary of the UPFA, Susil Premajayanth insisted that the Delimitation Commission established by the recently enacted 19th Amendment could re-draw the electoral boundaries in time for a September election .But, Sirisena says that a new government would be in place by September, meaning polls would be held earlier.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe  recently  requested the President to ensure that the General Election  be conducted in July.

Parliament, is scheduled to meet on June 3, for the purpose of  approving the names of three non-MP’s nominated to serve on the 10-member Constitutional Council. They are former Appeal Court Judge A. W. A Salaam,  Dr. Radhika Coomaraswamy and Dr.A.T.Ariyaratne.

The sources said that Srisena  having ensured the passage of the 19th Amendment , though in a diluted form in comparison to the original Bill, wanted the Constitutional Council (CC) appointed prior to dissolving the legislature, having seen how  the now defunct 17th Amendment which established the Independent Public Service, Elections, Judicial and National Police Commissions on October 3, 2001 not being activated all these years due to the CC not being constituted.

The 19th Amendment has established  Independent Elections, Public Service, National Police, Audit Service, Human Rights, Bribery or Corruption, Finance, Delimitation, National Procurement and University Grants Commissions.

Who Is Controlling The SLFP – Maithri, Mahinda Or The ‘Gang Of Four’?

Colombo Telegraph
By Gamini Jayaweera –May 31, 2015
Gamini Jayaweera
Gamini Jayaweera
On 16 January 2015 former President Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, following his unexpected defeat in the presidential election, gave up the leadership of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and Mr. Maithripala Sirisena who contested against the former president assumed duties as the new leader of the SLFP. Mr. Rajapaksa stated that the reason for relinquishing his leadership of the party was to avoid any possible division in the party. The new leader, Mr. Maithripala Sirisena assumed his duties hoping that he could give a new political culture to the SLFP membership and unite the party to contest and win the next general election under his leadership. But it appears that his expectations are not going in the right direction due to number of obstacles which have been created by the crafty operations of the external ‘Gang of Four’ well supported by the Rajapakshe fraction of the SLFP.
‘Gang of Four’
It appears that the ‘Gang of Four’, namely Mr. Wimal Weerawansa MP of National Freedom Front, Mr. Dinesh Gunawardena MP of Mahajana Eksath Peramuna, Mr. Vasudeva Nanayakkara MP of Democratic Left Front, and Mr. Udaya Gammanpila of Pivithuru Hela Urumaya is well supported by a large number of SLFP former Ministers, MPs, Chief Ministers, and other members of the party are working tirelessly to build a strong opposition to SLFP current leader Mr. Maithripala Sirisena’s vision of creating a new political culture.
Vasu Dinesh Wimal UdayaIt is hard to believe that a well-established party like SLFP is indirectly controlled and directed by the ‘Gang of four’ undermining the authority of the leadership and the Central Committee of the party. It appears that the leadership and the Central Committee of the SLFP cannot implement the rules, processes and procedures of the party on their membership because they ignore those instructions and participate in rallies organised by the ‘Gang of Four’ criticising the activities of the “Yahapalnaya” led by the leader of the SLFP. They are not only trying to build a “public opinion” against Maithripala fraction of the party but also giving ‘orders’ to SLFP Central Committee to select certain parliamentary candidates for the upcoming general election of their choice irrespective of the allegations of bribery & corruption, ongoing cases in courts & bribery commission against these MPs. They also demand that Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa should be nominated as the SLFP prime ministerial candidate in the forthcoming general election.Read More

President be wary this unholy haste for 20 th amendment is a Trojan horse: A minister rising against racism warns

LEN logo(Lanka-e-news- 30.May.2015, 11.30PM)  ‘Of course the 20 th amendment  shall be passed . That is imperative  and important , but what is the unholy haste being attached by these opportunists to pass  this amendment who are trying to create  a Trojan horse. Please understand this in right perspective president ,’ said minister Mangala Samaraweera at the last Cabinet meeting , based on information reaching Lanka e news inside information division.
Minister Samaraweera made this statement  when the racists in the Cabinet strongly opposed Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader Rauff Hakeem  at the Cabinet meeting.
On the 27 th when the cabinet meeting was held chaired by the president , the draft of the 20 th amendment was presented to the Cabinet. On that occasion SLMC leader most calmly revealed the 20 th amendment shall be passed , but there are some issues pertaining to it  from the point of view of the Muslim community , and therefore he said , he is opposed to its passage in parliament hastily.
The notorious racist Champika Ranawake on hearing this  suddenly  jumped up like a jack in the box , while ministers Rajitha Senaratne and much abhorred S.B Dissanayake also began criticizing Hakeem most bitterly. Champika castigating Hakeem said’ it is because of you all that the cabinet of ministers swelled to 255. Now you are  coming again to express your opposition.’
Rajitha Senaratne then joined with S.B. Dissanayake in  support of Champika.  They began scolding Hakeem in a fit of mad rage using most insolent and indecent language . Their statements were laden with ‘aroo’ ‘Moo’ and ‘Meka’ which words are commonly used by latrine coolies in Sri Lanka after a kasippu shot . ‘Thamby jumps in all directions,’ they screamed at Hakeem.
While a majority  of ministers of the UNP were silently watching this scene , Mangala Samaraweera  belonging  to a rare breed of upright politicians of the highest caliber  in Sri Lanka who  could not endure this tirade any longer , rose up and retorted .He said , it is his stance while he was  in the SLFP or with the UNP today , the electoral system should be changed, and these two parties have already concluded in favor of this. Nevertheless, this deplorable behavior of these three  ministers disallowing and obstructing Hakeem , the only minister there  representing the minority party  from expressing his views portend grave danger , Samaraweera asserted.
 ‘We are a country that was ravaged by  a 30 years old devastating war. Why did  that terrorism initiate ? We cannot force the minority parties to accept our system. If a minority group of people think that by the system we are bringing  , no matter how good it  seems   from our standpoint , their views are not being accommodated duly , that can well be the beginning of another terrorism . Hence , if we who are having so much experience in this connection are not even ready to listen to Rauff Hakeem , what can be the outcome?’ Minister Mangala questioned.
 ‘Earlier on when in  the parliament there was a two third majority ,there was no such haste to amend the election system , therefore the president should ponder and understand why such an unholy haste being attached now for this 20 th amendment. Both you and the prime minister (P.M.) should understand that this is a Trojan horse in the form of 20 th amendment which can well  destroy both of you,’ Minister Mangala elaborated.
Thereafter , the president sensibly decided to hold more discussions before giving his consent to the 20 th amendment.
After the cabinet meeting  the topic of discussion of a group of ministers was on the conduct of a certain election monitoring organization .One of the ministers said , a chief of that organization who is now out from it is playing the role of a  ‘main contractor,’ and he is bringing pressure to bear on the decision making regarding the elections system. The ministers also discussed among themselves that  it is through a  notorious lawyer who has wormed himself into the position of   a co ordinating secretary of a bigwig  of the country, this chief of the monitors has collected monies , and based on that ill gotten  wealth he is riding the high horse having lost even his  sense of proportions . He is therefore surely headed for a heavy fall  , they observed.

by     (2015-05-31 00:25:10)
Asgiriya Chief Prelate questions North CM’s demand

 Chief Prelate of the Asgiriya Chapter, the Venerable Galagama Attadassi Thera
22-(1)Myanmar monk Shin Wirathu arrives with Gnanasara Thero for the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) or Buddhist Force convention in Colombo on September 28, 2014
logoMonday, 1 June 2015
The Chief Prelate of the Asgiriya Chapter, the Venerable Galagama Attadassi Thera, has questioned the demand by the Chief Minister of the Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran that the Army should be withdrawn from Jaffna.
The Venerable Galagama Attadassi Thera said that the Government must be wise when responding to such demands and ensure that Sri Lanka remains united under one National Flag.

The Chief Prelate said this when he met Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who was on a visit to Kandy.
In response, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe noted that the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) was working well with the new Government.

He recalled that some TNA members had even attended the Independence Day celebrations this year and this showed that the TNA accepted Sri Lanka’s Independence Day and also the military.
The Prime Minister said that while there maybe a few negative comments being made by some TNA members, in Parliament both the Government and the TNA have a good understanding.
Wickremesinghe also noted that the issue of returning land held by the military in the north to the civilians was still an issue.
However he said that land which the military did not require any more since the war was over was being returned to the rightful owners. (Colombo Gazette)

The darker side of Buddhism

Buddhist monks at the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) or Buddhist Force convention in Colombo on September 28, 2014.
BBCBy Charles Haviland--30 May 2015
The principle of non-violence is central to Buddhist teachings, but in Sri Lanka some Buddhist monks are being accused of stirring up hostility towards other faiths and ethnic minorities. Their hard line is causing increasing concern.
The small temple in the suburbs of Colombo is quiet. An image of the Buddha is surrounded with purple and white lotus flowers. Smaller Buddhas line the walls.
But upstairs, a burly monk in a bright orange robe holds forth - for this is one of the main offices of a hard-line Buddhist organisation, the Bodu Bala Sena or Buddhist Power Force (BBS).
The peaceful precepts for which Buddhism is widely known barely figure in his words. Instead, the monk, Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero, talks of his Buddhism in terms of race. Most Buddhists here are ethnically Sinhalese, and Sinhalese make up three-quarters of the island's population.
"This country belongs to the Sinhalese, and it is the Sinhalese who built up its civilisation, culture and settlements. The white people created all the problems," says Gnanasara Thero angrily.
He says the country was destroyed by the British colonialists, and its current problems are also the work of what he calls "outsiders". By that he means Tamils and Muslims.
In fact, while a minority of the Tamils did indeed come from India as tea plantation workers, most of them, and most of the Muslims, are as Sri Lankan as the Sinhalese, with centuries-old roots here.
"We are trying to... go back to the country of the Sinhalese," says Gnanasara Thero. "Until we correct this, we are going to fight."
Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero
Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero. Photo: AFP
This firebrand strain of Buddhism is not new to Sri Lanka. A key Buddhist revivalist figure of the early 20th Century, Anagarika Dharmapala, was less than complimentary about non-Sinhalese people. He held that the "Aryan Sinhalese" had made the island into Paradise which was then destroyed by Christianity and polytheism. He targeted Muslims saying they had "by Shylockian methods" thrived at the expense of the "sons of the soil".
And later, in 1959 Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike was assassinated by a Buddhist monk - the circumstances were murky but one contentious issue was the government's failure to do enough to ensure the rights of the Sinhala people.

Since 2012, the BBS has embraced direct action, following the example of other like-minded groups. It raided Muslim-owned slaughter-houses claiming, incorrectly, that they were breaking the law. Members demonstrated outside a law college alleging, again incorrectly, that exam results were being distorted in favour of Muslims.The long war against the Tamil Tigers - a violent rebel group purporting to speak for the Tamil minority - brought the hard-line Buddhists into their own once more. Portraying the war as a mission to protect the Sinhalese and Buddhism, in 2004 nine monks were elected to parliament on a nationalist platform. And it was from the monks' main party that Gnanasara Thero later broke away, in time forming the BBS. It is now the most prominent of several organisations sharing a similar ideology.
Now that a Tamil adversary has been defeated, Muslims seem to be these nationalists' main target, along with evangelical Christians whom they accuse of deceitfully and cunningly converting people away from Buddhism.
But can the BBS be called violent? "Whenever there is something wrong done by a Buddhist monk everything [is blamed on] us because of our popularity," says BBS spokesman Dilantha Withanage.
"BBS is not a terror organisation, BBS is not promoting violence against anyone... but we are against certain things." He cites threats by Islamic State to declare the whole of Asia a Muslim realm.
Time and again he and his colleague bracket the word "Muslim" together with the word "extremist".
Dilantha Withanage
"BBS is not promoting violence against anyone" - Dilantha Withanage
They are not the only Sinhalese who express discomfort at a visible rise in Muslim social conservatism in Sri Lanka. More women are covering up than before and in parts of the country Saudi-influenced Wahabi Muslims are jostling with more liberal ones.
Yet there is no evidence of violent extremism among Sri Lankan Muslims. Rather, they have been at the receiving end of attacks from other parts of society.
In the small town of Aluthgama last June, three people died in clashes that started when the BBS and other Buddhist monks led an anti-Muslim rally in a Muslim area. At the time, I met Muslim families whose homes and shops had been burnt and utterly destroyed, and who were cowering in schools as temporary refugees.
Moderate Buddhists have also been targeted by hard-line ones.
Last year Rev Wathareka Vijitha Thero was abducted, rendered unconscious, tied up and forcibly circumcised - he says this was meant as a gesture of ridicule because he had worked for closer cooperation between Buddhists and Muslims.
He believes Buddhist monks - he doesn't know who or whether they were aligned with any particular group - were responsible.
In a separate case, a few weeks earlier, Vijitha Thero had held a news conference to highlight the grievances of the Muslim community - the gathering was broken up by the BBS. Gnanasara had hurled insults and threatened him: "If you are involved in this type of stupid treachery again, you will be taken and put in the Mahaweli River," he said.
The reference to the Mahaweli is significant - there was a left wing insurrection against the Sri Lankan government in 1989 - it's estimated 60,000 people disappeared and many dead bodies were dumped in the river.
Another country where fierce Buddhism has recently made headlines is Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. A Buddhist faction there, the 969 movement, is known for strident anti-Muslim campaigns that have triggered widespread violence.
Myanmar monk Shin Wirathu arrives with Gnanasara Thero for the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) or Buddhist Force convention in Colombo on September 28, 2014
Shin Wirathu (centre) arrives with Gnanasara Thero (left) for the Buddhist Power Force convention in Colombo in 2014. Photo: AFP
Its leader, Shin Wirathu, was recently invited to Sri Lanka by the BBS. Both organisations say that even if Buddhism predominates in their own countries, overall it is under threat. "We want to protect it, therefore we signed a memorandum of understanding on forming alliances in the Asian region," says Withanage.
In January, Sri Lanka unexpectedly elected a new president, Maithripala Sirisena. He told me that "everybody knows" who gave rise to the BBS - implying that it was the administration of his predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa. The previous government was, at least, strongly supportive of the organisation.
And the group thrived because the rule of law had broken down, according to the new minister for Buddhist affairs, Karu Jayasuriya. He has told me that the BBS will be reined in. On Tuesday, Gnanasara Thero was arrested for taking part in an unauthorised demonstration but later freed on bail. Thus far, the new government - which, like the old one, includes a strongly Buddhist nationalist party - seems timid about taking on the men in orange.

More from the Magazine

Buddhist monks take part in a demonstration against the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in Rangoon, in October 2012
Of all the moral precepts instilled in Buddhist monks the promise not to kill comes first, and the principle of non-violence is arguably more central to Buddhism than any other major religion. So why have monks been using hate speech against Muslims and joining mobs that have left dozens dead?

Gota’s MiG Deal: Investigation Finds Secret Bank Account In British Virgin Islands

Colombo Telegraph
May 31, 2015 
A secret bank account in the name of Bellimissa has been opened in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) just prior to the MiG deal.
GotabayaAccording to the Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID) sources, the investigators who are dealing with the procurement of MiG-27 fighter jets to the Sri Lanka Air Force have managed to locate the account.
The account has been opened in 2006 just before the deal. Leak documents inColombo Telegraph‘s possession confirms that their was no company called Bellimissa in the UK.
According to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists the BVI has harbored perhaps 850,000 offshore companies (as much as 40 percent of the world total), with 450,000 of them still active.
Sri Lankan government has paid US$ 10.078 million for four MiG 27s in 2006. Two of these fighter jets were grounded after being purchased and unserviceable during the warranty period.
Mig Deal Sri Lanka 1
MiG Deal Sri Lanka
As Colombo Telegraph reported last week, when the FCID questioned, the former secretary to the ministry of defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa said the purchases were done in a proper way. When subjected to deeper questioning he said the person responsible for all those matters was Air Marshal Roshan Gunatileke, who was the Air Force Commander at that time.Read More

Rajapaksa Fears LTTE Revival in Sri Lanka

Rajapaksa plans to contest parliamentary polls in another bid to return to power. (File/PTI)

Rajapaksa plans to contest parliamentary polls in another bid to return to power. (File/PTI)
The New Indian Express30th May 2015
COLOMBO: Former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is mounting a political comeback, has expressed fears that the separatist Tamil Tigers could regroup and revive terrorism in the country.
"We are glad that terrorists are no more. But I have a suspicion that we may return to see terrorism," Rajapaksa said.
"We don't want to see that happening we want everyone to live in peace and harmony," he told a religious gathering in the north central town of Anuradhapura yesterday.
Rajapaksa, who led the Sri Lankan forces in the bloody victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009, plans to contest parliamentary polls in another bid to return to power.
He first won in 2005, surfed a wave of popularity among the Sinhala majority to win again in 2010. He then had the Constitution changed to allow the third term he hoped to win in January's poll.
But the veteran politician suffered a surprise defeat insnap presidential polls he called.
Rajapaksa's defeat to President Maithripala Sirisena came despite his popularity among the Sinhala Buddhist majority.
Sirisena received wide support from minority Tamils and Muslims with sizable support from the Sinhalese, who were fed up with Rajapaksa's authoritarian rule.
Rajapaksa, in order to shore up the Sinhala Buddhist support, has often visited Buddhist temples.
He has accused Sirisena of relaxing security in the North in a bid to grant the Tamil demand for demilitarisation of the former conflict zones.
But the Sri Lankan government has publicly condemned those trying to make a political capital by raising fears of LTTE revival.
The nearly three-decades-long LTTE war ended in 2009 with the defeat of the Tigers and resulting in the deaths of at least 100,000 people.