22 April, 2019

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A Gota Loyalist To Be Appointed As The VC Of University Of Colombo – University Teachers To Take Union Action

By Colombo Telegraph

Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) University teachers’ Union is said to have lobbied the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, Gotabaya Rajapaksa to get a candidate of their choice appointed to the post of Vice Chancellor, University of Colombo and got an assurance that their wish will be granted. Hence, it is expected that any time soon the President will sign the letter of appointment for this candidate. It is said that if the President accedes to the demand of Gotabaya Rajapaksa the person thus appointed will be the one who got the lowest number of votes from the Governing Council of the University of Colombo when they voted for the three candidates who have applied for the post.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa | Photo Business Today

One of the candidates Kumara  Hirimburegama is the husband of the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo and the present Chairman of the University Grants Commission. Controversy surrounded the nomination of this candidate for the post by the University Council as critics pointed out an apparent conflict of interest as it is the UGC Chairman who has to recommend a suitable candidate from among those who are nominated by the University Council for the President to make the appointment. Observing the public discussion on the issue the government authorities at the highest level is said to have expressed their displeasure over this nomination.

It is then, that the Sri Lanka Freedom Party University teachers’ union is said to have approached Gotabaya Rajapaksa to lobby his support to get the second candidate Prathiba Mahanamahewa of their choice appointed for the post. Leaders of the SLFP teachers’ union have informed the members of their union that Gotabaya Rajapaksa had agreed to make sure that their wish would be granted.

In the voting that took place at the University Council, the order in which the candidates got the votes is as follows; Professor Lakshman Dissanayake 15 votes, Dr. Kumara Hirimburegama 13 votes, Dr. Prathibha Mahanamahewa 08 votes.

However, Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri, President of the University Teachers’ Association (FUTA) , and the Head, Department of History, University of Colombo and a member of the Arts Faculty Teachers’ Association, Colombo University (AFTA-CU) has informed the membership of both the AFTA-CU and the FUTA that in the eventuality of a candidate lesser qualified for the post from among the three candidates nominated are appointed to the post he would propose to take strong trade union action.

In a note issued to members of FUTA and AFTA-CU Dr. Devasiri has informed them that he has made up his mind to prepare himself for the worst, in which case members of FUTA and AFTA-CU have to say clearly that they are not going to tolerate politically manipulated appointments. Dr. Devasiri adds that he is convinced now who will be appointed for the post: “ When the appointment is made which is probably a matter of few days, we can give two weeks to rectify the mistake and during that time a non-cooperation campaign will be launched. After too weeks if nothing happens, there is no other alternative than going for a continuous strike.” Taking the position that this is a decisive moment in the life of his union activity at the University of Colombo Dr. Devasiri observes that given that the whole Sri Lanka is looking at Colombo University teachers it is a god given opportunity for them to show the world that they are not a bunch of spineless fools.

Related posts;

UGC Chairmanship And The Law

Either The VC Candidate Husband Or The UGC Chairperson Wife Must Withdraw From Their Positions – Law Teachers

The Collapse Of Institutions

Colombo University VC Controversy: A Different Perspective

Colombo University VC: A Reply To Prof. Hoole

A Response To Professor Savitri Goonesekere’s Response

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
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    It was the University of Colombo which awarded doctorates to GR and MR. So now they have to listen to the opinions of these ‘Doctors of Philosophy’of their own making.

    It is comical how these brainless academics run to GR for favours and decisions which need to be made by the University itself. Maybe they have left their brains at home and want to be the servile bootlickers of the regime.

    So much so for University education in Sri Lanka. Maybe replace the Professors with Major General and Asst Professors as Majors.

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      MR and GR have no brains! Their brains, if any, have been embedded in other areas of their bodies? YOU KNOW WHERE??

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    This is the Sri Lankan way. Sirimavo Bandaranaike appointed MJ.Perera, a civil servant, as the VC of Peradeniya University. The students at Wijewardene hall sir rounded him once and called him a modaya while giving him some knocks. Douglas Devananda has been instrumental in getting several mediocre VC’ s appointed to the Jaffna University.

    What is interesting is that those who play role in the appointment of VC’s are not even graduates!

    We came down from being a nation that cherished excellence to a nation of averages. Now we are well on the way to become a nation of near zeroes. Will anyone remember the difference in a few years?

    Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

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      why did you then jump on the band wagon to praise the “near zeros” as part of the “diaspora group”
      I guess for personal benefit?

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    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran,

    It was Dudley Senanayaka and not Srimavo who had appointed Mr MJ Perera as VC in 1969 when Mr IMRA Irriyagolle was the Minister of Education

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      The first non academic VC was Mr.S.J.Walpita.That was after the chaos of burning the VC lodge.

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    “GOTHA BAYA GULLA” LOOKS AS IF HE HAD SEEN A GHOST AT NANTHIKADAL.

    HE MAY HAVE UNDERGONE AN ELECTRO CONVULSIVE THERAPY.

    HIS HAIR IS STANDING UPRIGHT SINCE THEN.

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    Step by step, sector by sector,positions in all fields are being manipulated according to the whims and wishes of GR & MR? by 2016 this country will be in total shit? MR is the worst ruler ever since the independence in 1948? GR is adding more spices to it?

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    According to the process of appointing a VC, the University Council must nominate 3 names, one of which is appointed by the President. The President may reject all three names, in which event the process must commence once again.

    Under these circumstances, isn’t it the sensible thing for the University council to nominate three names so that the appointment of any one is all right by them? The ratings 15, 13 and 8 reflects that, that spirit was not followed and once you submit the 3 names the President is not bound to follow whatever ratings each of the nominees got. It is childish for any one else now to say that the least deserving would be appointed.

    Hasn’t the University Council abdicated its responsibilities?

  • 0
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
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    • 0
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      CT – Please consider removing this sh.. h… from making comments!!

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    Under the present circumstances nothing much can be done to bring the change that is needed. It’s like an in curable cancer now. Sri Lanka is now gradually sliding towards a dictatorship . The reality is that the rich and Corporate Sri Lanka are fully satisfied the way things are under the Rajapakse SAMAGAMA . The poor masses are suffering with high inflation and high cost of living . The only salvation is a revolution of the masses as In Egypt and the formation of a new Political Party . Even the UNP CANNOT DO MUCH AND THEY TOO ARE NOT CAPABLE OF PUTTING SRI LANKA ON THE RIGHT TRACT . I predict there will be a revolution within the GSL OR A UPRISING OF THE SUFFERING MASSES . The Diaspora write well and talk well but they are not in Sri Lanka to turn things around . The press is Govt ; controlled , BBC IS OUT ; COLOMBO TELEGRAPH IS OUT ; it the R SAMAGAMA GOVERNING STALIN AND PUTIN STYLE . We have to patiently wait to see how the tide turns .

  • 0
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    That is the lowest level that the section of the UTA can descend to and in the current context it is not surprising
    Bensen

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    Encouraging lawlessness (Arab Spring etc) is not the answer. Peaceful protests and civil disobedience is the way to go.

    Once the remaining semblance of law and order is violated there is no going back and only a military dictatorship can then rule.

    Our land has been spared this and may that be the case forever.

  • 0
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    During the unConstitutional/illegal impeachment of CJ Shirani, Mahanamahewa penned a few articles misinterpreting the legal position. He is now reaping the fruits of his action.
    Srinath

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    First, we should decorate Kumara Hirimburegama with a military title, like Lt Col. After all, School Principals are getting major military honours. It is a shame not to have such decoration for the VC!

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    I thought at least higher education and the related instituion would be free from Rajapakshe biased candidates. But reading the article I feel THEY THE RASCALS WOULD INFILTRATE INTO ALL THE INSITUATIONS OF THE COUNTRY – NOT GIVING PRIORITY TO THE SENIORITY AND THE QUALIFICATIONS.

    People of this country have no other alterantives left than continous protests to save the country ´s assets from brutal rulers.

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    The must feel so insecure to want their loyalists in every establishment, and department. Despite the over 200 family members holding the TOP positions, they now stack it with their puppets who will do their bidding without a question.
    Dictatorships usually work this way.

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    It seems GOTA is More than Hitler.
    I think GOTA’s Decision will be the final.

    However Dr. Nirmal also a strong person in taking action against to political appointments like this.

    I have a doubt that all the staff from the University of Colombo will support to the decision of the President of FUTA because in the previous strike on Increasing the Salary of University Teachers, some of the Lecturers, specially from the faculty of Arts who were loyal to the former VC Kshanika Hiriburegama(she also political appointed extream Sinhala Nationalist)did not resign their voluntary positions.

    Further All the University Teachers (FUTA) will appreciate if Prof Nayani Melagoda, Dr. Chamali Liyanege, Dr. Indrajith Aponsu could have a direct role rather than Double Acting in the decision of FUTA and the matter of appointment of VC.

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      Yes, I have the feeling -that they the uni dons would not stay calm and quiet in the months to come.

  • 0
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    It looks like Gota’s action might galvanise the university academic community again. In the past FUTA membership has always rallied around its leaders when the need arose.

    That some university lecturers did not actively take part in the strike is true. But they were only a handful and in the face of the solidarity of the overwhelming majority in each university and faculty the non-participants were insignificant.

    In Colombo President of the AFTA-CU jut before FUTA trade union Premakuamra de Silva was among those who formed the Si Lanka Freedom Party Teachers Union openly worked tirelessly to scuttle the FUTA lead strike. Today he is the deputy vice chancellor of student affairs.

    Some of the other active members of the Si Lanka Freedom Party Teachers Union from Colombo University are Suranga Silva, Nihal Hewage, Prathibha Mahanamahewa. Then there is Lalithasiri Gunaruwan. All of them have got various government positions under this regime.

    So, this is their effort to get the control of the university into their hands.

    Authorities have no idea what will happen to the Colombo University if they take over. They see only how these people appear on television in support of the regime.

    For one to appreciate the need to keep a university in the hands of good academics one must have an academic background.

  • 0
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
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    From an e-mail sent to the academics by a senior academic from the Faculty of Science, University of Colombo.

    Dear fellow academics,

    This is our university. We have worked hard to keep its reputation up to the level it had enjoyed in the past, even through the bleak 30 years of war (in many cases sacrificing salary increases and improved facilities, and even covering up for bad decisions leading to increased intakes without corresponding increased funding etc).

    We should not simply standby and watch something we’ve spent so much of effort and large potions of our lives simply being dragged down further by our silence or passive acceptance of whatever is dished out to us.

    In order to face this unprecedented situation effectively, we need to be prepared to take unprecedented steps. This is impossible unless we first lay aside any selfish ambition that drives much of our society which has got accustomed to patronizing the powers that be (it in these cases, the powers that would be), in order to pursue the longer term interests of the institution and our own futures.

    Non-cooperation can be one instrument we use, but would only be effective if we are united. Deans committees, Leave and Awards meeting, and the many others that the VC chairs could be not attended, but only by the Deans. Senate is the main forum that could effectively boycotted since no academic decisions could proceed. However, the most graphic sign of protest would be non-attendance of council. My own personal feeling is that we should not simply stay away but state our reasons for non-attendance!

    Demonstrations in the College House and university premises (we don’t need to take this to the public yet in my view) can also be another way we make our opinion known. These need to be dignified but clear in articulating our views.

    We should also be more creative in exploring other ways of dissent. For instance, instead of sending a single letter of protest that we did to the authorities about our displeasure, why not make copies of it and each one of us posting an individual letter? Apart from psychologically appearing to be more effective, imagine the trouble the VC’s office, the Minister’s office and the President’s office would have sorting these from all the other ‘more important’ mail they’d be getting (only possible if we use our own envelopes and handwriting).

    I’m sure if we put out heads together we should be able to come up with many other ‘creative disruptions’ to force an unsuitable VC out of office (to craft another: organising ourselves to call the VC office every few minutes for random things like a particular detail in the Universities Act or Senate minutes!).

    Whatever we do, let’s get organized fast, or we’d be letting down our society which by and large still has us on an (arguably ever lowering pedestal) as the country’s intelligentsia.

    In exasperation,

    R.

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    From an e-mail sent by a senior academic at the Faculty of Science, University of Colombo

    Dear fellow academics,

    This is our university. We have worked hard to keep its reputation up to the level it had enjoyed in the past, even through the bleak 30 years of war (in many cases sacrificing salary increases and improved facilities, and even covering up for bad decisions leading to increased intakes without corresponding increased funding etc).

    We should not simply standby and watch something we’ve spent so much of effort and large potions of our lives simply being dragged down further by our silence or passive acceptance of whatever is dished out to us.

    In order to face this unprecedented situation effectively, we need to be prepared to take unprecedented steps. This is impossible unless we first lay aside any selfish ambition that drives much of our society which has got accustomed to patronizing the powers that be (it in these cases, the powers that would be), in order to pursue the longer term interests of the institution and our own futures.

    Non-cooperation can be one instrument we use, but would only be effective if we are united. Deans committees, Leave and Awards meeting, and the many others that the VC chairs could be not attended, but only by the Deans. Senate is the main forum that could effectively boycotted since no academic decisions could proceed. However, the most graphic sign of protest would be non-attendance of council. My own personal feeling is that we should not simply stay away but state our reasons for non-attendance!

    Demonstrations in the College House and university premises (we don’t need to take this to the public yet in my view) can also be another way we make our opinion known. These need to be dignified but clear in articulating our views.

    We should also be more creative in exploring other ways of dissent. For instance, instead of sending a single letter of protest that we did to the authorities about our displeasure, why not make copies of it and each one of us posting an individual letter? Apart from psychologically appearing to be more effective, imagine the trouble the VC’s office, the Minister’s office and the President’s office would have sorting these from all the other ‘more important’ mail they’d be getting (only possible if we use our own envelopes and handwriting).

    I’m sure if we put out heads together we should be able to come up with many other ‘creative disruptions’ to force an unsuitable VC out of office (to craft another: organising ourselves to call the VC office every few minutes for random things like a particular detail in the Universities Act or Senate minutes!).

    Whatever we do, let’s get organized fast, or we’d be letting down our society which by and large still has us on an (arguably ever lowering pedestal) as the country’s intelligentsia.

    In exasperation,

    R.

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      I think the University Academic Union should educate the International community about this issue.

      They should be notified what the Rajapakses are planning to do with the most important branch of a student’s life.

      After corrupting all other institutions, this is the last Institution that Rajapakses eying to dictate and monopolise it under their command.

      Therefore University Academics should make aware of this issue to world University Academic Association, World student Counsil, All major university heads such as Harward, Yale, Berkley California, University of Australia, Japan, England, etc.

      Also inform UN, EU and CW and local foreign deplomatic staff.

      Nothing is impossible as long as researching and implementing the best strategy when suppressed by the Authority.

      Waiting in Silence allows the devil to consume the carcass.

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    Politicking for Colombo VC post

    By Ranga Jayasuriya

    The process to appoint a Vice Chancellor to the University of Colombo has run into a storm with the university academics writing to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, conveying concern over the apparent politicization of the appointment process.

    This has come in the wake of media reports that the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) University Teachers’ Union has approached powerful Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaska, to seek his blessing for the candidacy of Dr. Prathiba Mahanamahewa for the post of Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo.

    Dr. Mahanamahewa is presently the Dean of the Faculty of Law, General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University and is also a Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL).

    He is known for his strong defence of the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration on its human rights record. Earlier, the former President of the SLFP University Teachers’ Union and a close confidant of Minister of Higher Education, S.B. Dissanayake, was appointed as the Vice Chancellor of the Open University of Sri Lanka.

    Among the three candidates nominated by the University Council of the Colombo University for the post of Vice Chancellor are, Dr. Kumara Hirimburegama, husband of the current Chairperson of the University Grants Commission (UGC), Prof. Kshanika Hirimburegama, Dr. Prathibha Mahanamahewa and Prof. Lakshman Dissanayake, former Head of the Department of Demography and Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

    Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri, President of the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) told Ceylon Today the Colombo University academics in their letter to the President have raised ‘strong concerns’ about the developments related to the appointment of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo.

    “In fact, most senior professors don’t apply for those posts as it is useless to do so without political backing. It has become a norm that political appointees are favoured when it comes to these appointments,” he charged.

    Dr. Dewasiri said, FUTA would decide its course of action only after the appointment is finalized. “We do not want to rush into action. We have made our concerns known to the President. And we hope he will listen to our concerns.” He said there is a conflict of interest involving the candidacy of Dr. Hirimburegama, while his spouse continues to serve as the Chairperson of the UGC, the authority that should recommend the most qualified candidate to the President, according to the Universities Act.

    “In theory, the President should appoint the Vice Chancellor of a given university based on the recommendations made by the UGC, though, the President could reject all three nominations and send the names back to the Council, asking for fresh nominations,” Dr. Dewasiri said.

    ceylontoday.lk/27-29221-news-detail-politicking-for-colombo-vc-post.html

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      No one should allow Hambanthota uneducated Gon Haraka comedy Jokers to mess and ruin our valuable future generation.

      After ruining the whole country by the Tsunami Alibaba, and the (10% ) ten percent commission Kakka, University Don’t should not allow these vultures even to step into the University Premises.

      What Alibabas know is only Desha Premi Jathi Aala ‘Kada Kadapan”

      NOTHING ELSE.

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        GOOD! STUDENTS THERE MAY ALSO GET LECTURERS FROM BODU BALA SENA! Good disciples will emerge from there.

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    Other leaders of the SLFP University Teachers’ Union who were appointed to various posts by the regime are

    Premakumara de Silva, Department of Sociology, Colombo University, close confidant of Minister of Higher Education, S. B. Dissanayake appointed as Deputy Vice Chancellor Student Affairs, University of Colombo

    Ranjith Premalal De Silva, Department of Agriculture, Peradeniya University, served Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as GIS specialist during the war, appointed as Vice Chancellor, Uwa- Wellassa Univerisity

    Ajith Dissanayake, Department of Economics, Kelaniya University, close confidant of Minister of Higher Education, S. B. Dissanayake and Nalin de Silva, Secretary, SLFP University teachers’ Union, actively undermined FUTA strike, appointed as Head of Department, Economics, and Council Member of Sri Lanka Foundation

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    Srilanka has a long academic tradition in our universities. This gona politician wants to destroy that. Even forged PHD holders work in our universities some of them not qualified even to work in schools. Some of them bought PhD from abroad and now work as Deans/ Heads/ VCs. Shame on all these people. Because currupted poltical system in place in our country no one talk about this for fear of threat and danger. It is wast of talent and skills and shame on all these people to leave most qualified persons out and less qualified get highest posts. I do not know if cast play a role on this matters.some singhalese still maintain cast hierarchical order in social life. It is a poison for future in SL

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    THE BEST PERSON TO LEAD THE COMMISSION TO INVESTIGATE THE SKELETONS FOUND IN MATALE HOSPITAL GROUNDS IS NO OTHER THAN THIS DOUBLE DEGREE PROFESSORIE “GOTHA BAYA GULLA” WHO COMMITTED THIS WAR CRIME ALONG WITH “BOMBARDIER” “SHOVE IN (SIDE) DRA SILVA IN 1987 AND THEN HID HIMSELF IN U S A PUMPING PETROL AND SELLING GOODS AT SEVEN ELEVEN.

    PROOF IS THEIR IN THE PLATTER.

    GO GET THEM YOU LOT AND HANG THEM WITH THEIR YOU KNOW WHAT.

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    HEALTH DEPARTMENT, EDUCATION DEPARTMENT, PETROLIUM,AIR LINES, PORT AUTHORITY, POLICE DEPARTMENT, BRIBERY DEPARTMENT, TOURISM, DEMOCRACY, FINANCIAL, ELECTRICITY BOARD, PETROLIUM, AGRICULTURE, YOU NAME IT EVERYTHING IS BEEN DESTROYED AND POLITICIZED BY THE RAJAPASSA AND HIS GOOND. NO LAW, FAILING DEMOCRACY, PRICE HIKES IN ALL ESSENTIAL COMMODITIES ALL FOR ONE FAMILY TO ROB BILLIONS OF RUPEES. WHOEVER SUPPORTS THESE THIEVES SHOULD BE SHOT TO DEATH.

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    I fully agree with R’s suggestion of non-cooperation posted by an university academic… I really hope our uni dons and the brains will have the b..ls to do it. More power to you. If not, it will only be a matter of time before our silence and passivity to selfishly protect our individual selves will destroy us, unless we act collectively and consistently.

  • 0
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    IF WE SRI LANKANS HAD SPINES, WE CAN BRING ABOUT CHANGE.

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