9 August, 2020

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Defence Secretary Is A Grim Impediment

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

Lanka’s Defence Secretary Gothabaya, a brother of President Mahinda Rajapake, together with two other brothers (economics minister Basil and parliamentary speaker Chamal) comprise the inner cabal and power hub in the country. The triumvirate of president, defence secretary and ex army commander Sarath Fonseka are credited with winning the war against the LTTE and enjoy warmth in Sinhalese hearts. But things are changing, public attitudes are shifting in respect of all three; President Rajapakse has lost much of his shine – or that’s my impression still to be tested at any significant local election in a Sinhalese area – and even political opponents of Fonseka now campaign for his release since his incarceration is a politically motivated miscarriage of justice. None of this is new; but in the case of Mr Gothabaya Rajapakse (GR), two recent events have been transformative; the Lankan regime’s UNHRC defeat in Geneva and the abduction and subsequent release of two leaders of the JVP radical breakaways, now organised in the new- the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP). In the light of these events GR has become a liability not only to the government but also to the SLFP, the principal party in the ruling alliance.

The Geneva Setback

The US sponsored resolution, supported by a reluctant Delhi under the Tamil Nadu whip but after watering down, carried by 24 votes to 15 with 8 abstentions, was a bitter defeat for a regime that had put the prestige of the Rajapakses on the line and spent (SL)Rs200 million in public funds trying to stave off defeat. It was not strongly worded, called for implementation of the counsel of the LLRC commission (appointed by President Rajapakse) and a probe of “accountability”, code for alleged war crimes and human-rights violations by the military during the civil war. Nevertheless it struck close to the Rajapkse heart; leave aside accountability, even calls for demilitarisation and exclusion of the military from civilian and economic life are on collision course with the military and its principal officer, Defence Secretary GR.

GR is much feared by allies and opponents alike. It is public knowledge that senior SLFP Ministers resent the usurpation of power by the Rajapakses but dare not contest it. Leaders of the three left parties in the government freely express their revulsion of GR in private, but tremble at any display of public disaffection. In a word, GR is the man nobody dares criticise in public, in print or electronic media. I could get away with censure of even the president in my articles in Lanka, but criticism of GR would, until recently, attract a prompt editorial red pencil.

The Geneva debacle loosened tongues and brought internal rifts to the surface. The Daily Mirror newspaper reported that GR had called for “reorganisation” of the Foreign Ministry, code for turning Foreign Minister G.L. Peries into a guinea pig and packing him off; his acolytes in the Ministry and the diplomatic corps are under attack and likely to be dismissed. The left leaders referred to previously, while remaining subservient, are tiptoeing with gentle criticisms. Careful leaks are being engineered that a close advisor of the president and editor of a Sinhala weekly has blurted out “poor President, Gothabaya is the whole problem.”

These difficulties would have blown over; after all GR is the president’s brother and a member of the most trusted inner circle. However a more substantial difficulty is the conflict of interests in respect of the UNHRC resolution. The resolution goes beyond LLRC recommendations by instructing the government to take “additional steps” to ensure justice, equity and accountability, and to provide an action plan on how it intends to address “violations of international law”. Who is going to do this? If GR, security Tsar during the war, remains in office the conflict of interest is glaring! The government cannot meet the terms of the resolution unless it changes course, that is, overhauls functions and functionaries in the defence establishment. Prima face, the resolution cannot be executed by the government if the persons in charge of the defence ministry remain in office because they are too deeply embroiled in the status quo and presumably have too much to conceal.

Abduction Of Premakumar Gunaratnam And Dimithu Attygalle

Compounding these difficulties for government and president is the Gunaratnam-Attygalle abduction. The consequence in any rational society should have been the prompt removal of the Defence Secretary but the sheer brazenness of Lankan politics continues to amaze. Though the UNHRC called the regime to order, and warned it to stop human-rights violations, abductors in white vans have thumbed their noses at the world and continue to ply their trade with impunity. There have been 56 abductions (several may already be dead) in the last six months, 29 of them in February and March; but the eye-opening outrage was this.

Mr Premakumar Gunaratnam and Ms Dimithu Attygalle, two leaders of the FSP, disappeared on 6 April 2012. Common sense shouted from the rooftops that the prime suspect was the state which was fretful about PSM collaboration with Tamil youth and its campaign to expose the regime’s human-rights crimes. It was feared that both had been murdered since, in Sri Lanka, abduction in a white-van is a trip to an “undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveller returns”. Activists Lalith Weeraraj and Kugan Muruganandan of the same party were abducted on 9 December 2011 in Jaffna and have not been seen or heard from since.

By an amazing stroke of luck both survived. Gunaratnam is an old-time JVP activist who fled to Australia in the 1990s and acquired citizenship. He returned under a false identity in late 2011 to participate in FSP activities. Gunaratnam’s mother and sister, on hearing of the abduction, rushed to the Australian High Commission and begged intervention with the Sri Lankan authorities; the High Commissioner obliged. This placed GoSL in an awkward bind; to snuff out Gunaratnam would have been to precipitate a diplomatic storm with Canberra, which Colombo can ill afford at this time. After a pack of ludicrous and contradictory statements, GR finally admitted that the SL authorities had Gunaratnam in their custody and deported him to Australia the next day.

Though Gunarratnam and Attygale were held in separate covert locations (blindfolded and with hands and legs in irons) they had been brought together, at least once, by the abductors to be grilled together and information crosschecked. Hence Gunaratnam knew at first hand that Attygale was held by the same abductors who had grabbed him. Therefore it was not possible to deport him and eliminate Attygalle since he would have spilt the beans upon arrival in Australia. Hence Ms Attygale too had to be released and both were dumped separately on April 9, in lonely locations with instructions not to turn back and look at the vans. Attygalle went straight to the FSP office and the party promptly called a press conference at which she blurted out her story.

Though blindfolded it was obvious to her that she was quizzed by the military and/or the police. The line of questioning aimed at eliciting information two matters; was the FSP in touch with LTTE remnants, was it preparing for armed struggle. She believes the interrogators were high officers since others addressed these senior persons as “Sir”. The air was official, heavy boots trod around the chamber. In any case, the cover has been blown sky high; the defence secretary, as spokesman for the government of Sri Lanka, had deported Gunaratnam; therefore a party to the abduction.

Hence all is revealed now! There is no need to speculate any longer about who is behind the long and tortured tale of white-van abductions and assassinations in this miserable land; the abductors have obligingly identified themselves. Nonetheless, it is very difficult for rational beings to comprehend how GR remains at the helm of the Defence Ministry. But then, this is Sri Lanka in the epoch of the Mahinda Rajapakse presidency.

Delhi’s Bum Role

Both the Geneva outcome, pushing GoSL into free fall and making extravagant promises (which nobody believes) of implementing LLRC recommendations, and the intervention of the Australian High Commissioner, thanks to which the lives of Gunaratnam and Attygale were spared, underline the importance of foreign intervention. Far from xenophobic hypocrisy, the truth is that the foreign factor is the most significant in pushing back the state’s human-rights crimes.

Unfortunately it is also true that Delhi (I do not say India as the connotation is different) has been a disappointment if measured against what could have been, given influence and proximity. I don’t need to elaborate; the calamitous failure of the Manhohan Singh Administration Sri Lanka policy has been widely discussed. The tragedy however, to judge from Dr Singh’s grovelling letter to Mr Rajapakse immediately after the Geneva vote, all but apologising for voting against the Lankan regime, indicates that a change of attitude in Delhi is unlikely, unless Indian public opinion piles on the pressure.

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Latest comments

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    The US opened up a Green Card System about a forty to forty five years ago for those interested in migrating to the US from the third world countries. Many have taken advantage of this facility and are domiciled in the US now. Along with this migrants the US have been successful in cultivating individuals allowing them to enter on Green Card System to be conditioned and trained to carry their brief. Thereafter these individuals have been made use of to run their own countries according to the agendas of the US. Gota and Basil are two good examples of this exercise. It is for this reason that the US is not taking any action for the lapses of the Rajapaksas, when they are caught with their pants down.

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      Yeah, and try explaining this to the bunch that doesn’t see how their economic difficulties are related to the corruption of the politicians and government servants.

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      Dual citizenship can be granted to any citizen that apply requesting the ctizenship for both contries at the discretion of these countries . However,once such a citizen is on whichever country, that particular country is responsible for him and not the other country which he holds the passport from. This is universally accepted . For instance if Gothabaya is in SL , then the USA will not have any resposibility for him even though he holds USA citizenship . &vice versa . I hope this clarifies the confusion .

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        Suppose a G0ta-affi holding SL and USA Passports goes to
        Australia and misbehaves, which Govts. Embassy in Australia
        could take up Gota-ffis matter?

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          In such a hypothetical situation the country of the passport he uses to enter Australia is considered. If Gota enters Australia using USA passport he will be considered as a USA citizen in Australia, if he uses SL passport, he will be considered as a SL citizen in Australia.

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    Gamini,
    Anything critical of the Rajapakses’ are music to your ears,ah!Oh!by the way where’s your twin brother Observer?May be still he has not got over the public lashing he got from the moderator!

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      Max please do not make a joke of yourself. If you want to pander to the Rajapaksas that is your wish to indulge in. Take ny word the days are numbered for the Rajapaksas in this country.

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        Days are numbered!you have a peculiar way of joking.It’s fine as long as it keeps you happy.Hopes keep man alive.

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      And I rest my case!

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      @Mad Max

      This is not music for ears, this is about good & bad governance, Duel with Holy & Unholy, yes when rogues are shaken its music for honest citizens.

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    Kumar David seems very privy to the exact occurences in relation to the two recent abductees. If he is an investigative journalist, he could have researched the information with his contacts and sources. However, if he is claiming these ‘facts’ as an academic, then one must ask how he knows. It would be interesting to know how he knows the facts about the circumstances relating to the alleged abductions. Over to you, Kumar!

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      Okay – then, where do you place Professor Rohan Gunaratne?

      By the way, where is he these days? Probably Gota got mad at him for claiming that Gota was wrong with the casualty figures. I assume, the Professor has decied to stay quiet to ensure his survival.

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        Not answering for anybody else, but I can place Rohan Gunaratne exactly where he should be. Just in the same place as his contemporaries Dayan, Pakiyasothi or Jehan Perera, the other self-appointed academics of ‘good governance’, at the behest of foreign dosh.Rohan once explained to a gathering a ‘fact’ from one of his books, which another guy in the gathering immediately refuted. Rohan dissappeared in the crowd but the underline message was how true the ‘facts’ in his books!!!!

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      Any idiot with at least two brain cells still alive can deduce the “facts”.

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    Max is Rajapksa’s boru kakul megaphone

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    The king of ” kidnap and ransom” the bag of “Lies and Deceit” Gota is not only feared by his allies opponents but by his own older brother “The Excellency” Rajapakshe himself. Although M.Rajapkshe is the President, this country is run by none other than The king of ransom Gota. Mahindha should take orders from this maniac or even the president himself will be in trouble. This is what happens when an attendant of “7-11” store try to run the country. He should be filling the petrol pumps in the US instead of filling his bank(s) account. He should stop diddling public funds while hard working srilankans starve. what is this US citizen doing in SL killing and abducting SL citizens. This murderous regime will get rid of any political rivals or otherwise. That’s what the dictators always do. They take control of absolutely everyone and everything. The sooner get rid of this regime is the better for the sinhalese. But no change of regime is going to make one bit difference to Tamils.

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    Anything eulogistic of the Rajapakses is muck and bee-honey to pigs like Max Silvas! Where are the others in “50-centers’ party”? Pigs be careful, Sinhalese are fond of pig meats during Sinhala New year!!!

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    Gowrie, we understand your concerns and this time Sinhalese really want to help Tamils as well, we all must win. There are Sinhalese leaders that can do it and please do not loose your faith but rally around such leaders, we as Sinhalese really want to uphold your rights.

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    Godaya,Gowrie, Silva,
    The problem with you is that the Nandikadal nightmare is still haunting you.Same old story.Stop wasting my time.

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      Max,
      Is it same old story? I don’ t know how many times you vomited “nanthikadal”. Why don”t you change ur story for once. Please!.

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        If i vomit Rajapakse bashing i am sure that you will swallow it.It seems that the word “Nandikadal”is a worst nightmare than Dracula.

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        We know most of the tammils are not happy. Because their dream of having tamil elam is went down the pipe. And never come back. What i don’t understand is, is realy tamils are suffring from the war? i don’t think so. now they have there schools are open kids are going to the school. Big dog prabhakaran is not going to kidnap your kids to fight for his dream land. tammils can travel to south no one is going to ask them why? Singhaleas can travel to north. interact with our brothers and sisters there. Of course if they want to.

        The new trend in sri lanka is just try to find simple thing and make it big. Why? There is numerous people out their,, who use to depend on the war. Politicians, (singhala & tamil) NGO’s, Arms dealers, Fev governments who suport the political conspiracy’s in geo politicaly important countrys. Now these guys are the one who lost everything.

        I don’t do shoping for rajapaksa’s or ranils, All i care about my country. What happening today is very few are trying to destroy a country for there own benefit. Also there is some goons who are washing the derty laundry of this same people.

        When sri lankan public understand party politics is for the politicians, and not for the public. Our country will go forward.

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    If anyone cared to monitor the movements of this buffalo called “Max Silva” one would really find that this donkey is really a pig with internet enabled. You can’t go near it because it stenches like a cesspit, you can’t look at it because it looks like a heap of feces and urine, it lives in the toilet pit of Modawansa, all this I discovered reading the filth it writes! No one so far could disprove Buddha’s doctrine, after death and for countless number of years this lying rascal piggy beggar would definitely be born in a hell full of feces to swallow!

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      Well said Mr.Silva,Nothing to be worried only hand full of people like Max silva still supporting the Mahendra Perci Rajapaksha dynasty,only due to their personal gains not for the country.Though their days are very limited…..

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      Bogus Silva,
      This pig has more than internet.For instance the pig has a crystal ball that can recognize defeated Tamil Tiger terrorists like you appearing in bogus Sinhalese names.It can also predict the future of you two legged characters with a tail.But wouldn’t do so because taking by surprise is the hallmark of the pig,like in the case of Nandikadal!I don’t want you jerks taking on to cyanide.
      As for Ruchi’s prediction,if it comes true,there’s always Max Silva who is a Srilankan opposition leader.To put it in another form,a leader in waiting.

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        THIS GUY MUKS SILUWA ONCE CALLED HE, HIMSELF AN ANALYST.
        I CALLED HIM ANAALIST PROFESSOR , BECAUSE HE DOESN’T LIKE OTHERS, WHO GIVE MODERATE ANSWERS ON BLOG FORUMS, BECAUSE HE THINK HE KNOWS BETTER THAN THE MOST INFORMED,
        WHAT I UNDERSTAND IS THIS STOOGE IS AXXXX LIKER OF RULING FAMILY.
        AND SITTING ON HIS BRAIN.

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          Seruwila,
          Stop wasting my time and get on with your Dhamma scam!

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    Reading the above comment gives the picture that everything for Tamils have been settled in this country after the so called demise of Prabahkaran. Is it? I have seen many a Sinhalese challenging Tamils to state their grievences that the Sinhalese are not subject to. They openly state that the Tamils have no grievences but only aspirations. I too was of the same mind set before, till I saw what it is to be a Tamil in Sri Lanka to understand why they rebel against the Sinhalese regimes for the discrimination they face. Yet the Sinhalese are of the belief that Tamils are not discriminated. I advice such, to carry a Tamil identity, instead of their Sinhalese identity and get about in the country to see for themselves, what it is to be a Tamil. I will narrate one incident to illustrate my point. Sivakumaran is a Tamil now domiciled in the US after the riots of ’83, whom I met through a friend, who had returned to the country after a long lapse and wanted to see the Kandy Perehara. Sivakumaran is fair and speaks fluent Sinhalese and can easily pass off as a Sinhalese. I arranged for both of them a room at the Casamara Hotel in Kandy town itself as the Perehara goes in front of the Hotel. Sivakumaran had been keen in filming and he had been assisted to get out on to the street to film the Perehara, by the Policeman on duty whom he had acquainted and they have been freely chatting. After sometime my friend who was just in front of the Hotel had observed there was some type of comotion, where the cop was holding the collar of Sivakumaran and some questioning going on. When my friend intervened it has been found that the Cop was holding on to Sivakumaran’s collar, as he did not have any identity papers as he had not carried his Passport, but had told the Cop that he was staying at the Hotel and the Passport was in the room which he could produce if he came. Thereafter my friend had quickly rushed to the room and brought Sivakumaran’s Passport and managed to get Sivakumaran freed but the opportunity of filming, being on the road denied and the friendliness of the Cop dissappearing. Besides the day was done for Sivakumaran as he had not been in the mood, let alone filming even to witness the Perehara. Then only my friend had found out as to what had happened. The Cop had been chatting feely and friendly with Sivakumaran thinking he was a Sinhalese and the moment he discovered that Sivakumaran was a Tamil, his whole attitude had changed. This is not one off incidents as I have first hand proof of quite many such incidents. Today, do Tamils have a fair chance of securing government jobs, although they may be qualified? Have not the Tamils living in this country as long as or more than the advent of the Sinhalese? After the advent of the British who introduced systems of Governance and education for the natives both Sinhalese and Tamils to take up post, it was the Tamils who persevered education more than the Sinhalese, not only becoming Christians but many even changing their names to English names, whereas the Sinhalese only a few changed their Religion to Christianity to receive an education. In fairness to the Tamils who held a larger proportion of govt. jobs at the time of Independence, all had the necessary qualifications and none had been recruited through the back door. The Sinhalese accused the British as deviding and ruling this country, whereas it was the Sinhalese Politicians that devided and ruled this country after Independence using the language issue.

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      Gamini,
      Can’t you make your sad stories short?Don’t follow in the footsteps of Ole Doc Brian.

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      I totally agree with Gamini, as I too have many narratives similar not only Tamils even Muslims are feeling the pinch now, Buddhist chauvinism triumphing all over.

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    Before that Vikirajasinhas and other kings of TN were prefered, Max Silva also TN ancestory, hence the disgust.

    All SL people have changed their names at some point, native has no place in SL. There were many things wrong in our society before, Europeans gave us endless opportunuty to pass blame, this on their internet. ‘Maxwel’ ‘Silva’ is one such example of the confusion.

    If the Europeans had not come SL would have been Hindu/Muslim (take a look around the region)

    Gamini is nice and LONG…
    Max is challenged on that department, hence the vile.

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      He he he… bet “Max Silva” is not going to touch your post and risk exposing his … never mind.

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      Who is this Percy character?Never heard of.This article is not about Max Silva.So better stick to the contents of the article.
      Whats this fellow Katmai trying to say?He he he?Why, did your wife give you a thundering slap for not performing your duties as a husband, instead loitering 24×7 on the net?Watch your step!Your neighbor might get horny ideas.

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    Well said Kumar David, but expect the white van drive soon.

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    As for Prof.Kumar David, whose style of writing I admire and read his contibtions in when and where wever possible.One pernnially and monotonous, drab and dull common feature in his rabid mode of thought and writing ;is his congenitally, incorrgible bias and hate and prejudise of the Sinhala community,Sri Lanka and the Rajapasha family,while praising and admiring Prabhakaran, the LTTE and Tamil Nadu and nd glorifying his own dravidian tamil community. Although he write with a flowery language, the glitter of wich is fading into insipid drabness because he displays pride of place based on his peersonal biased, unjust, unfair and unsustantiated heresay.I am sincerely inclined to feel if he writes exacerbated by the influence by drinking heavil cheap quality Liquors . His reports about the infamous jailed jumper conformed terrorits Gunrathnam and his wife [said to have lived a continental life for 6 years] verbatim reports about them as if he had personally interviewed. Bull shit immagination.His empathy towards his Sun God Holy Prabha is understood. He is glad about the Geneva victory by ONE vote,happy of the destbilising efforts of the USA and now attempts to innagurate a new trend of thought to disintegrate and disunite the Rajapaksha brothers. If your languae is a flower it is sans the fragrance of trues substace. As for a few other subscribers on this topic,
    they are only ex LTTE,Dravida Tamils still weeping pots for PISAACHI Terrorot Prabahkaran, turning towards Nandikadal steam

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    Long is better than short

    Many kings adopted Christianity, changed names; Don John, Don Juan, Don Philip, Dona Caherina….

    Most names, surnames you think SL is actually Indian; tunga, nayake, kara, bandara/pandaram

    Last 4 SL kings pure TN

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    Gamini, your personal opinion of incidents are pointless. Cyanide neck laced suicide bombing LTTE murderers were quite able to speak Sinhala! It was your Tamil friends duty to carry his passport. Sinhala people too have to produce their ID cards if called upon to do so. This is the norm in most countries of the world! The Sinhalese challenging Tamils to state their grievences. The Tamils have no grievences but their aspirations are to receive privileges they enjoyed during the colonial times for their subservient ‘yes sir, yes sir three bags full sir’ attitude. Failure to that the creation of a mono ethnic state of Eelam!

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      Lanka it is your type of mindset that have driven this Nation to the present plight we are in. Producing one’s identity is a requirement if was allowed to bring the Passport from the room, in the case of my friend, which was just there. Would you have tolerated to be held by your collar till you produced your identity? I wonder! No Sinhalese would have put up with such treatment. No certainly not. Lanka you are nothing but a Sinhalese CHAUVINIST, a damn disgrace to the Real Sinhalese Nation, the Majority who are Compassionate, Tolerant and Understanding. Not FAKES as you are, who claim to be Sinhalese today. This is the reason why due to people of your ilk that the Tamils have been driven to lace their necks with cyanide and commit suicide for the injustices caused to them, that have affected the whole Nation. As long as this society entertains your type of mentality and mindset, we will continue to reap violence in this society. This may not sound sweet to your ears and people like Max complaining the post is too long. But this is the factual situation.

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    LTTE propaganda, there is no evidence that ay one is abducted in Sri Lanka. Proove it or stop spreading false propaganda. its all a set up ti discredit the country.

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      You must be from Angoda.. right??????????

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    @Nagen
    Where are you domiciled, or are you deaf, blind or dumb to reality.

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    Kumar David Is Trostakist-LSSP politics,who take up reconationary stand on all national questaions.Instead of Natioal quesation he always taken HUMAN RIGHTS as priority in politicial agenda and Solialist revolution of Trostkt docrian of Permeant revolution.
    The so-called socialist approch is denied democartic revolution stage of underdevelopemt capitalism in Sri Lanka.They avoide ground reality of different classes in democartic revolution and its task.
    The partication of peasenty, petty bourgeisos,natioal bourgesisos,women, students and youth role of Decomrtic task and revolution in Sri Lanka has been denied by Kumar David.
    Needless to say he is outright-orthdex left-orinted right wing oppounahist.Now he air his views on Kumara Rtanam -Dumutu Artigala abducation issue?
    This two pax are outright anachist-terrorist of JVP politiclly by products.JVP ever-never being socialist-idelogoy form very incepation.But renagade of Tarde union movement leader of Bala Thampo was back to JVP very begining.That is real Trostkism.Encouraging JVP is( NEW FRONTLINE SOCILIAST PARTY) part of de-stabiliaztion of our country hardly won PEACE AND STABILITY since 2009 May.

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    Hey David,
    It seems you are getting old very fast,but no sight of Ealam yet.Why don’t you join Ole Doc Brian and make Angoda speeches?

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