29 September, 2020

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Comments On The 2013 US Resolution Before The UNHRC

By Ajit Jayakody

Is the United States seeking to bully a small country as  the Rajapaksa administration claims? This claim  interestingly  was  backed recently by the authority of the inconsequential  Eni Faleomavaega, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from American Samoa. The Representative also opined the other day  that Narendra  Modi, the current chief minister of Gujerat, will be the next prime minister of India. It is perhaps reassuring in a weird way to know that there unsurprisingly are US politicians  as humdrum as any of  their counterparts in other parts of the world who are willing to sing for their supper or sing for an all expense paid junket to a distant country in political and economic peril.

If we look at countries of the world where human rights abuses abound( Saudi Arabia springs readily to mind), we will easily see that Sri Lanka certainly does not  have a monopoly on this vice. For that matter,  not even the United States or the United Kingdom is exempt from charges of human rights abuses. We are yet waiting to see those weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, for instance, that George Bush and Tony Blair  noticed and spoke of!  Somebody should try these two gentlemen for horrendous crimes against humanity they committed in their time. Given the immoral and imperfect world we live in, however, such perfect justice is hardly likely to materialize. Or are we to assume that only small countries that can be bullied  are subject to justice in our world?

If we go by the truism that two wrongs do not make a right, then Sri Lanka needs to do what is right regardless of the horrendous wrongs  committed by  others. We often tell the world that we are a civilized country with a rich history in excess of 2,500 years and that we were sending ambassadors to the Court of the Caesars while the English were yet barbarians and Americans were not yet even thought of. It was rich that no less a person than our political stooge of a ‘Chief (In)Justice’ Mohan Peiris repeated this much touted boast a day or two ago.  Would it not be more meaningful for Sri Lanka and its citizens to  act exemplarily in keeping with those civilisational values we are justly proud of than merely brag about them?

The key charge against Sri Lanka is the killing of a significant number of unarmed civilians by  Sri Lanka’s armed forces in the process of militarily vanquishing the Tamil Tigers in May 2009. That there were Tigers in civilian clothes among the non-combatants has been down played   if not ignored as much as the fact that there were Tigers shooting at the armed forces from hospitals and other no fire zones. No wonder the cliché’ has it that truth is the first casualty in war. Pro-Tiger as well as anti-Tiger commentaries are marred by the absence of any kind of objectivity whatsoever. For the one, the members of the  Armed Forces of Sri Lanka are all evil and for the other they are angels in uniform who risked their life and limb to save the trapped civilians in their noble  endeavour to ensure ‘zero civilian casualty’.

Sri Lanka and its president Mahinda Rajapaksa had what I would term  ‘ a Mandela moment’ at the end of the war.  Rajapaksa had the backing of all Sri Lankans in that euphoric moment when he, with the aid of Sri Lanka’s  Armed Forces that  he oversees as Commander-in-Chief,  saved the country from the intransigent and barbaric Tamil Tigers. In the aftermath of May 2009, Rajapaksa could easily have demonstrated  humane leadership qualities a la Nelson Mandela, asked his citizens to close ranks,  begin to pick up the pieces, focus on national  resuscitation and live life as united Sri Lankans caring for each other as a country made up of citizens as rich in tradition and history as ours  is expected to do. More than any other recent head of state, Rajapaksa could have afforded to be a peace maker as his Sinhala nationalist credentials are solid and so he could easily have carried the majority with him. He could have initiated a process of  genuine national reconciliation and carried the project through. Whatever Ranil Wickremesinghe’s failings may be, he is not anti-Tamil. Hence Rajapaksa could easily have counted on the meaningful support of his political opposition to seek true  reconciliation and rebuild the war-shattered island if such sincere goals were those he had in mind. By doing so and eschewing expediency, little Sri Lanka could thus have been a giant example to the rest of the world. We could have shown to the world what a country with a rich and ancient history based on time-honoured  values  could actually do when presented with an opportunity to do what is right and good.

The reality of the last almost four years  has been that Rajapaksa has shown himself to be just another ordinary politician and not the statesman that he could have been. He put his Army General turned political opponent in jail, sought to make himself a paper lion by placing giant photographs of himself and his brothers in every  nook and cranny of the island, and has played petty and pathetic politics both nationally and internationally. He has been able to coax the gullible Sinhala majority into voting him and his party into power at every election since the end of the war. The supine and unimaginative opposition led by the United National Party of Ranil Wickremesinghe has made it easier for Rajapaksa, but there is no denying the complicity of the majority of the Sinhala community in the tragedy that has unfolded and continues to unfold.

The key thing that the United States and the rest of the world have asked of us is to forge a true reconciliation.  There is no denying the fact that influential members of the Tamil diaspora scattered the world over have played, and are playing,  a significant role in  various capitals of the world  to get the US-led west to put pressure on Sri Lanka. The United States, India, and most other significant countries of the world gave beleaguered Sri Lanka  military and moral support from about 2001 onwards when it became clear that the Tamil Tigers were not really interested in a politically negotiated solution. Furthermore it is not incorrect to note that this assistance was given to Sri Lanka in the expectation that in return Sri Lanka would,   post-war,   accommodate the Tamils and other ethnic minorities, devolve power and seek to re-build a united Sri Lanka where all of its citizens may live in harmony and dignity. It has to be attributed to the monumental folly of the Rajapaksa administration that instead of  devolving power and working sincerely towards a political solution consequent to its military victory as was anticipated, it sought to ride a wave of triumphalism and supremacy.  To attempt to compel Sri Lanka to move in the direction of  reconciliation ,  Sri Lanka is now being  pressurised to implement the recommendations of  its very own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission(LLRC).  Sri Lanka should have acted on its own instead of giving an opportunity for outsiders to seek to compel  the island to act correctly. Our faulty leadership and bumbling political appointee diplomats on ego trips managed to put Sri Lanka in the dock and give these outsiders the power to dictate to us. The present state of affairs is a consequence of our failure to take the high politico- moral ground after the successful prosecution of the war. We resorted to cheap politics instead of opting for right and  honourable conduct . Had we done the right thing, we could have healed wounds of war, admitted crimes   we  committed against each other, confessed our collective sins, sought forgiveness from each other, applied closure  and sought to move on as a united country.  That, sadly and tragically, is the road not taken by Sri Lanka.

A word about the role of our neighbour India now. As in 2012 this year too, India has been playing dreadful games. One appreciates the complexity of domestic political compulsions that makes it necessary for Delhi to hedge its bets up to a point. One does not have to be a Machiavelli or a Kautilya to figure out that the United States and India and other allies would have studied the final version of the 2013 US resolution months ago and agreed on the small print. But this game of draft resolutions with seemingly strong reformulations which India, in its wisdom, will introduce in an apparent bid to water down the fresh resolution is  surely balderdash.

The  shedding of crocodile tears by India over Sri Lanka’s sovereignty is mildly amusing. What regard, if any, did India show for this sovereignty when India decided to  drop parippu (dhal) on our heads before presenting J.R. Jayewardene with a fait accompli  in  the form of  the Indo-Lanka Agreement of 1987? The Indians should say this to the Marines or to the pig-tailed  Chinese of yore ( konde’  bandapu Cheennunta), to use a pithy Sinhala saying. India wants to appear to be Big Brother and show to the region that it calls the shots in the region. And given US ties to India and the priorities in that ‘indispensable relationship’ in our post-Cold war world, it is no skin off the US to agree to string along with the Indians as the latter seeks to project its preeminence in its backyard.  These are games ‘big boys’ usually play and we should not be taken in by them. We won’t,  if we fall back on our heritage instead of merely paying lip service to it. We have the intelligence and the sagacity born out of an ancient history and experience of dealing with outside powers for centuries to navigate the political minefields in which big boys  are wont to play their silly games. It is a great pity that we are missing the plot here.

Sri Lanka has only itself to blame. Delhi is not going to alienate Tamilnadu to please Sri Lanka, especially in these days of fragile coalition governments. It does not have to. What Sri Lanka ought to have done and do is to give Delhi, as it should Washington, enough reason to back us by following through on assurances given not renege on them. This is the best way of finessing either Tamilnadu or the influential Tamil diaspora. Sri Lanka, even at this late stage, must do what is right and good as stated above.  We must deal with the outside world with an open mind and in a spirit of cooperation. We must create a domestic political consensus which enables all Sri Lankans regardless of ethnicity to live in peace and dignity. Not because the United States or the Tamil diaspora are breathing down our neck, but because it is the principled and right thing to do. To return to the central point of this essay, that is what a country worth its 2,500-year history and culture  should do if we are to be truly proud of our heritage and distant culture. We may be small in size, but we surely  would not be small in stature if we acted in accordance with  the courage of our convictions and  lived up to our true national ideals. Sri Lanka deserves better from its politicians. The country as a whole should not be made to pay for the glaring shortcomings of our weak and shallow political leadership.

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Latest comments

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    Killing a terrorist or any enemy after surrendring is NOT justified and for a country that follows ahimsa should follow the princiles of the Lord Buddha. Justice by God is sure?

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      Killing a terrorist is O.k. USA showed to world killing Osama.
      No one can misuse Sri lankan Buddist anymore.

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      Does it mean to say that Killing thousands of innocent Sinhala and Muslim people by Tamil Terrorists for 3 decades were accepted principles of the the Hindu and Christian God’s!!!!!!

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    Aren’t you down playing the missing 80 000 Tamil civilians? Imelda Suker, the governmental officer for Jaffna, testified of more than 360 000 in the Vanni; it is well known that only 280 000 came out from Nandikadal lagoon. Where are they? Your “Rajapaksa Mandela” shouldn’t address the issue?
    P.S.: Honestly the comparison of Mandela and Rajapaksa is really bad taste. Seriously.

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      250000 are in the UK, another 500.000 in Canada. All pawns of LTTE human Trafficking.

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    No doubt the US being a bully, but only a bully can bully another bully.

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    Rajapassas are bullying all the sri lankans living in sri lanka by stealing,treatening, killing people. Ajit Jayakody we dont care what us,russia, uk does.We sri lankan are getting abused big time my rajapassas. Your articles is a bunch of lies.You may be a guy who lives in another country and talking about sri lanka or kissing ass to rajapassa. We are vistims of rajapassa tyranny. Go to Hell!

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      Ranil wicramasinghe as you say is definitely not anti tamil , but definitely pro tamil . He brokered the infamous peace treaty with Norway,givng all the demands required by the LTTE. Maybe you are in a time warp . What SL wants is a Sri Lankan solution and not what USA or India wants . India cannot call the shots where SL is concerned as SL is a soverign ,independent country.

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        Anti-Tamil or Pro-Tamil. Do any of you really know the personal lives of these politicians. Rajapaksa gives speeches in passable Tamail, his brother in law is Tamil, he is doing more with the countries monies for people in the north than anywhere else in that country at this moment in time. You speak from your comfy armchairs somewhere but seem to have absolutely no perspective of the ground reality.

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        Yes Kumudini,

        You are right Ranil is not anti Tamil and that is why he is out of power and will lways be out of until his grave. what does tht show it shows that there are no decent Sinhalese and you are all racist.
        Domestic violence is a private matter upto apoint but when it involves innocent civilans and rape and murder on a large scale like then it becomes a public matter and yes India can call the shots as you lot have no intention of addressing the Tamil issue.
        Nothing is going to change untill we have a change the top in Inidia which ill happen next year. You are a woman I hope and you I am sure as a woman understand what dignity means to a woman and would you like to die like our Sister KRISHANTHI.
        So wake up and spread a message of love and not hate. We cannot move on s a nation until we have accountablity.

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    I was told by a friend that Rajapaksa and all his 568 relatives will be ,born PIMBURAS. Pythons. Buddhists believe in re birth. The greed would make them to be reborn as pythons so, they can swallow and swallow, everything in their vicinity.what else could be wrong with the phython, for all these wrong things they do?
    Mandela my foot! Rajapaksa and his kith and kin have more IDI Amin,or Sadam Husain or even Hitler moments or may be all of those rolled in to one.
    My only wish is that those 568 phythons will not be born in Sri Lanka

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    A Terrorists remains a terrorists whether he is surrendering or sleeping.

    Justification is all about killing a terrorists or else, he will get you.

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      Re3ally true. VP shoudl have got Terrorist Rajapakse without helping to be elcted. Terrorist Rajapkasegot VP

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      Dickie you dick head

      You are rigt a terrorist remains a terrorist. You lot started the terrorism starting with the first race riots in 1958. You have been killing Tamils for the last 63 years. Read a bit of Sri Lankan hitory man before you open your mouth. Rajapakse who heads the State terrorism will always be a terrorist. If you want proof ask your Sinhalese brotheren: The family of Lasantha and hundres of others who were brutally killed by Sinhalese thugs who are under the direct control of MR who heads state terrorism.
      Instead of pretending that you are innocent and whiter than white I would like you to admit that your are all racist and have no problem killing Tamils which you started in 1958 when there was no Prabakaran

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    Sadly all you guys have missed the point. Nowhere has he said he is like Mandela. What he has said is he could have but he opted to be al what you guys say. A tyrant Idi Saddam Hitler etc true he has taken all of us to the cleaners except his 580 pythons. You need to understand first before you start shooting your thoughts out like our local politicians. We are in this predicament thanks to our uneducated politicians. Only proffession you get elected thro computer/jilmart & no need to getbthro grade 6.

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      Agee with you wholeheartedly. I am not sure any one inside the parliament , could do any kind of jil mart. They pay our money and get nasty pieces of educated, shortsighted evil little F…s (ELFS) to do their jil mart.
      He could have opted to be a Mandela but, have you ever believed this man had the wisdom to do that(never mind the education) after he stole from the Tsunami.

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    “The reality of the last almost four years has been that Rajapaksa has shown himself to be just another ordinary politician and not the statesman that he could have been. He put his Army General turned political opponent in jail, sought to make himself a paper lion by placing giant photographs of himself and his brothers in every nook and cranny of the island, and has played petty and pathetic politics both nationally and internationally. He has been able to coax the gullible Sinhala majority into voting him and his party into power at every election since the end of the war. The supine and unimaginative opposition led by the United National Party of Ranil Wickremesinghe has made it easier for Rajapaksa, but there is no denying the complicity of the majority of the Sinhala community in the tragedy that has unfolded and continues to unfold.”

    The above paragraph is 100% correct in my opinion and it’s good to see that the writer does not blame all the ills that has befallen this country on Ranil Wickremesinghe like some other writers do.

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    When the Tamil community looking for justice……Rajapakses were looking to further bloat their power.

    When Sinhala community was looking for relief after war….. Rajapakses were using white vans to intimidate them and supress media.

    When muslin community was looking for Halal certification…..Rajapakses formed BBS to suppress other minority religions.

    When Nothern Tamil community looking to re-settle in their villages…..Rajapakses put up Army camps in their properties.

    When people organised protests……… Rajapakses threw tear gas, batton charged and fired at them killing some.

    When UNHRC told GOSL to reconcile with Tamil community…..Rajapakses branded them as Foreign imperialiasts Capitalists and conspiracies.

    WHAT IS NEXT OTHER THAN WHILE PLAYING FEAR FACTOR ………AND A FAMILY DICTATORSHIP IN MAKING.

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    How is the US,UK,EU, Canada, Australia following a two tier justice system in this world?

    So when the US,UK,EU,Canada,Australia and the NATO forces commits gross crimes in the form of an endless war still ongoing and massacring human beings it is OK?

    However poor third world countries suffering from endless wars created by british colonists of the past actually ends not keep on having wars but actually ends wars in the most humane way possible it is a crime?!

    I think that Sri Lanka is scapegoated to hide gross crimes committed and being committed in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and other places.

    However since there is a two tier justice system in the world where the neo liberal imperialist forces of the West and their allies and cohorts are exempt from being scrutinised at all for example the cohort of the West the LTTE’s atrocities, its foes like Sri Lanka even a pin dropping in Sri Lanka is scrutinised!

    Another ploy of the imperialist neo colonialist Western forces is to raise the bar so high that any developing country on this earth will fail and the same neo colonialist forces then cries ‘human rights violations’!. In the case of Sri Lanka the war cry of the neo imperialist West is that police and army are not good, journalists are harrassed, judges are sacked and so on. However a quick situation report of any developing country would quickly find that most developing countries are like this. In fact most are worse than Sri Lanka in some cases by miles. Even some more developed countries are worse than Sri Lanka.

    So all this bullshit is a witch hunt. It is very obvious. I think Sri Lanka should indeed let someone else handle the CHOGM meeting why should we waste our money on this rubbish meeting? At UN if it is me, I would walk away from such a witch hunt.

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    When Malcolm Rifkind previous foreign secretary of the previous right wing conservative govt of the UK comes on channel 4 news and says sri lanka meaning the sri lankan people practice apartheid then you know it is a neo imperialist resource grab that countries like the US, UK, Canada are planning and trying to get eelam by the back door.

    As we all know the north has many mineral resources and offshore oil and in the east is the strategically located trincomalee harbour. It is these that the UK, US, Canada are after and so the efforts to get eelam by the back door.

    It is shameful that many anti govt sri lankans on this site would actually agree with this neo colonialist neo imperialist right wing resource grab from third world countries agenda and it is extremely shameful that many on this site would actually agree with the outrageous views of lunatics like malcolm rifkind that sri lankan people practise apartheid.

    It is so shameful that some ani govt sri lankans cannot but be subservient to the UK US Canada. They simply cannot get themselves to see that these imperialist countries are only after our resources just as they were after iraq’s or libya’s resources. Even right thinking people in the UK, US agree this is the case.

    Some anti govt sri lankans will even agree with these neo imperialists simply because they are western european (due to their subservient mentality) that sri lankan people practise apartheid!

    I find these utterances of malcolm rifkind and channel 4 news a gross insult and channel 4 news is a racist channel, racist towards the sri lankan people.

    I find it a personal insult the gross lie that sri lanka people practice apartheid. I have never practiced apartheid, do not intend to do so and never ever thought of doing so and even buddhism will not allow me to do so even if I wanted to! It is a gross insult this malcolm rifkind is saying. I never ever evn thought about it and was shocked to hear it on channel 4 news. It is a gross insult.

    The govt should really walk out of the UNHCR circus since I can guarantee that sri lanka will not get any fair hearing there. It would be more injustice meted out by the neo colonialist neo imperialist right wing lunatics which will be handed out there. Also ask the oommonwealth to have their meeting any place they want!

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      Kautilya,

      You are no different to vast majority of your countrymen living in a world of your own. I dont know how old you are but reading your comment you come accross as short on substance.

      Let me educate you and clarify the following

      “As we all know the north has many mineral resources and offshore oil and in the east is the strategically located trincomalee harbour. It is these that the UK, US, Canada are after and so the efforts to get eelam by the back door.

      Cairnoil ( Owened by India not by the imperialist like Malcom Rifkind)
      has been digging and digging and have not found any oil of commercial value . There may be gas under the sea but man you will produce more gas if you eat enough eggs every morning and evening and you know what I mean.
      Turning to Trinco Harbour Americans wanted to use the facilty but when India objected to it as it compromised her security America withdrew. So dont worry no one can and will use Trinco Harbour execpt India.
      There is no natural resources in the north except skeletons.
      Yes you are right we will get Eelam through the back door with outside help if you dont open the Front Door and treat the Tamils as equals and grant them rights and means to protect their language religion and culture. Not what MR envisages which is colonisation through the backdoor and this word has an irony.

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        Kali, you haven’t reallised yet that ALL doors for Tamil Eelam are closed in Sri Lanka an will remain firmly closed; that dream of Tamil Eealam disappeared into thin year in 2009. Suggest you step into the neighboring Tamil Nadu and see if you guys can create this State of tamil Eelam. Good luck !

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      kautilya recommends “Also ask the oommonwealth to have their meeting any place they want!”

      This is what is called “sour grapes”!!!

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    “he reality of the last almost four years has been that Rajapaksa has shown himself to be just another ordinary politician and not the statesman that he could have been. He put his Army General turned political opponent in jail, sought to make himself a paper lion by placing giant photographs of himself and his brothers in every nook and cranny of the island, and has played petty and pathetic politics both nationally and internationally. He has been able to coax the gullible Sinhala majority into voting him and his party into power at every election since the end of the war.”

    This Rajapkasa was a school boy thug!

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      @ leel

      The proof of the pudding is in the eating. If as you say, MR is not a statesman and is only an ordinary politician, how come he and his party get elected in every election, and that his vote base by and large remains unafffected.The answer is that he has won the hearts and minds of the majority of people and contiunues to be elected as their leader; and that is democracy my friend.MR cannot please every soul in this country and as long as he keeps his appeal to a large majority, it will be difficult if not impossible to dispalace him especially with the very weak opposition that he has to encounter. The handful of people who keep tormenting and criciszing him in these chat rooms should know that they are only wasting their breath.

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    THE LEADER OF THE BODHU BALA SENA IS AN ISLAND RE-CONVICTED CRIMINAL.

    THIS MISFIT APPEARS WITH SHAVEN HEAD AND SAFFRON CLAD.

    THIS IS THE GOSPEL TRUTH.

    HE IS PLANTED BY THE SCARE CROW MURDERER BAYA GULLA.

    DIASPORA IS SAFE.

    THE PRESENT WORRY IS THE MUSLIM-BUDDHIST CONFLICT.

    WATCH OUT FOR THE AL-QUEIDA.

    THEY ARE MORE DANGEROUS THAN THE DIASPORA.

  • 0
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    I think we are mistaking the trees for the forest. What is bedeviling this country is bad governance this country bad governance of increasing virulence from independence to now. It is not a system that is governing us, but a bunch of politicians, progressively of lower and lower quality. Politicians should govern this country in accordance with a system dictated by the vision and concepts defined in a constitution. The politicians and their political agenda is our constitution now. Arguing on the merits of MR and RW are meaningless as they both represent what is wrong in this country. The human rights violations and breakdown in the rule of law are manifestations of not the failures of individuals, but a failure of the system- constitutional rule.

    What we need is a revolution of kinds to device a new constitution to rescue the people from its politicians. If this does not happen, we will continue on the present path to more infamy and degradation.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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