28 September, 2020

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Harassment Continues: Our Law Enforcement As Tool Of The Party In Power

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

The Justice Arm of State Turns the Screws

On 31 August 2020 night, the second in command at Jaffna police, Mr. G. Jayantha came home with a Tamil speaking police-officer Mr.A. Jeyenthiran. To be clear, they were both courteous. They informed me that they had closed the investigation on my daughter’s May Quarantine and sent the file to Colombo but it had been returned with instructions to ask me why I took my daughter to the Election Commission on 18, 19 May 2019 without home-quarantine, and why I had violated curfew during those days.

Summary: Incompetence of Dr. Anil Jasinghe

I have already reported in the press what happened and will do so again. My daughter, Elilini Hoole, a doctoral student at Cambridge, was evacuated during the COVID-19 epidemic by the UK Sri Lankan High Commission. The distancing rule was not maintained on the flight that arrived on 4 May, 2020. She was taken directly from the Airport to Jetwing Negombo for 2 weeks’ isolation. Upon completion, she was issued a certificate that was undated and unreferenced by any number, and signed by Lieut. General Shavendra de Silva (Head, COVID Taskforce) and Director General of Health Services Dr. Anil Jasinghe. 

The certificate stated that she “underwent the necessary Quarantine Process.”  There was no word of further quarantining at home. Although bearing Dr. Jasinghe’s signature, the certificate violated his own rule in Health Ministry Circular EPID/400/n-COV of 8 April 2020 which required stating on the same certificate in cases where further home-quarantine is recommended) and  reads:

I had gone to Colombo on 17 May because of work. I expected Elilini to be released so I took my son with me as I have a still recovering fractured shoulder and cannot lift heavy bags.  

On 18 May, while at office, I received a call asking me to pick up Elilini and did so. She was not given any instructions on further home quarantining for two weeks but told only to be careful as she could still pick up the disease although the PCR test for CoVID cleared her.

We took it for granted that our officials are competent and correctly cleared her of undergoing the necessary quarantine process in accordance with Ministry of Health Circular EPID/400/2019 NCoV dated 10 April 2020 which read in paragraph 2: “Please note that public health staff should do only home quarantining of contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases.” The placement of the word ‘only’ lends this to confused interpretation. Elilini had not been in contact with any confirmed COVID-19 patient.

As I had been called while at work and there were still unfinished matters, I went back to office. We ordered our meals for delivery. After spending the night in my rented Colombo residence, I went back to work the next morning with my son and daughter, and went to lunch in Bambalapitiya before which we visited Albert Edirisinghe’s for glasses. While there, my driver Mr. Balahasan received a call from Mr. Rizan Manzil (Chairman’s PA) to tell me there was pandemonium at the office over my daughter’s presence, staff had been ready to jump off the second floor on seeing her, that all the offices had been disinfected and we all had immediately to go into quarantine.  It was clearly unfounded mass hysteria at the Commission by people who had not read up on quarantine procedures.

I promptly returned to the Commission, picked up my brief-case, went to Borella for our bags and took off for Jaffna. When in Kochchikadai, we stopped for our lunch and thereafter Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya called and informed me that there was a misunderstanding and I could come back. I was too distraught at the animosity by my coworkers, and proceeded home. On the way we were stopped at almost every check point. A friendly soldier apologetically told us that our vehicle plate number had been given and they had been asked to check us without saying for what. Our number plate could only have come from the Commission Secretariat, just as it has appeared in Colombo Telegraph comments by one calling himself Eagle Eye. So, it was quite late when we reached Jaffna.

The next morning the police came home and wanted the whole household quarantined. Fortunately, our MOH, Dr. Balamurali, not motivated and enervated by communal passions, told us there was no need and only my daughter should confine herself because he is under pressure.

Offending the Rulers

It is no secret that I have offended the rulers. I broke with the Commission and challenged the dissolution of Parliament in 2018. A full-bench Supreme Court upheld my stance. Earlier during the local government elections too, I broke with long standing practice in pushing for action when big-wigs on both sides of the parliamentary aisle  broke election laws. The same could be said of the presidential elections too. Dayasiri Jayasekera has promised to have me removed from the Commission for upholding the law. The police visit on a closed case could be a sign of the wheels turning. Prof. G.L. Pieris has effectively called me (or, as unlikely, Mr. Deshapriya or Mr. Nalin Abeyesekere the other two members of the Commission) a saboteur saying that the saboteur by absenting himself from meetings can forestall the elections. I did not earn their kudos when Mr. Abeyesekere and I did not permit elections on 25 April because of the dangers of COVID-19.

For all these reasons I presume, Ceylon Today (owned by Tiran Alles, now an MP) and Divaina (Upali Newspapers) of 20 May launched a tirade against me.  It was alleged that I took my daughter to the Commission without undergoing quarantine, and ignoring the staff who were objecting. No one objected or even commented.  The article also claimed that my using a Commission vehicle was “an act of corruption” although the Commission by resolution had asked me to use the Jaffna car because of COVID-19, and curfew.

Dr. Jasinghe told Ceylon Today on 21 May that I had acted unethically in taking my daughter to the Commission when it was he who had been unethical in writing a circular, which he disregarded when signing quarantine certificates, and then put the blame on my daughter and me. The physical harm caused by neglecting to instruct a patient in proper quarantine procedures and signing incorrect medical certificates, in addition to the mental harm caused by then publicly slandering the patient and her family, seems far from the Hippocratic oath primum non nocere. I teach ethics and one thing I say is it is unethical and disrespectful of persons to use poor grammar in public health circulars because, in writing unintelligible documents we do not care if the reader understands us or not. 

Lake House got into the act now. On 23 May 2020, Mr. M.A.M. Nilam, a senior journalist, wrote a piece in Thinakaran stating that Chairman Deshapriya had given an interview saying that I am a nuisance and that the Commission had decided to ask for my removal. Only parliament can remove a Commission member and there was no parliament at the time. When Rizan Manzil  telephoned Nilam, he admitted that there had been no interview and claimed that our retired Commissioner General M. Mohammed had given the information (which Mohammed denies). In any case, there was no interview with the Chairman, although Mr. Deshapriya’s denial in I believe Divaina is yet to receive proper circulation. That conversation with Mr. Manzil where Mr. Nilam admits he did not interview the Chairman is on record. 

Yet, the next day, there was another piece from Nilam repeating the same untruths. For Lake House to recklessly stick its neck out like this, pressure must be from very high up. He claimed I owned my rented house in Borella.

On 8 June, 2020 Ceylon Today mischievously claimed as based on reliable reports that I, who had lost 4 years of my life hiding from the LTTE and lost my post as VC/Jaffna,  “had attempted to spread the separatist ideology of the [LTTE] and engaged in fundraising for the LTTE” in Nigeria. The same news-report gave a complaint filed against me by Douglas Devananda without saying that it had been thrown out by the magistrate saying he did not see any evidence of the alleged police inquiry, which was being used to keep me on bail 6 years after the complaint. In an expanded article on 8 June, the headline was “Hoole the liar!”

The next day, 9 June, writer Dr Sudath Gunasekara Mahanuwara, had a post in Lankaweb headlined “Prof. Hoole is not a fool. HE is a tool. How did the Constitutional Council Appointed a Nigerian Citizen as a member of the Sri Lanka Election Commission?”

I was on a work permit in Nigeria. The accuracy of these articles and the level of English testify to the quality of the authors and publishers. It is noteworthy that these untrue articles originate from sources that have the same political leaning. There was desperation at the time to ensure a 2/3 parliamentary victory by shutting down anyone who would stand in the way when they flout election laws.

Minister of Justice:

Mr. Ali Sabry just before the presidential elections is recorded on video saying that Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa will win and if his audience of Muslims do not vote for him, they will get a thrashing (ambaanai). The recording came to me and, as is my duty, I filed it with our complaints unit. If found guilty, Mr. Sabry stands to lose his seat and to be banned from politics for 7 years. Is it right for him to occupy the position of Minister of Justice? Even if he does not interfere, would law enforcement officials not try to shut down the complaint? Even harass me by reviving well-settled investigations to curry favour with the Minister?

Response to Police

I told the police who came for a further 3 hours of statement recording from me and my two children on 1 June that this is all politically motivated because I do not play the game of writing of all violations without naming the culprits. Why did the police in Colombo send the closed file for another inquiry when Jaffna police had closed the matter? When the Commission had closed its inquiry? What right have cheats to impunity through anonymity? I mentioned that Mr. Sabry and Mr. Alles stand to lose their seats in Parliament if the complaints against them I have passed on to the Commission are found to be true. 

As for violating curfew, I ensured to travel outside curfew hours. Government itself had said officials on duty may travel during curfew. And like with a driver driving without a licence, action could have been taken while I was violating curfew but not after I had gone home saying “I heard you went out in curfew hours.” In any event, there was no valid curfew that was gazetted as required in law. We have no competence in government.

Taking an appointment at the Election Commission is a very dangerous job. How the Commission regards upholding the law is seen in applicants for new party registration giving as proof of their political experience posters that do not have the publisher’s name, a punishable offence!

The police said the inquiry is based on the Divaina article Since when do the police act on newspaper articles without a formal complaint? If that is practice, let them investigate all my complaints here. We need to re-invent our institutions.

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Latest comments

  • 24
    2

    A totally useless government.

    But there is nothing ethnic or racial about this. Government treats everyone who does not venerate the Rajapaksas same irrespective of ethnicity.

    • 21
      34

      Dear Daughter of Prof. Hoole,

      You the youth are the future of this country/nation. Never be like submissive to the manner our generations had been.

      Reveal lot more about the injustices being faced by own folks to their own people. We know how bitch s sons treated your lately. We know how they treated, the daugther of murdered Lasantha Wickramatunge, the editor of Sunday Leader Paper. We know how they treat other young girls in this country today, now they dont care much about anything, since they ve gotten 2/3 mandate in parliament. Just imagine the heart felt the story of a mother whose child was raped by a rich man in the area, but impunity let him be free – no doubt, he should be a big backlicker of Rajaapkshes.

      Now I am afraid, the VIDEO is no longer in Internet. Last night, it was available. That is how Rajapakhe wonder leadership covers the HIGH criminals. – We must work harder against the current leadership.

      • 4
        6

        Mr. leela ge …..,
        .
        Do not drag me in to your mating rituals.

        • 3
          0

          Mlechcha Pasqual,
          You should be a Xenophile. Why should I bother with an ultra stupid person who does not seem to know the basics. He is good for back likcing charactor for Rajapakshes.

    • 13
      22

      They buy any govt leader by offering them perks or whatever those biased men would dream of. That was the case with Dr Anil Jasinghe. I have no doubt that he was instrumental, subjective statistics based on COVID cases be doctored so that the picture would have been seen as they managed the crisis as no other countries. But the truth is if Thaiwan controlled it as an island nation, why cant srilanka.
      :
      That Pasqual the kind of ILK are overwelmingly made submissive for the surivival of Rajaakshe mantra … and pass the message to the anyone in the country. Entire world know what truths are in it. I have no doubt, current situation based on untruths and lies would not remain forever. COVID was mainatained also by many other countries that are seen even poorer, becasue it is related with multiple factors

      • 4
        4

        Mr. leela ge …..,
        .
        Do not drag me in to your mating rituals.

    • 6
      4

      What a sordid disgusting factual article penned beautifully by a wounded loyal law-abiding son of Lanka.
      #
      If I was in his boots, I will pack my bags, take my family and pets and just get out of this beggars hellhole.
      #
      This is what I did when the police and on the instigation of a bribe-taking woman craving pillar of the Anglican Church DIG of the notorious on the wild rampaging police was attempting to do to get into a lady’s pants.
      #
      I paid off all my beloved Sinhalese staff took a flight to Singapore from where my then Sinhala wife and then 3-year-old daughter began a new productive life in New Zealand.
      It soon became NZ’s gain and sad sorry shitty Lanka’s loss.?
      #
      I have a query to ask the readers to this formidable webpage.?
      #
      What will happen if all the members of the minority races migrate to the Arab, Asian especially Tamil Nadu Australia and other nations?
      #
      who will work, who will pick pluck the produce from the different estates?
      #
      Most of the Yakko’s as proven by history are a lazy bunch of human beasts who thrive on wine, women and song.
      They while away their life by indulging in many a game of booruwa and selling their young offsprings to the old white uncles who haunt freely productively with their dollars.

      • 1
        5

        rj1952,
        “What will happen if all the members of the minority races migrate to the Arab, Asian especially Tamil Nadu Australia and other nations?
        #
        who will work, who will pick pluck the produce from the different estates?”

        If members of the minority races migrate to the Arab, Asian especially Tamil Nadu Australia and other nations that is the best thing that can happen to Sinhale. No more headache.

        • 2
          0

          Eager less punakku eating puntak –
          #
          If all the minority groups decide to row away from the shores of the beggar’s colony there will be immediate Kotaa Uda of the cursed island.
          #
          The yaks demand that we learn to read write in the Yakko’s lingo spoken only in one pariah nation and they are not conversant in their own so-called thrash.
          #
          If one visits the markets in Colombo the mudalali’s converse with you in fluent pure Tamil all because of serving their Dravidian -VIP customers.
          #
          We have many a nation to park ourselves but you SOB’s have nowhere to go to.
          #
          The Andaman Islands and Orissa from where your forefathers were thrown out in chains for their sordid crimes do not want to even know you and the likes of petty bigots.
          #
          In your arsehole being born as a Burgher/Muslim/Tamil, we are illtreated worse than lepers

  • 10
    18

    This is just terrible. Let me start by saying that I have, gradually, over the last five years got to know Professor RatnaJeevan Hoole and his family, and they just don’t deserve to be treated so.
    .
    Never mind what they deserve, if we go on treating people like this there will be nobody willing to do any independent thinking.
    .
    There is deliberate misrepresentation about this family, and also a good deal of ignorance. See what I had to tell S. C. Pasqual just two days ago.
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/what-ails-the-sri-lankan-voter/comment-page-1/#comments
    .
    I have known Dr RatnaRajan Hoole for more than fifty-five years, (class-mates) and that is how I have now got to know the brother and his family pretty well. I will say more tomorrow when all the prejudiced comments have got displayed.

    • 2
      7

      Mr Panini Edirisinghe,
      .
      I am not worried about wailing/whining of a person on his way out.
      .
      He has to face consequences of his actions.

      • 3
        0

        He knows he’s on his way out; by November. Parliament can throw him out even before that.
        .
        Upto four days ago, you were confusing him with his brother:
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/what-ails-the-sri-lankan-voter/comment-page-1/#comments
        .
        I have an important comment to make there, about how our voters spoil even the averagely good man who takes to politics is seduced by his voters into becoming a crook.
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/what-ails-the-sri-lankan-voter/comment-page-1/#comments
        .
        Jeevan had to inspect the Elections Offices in Badulla and Nuwara-Eliya on Sunday, the 2nd of August. Bandarawela was mid-way, but none of them (the Sergeant who was his Police Escort, nor his driver – both Sinhalese – knew the roads here. I’m sure that he could have put themselves up in the best hotels in town (well, I don’t know about his wife, Dushanthi), but I’m sure that a lot of government money was saved by my putting them up in my little house.
        .
        tbc

        • 0
          0

          Better say a bit more now – to get rid of bold.
          .
          How that second trip I accompanied the family up to the Horton Plains. Jeevan was in Dudley Sirisena’s all-white Araliya Hotel in Nuwara-Eliya.
          .
          Ah, you’ll be wanting to nit-pick, Pasqual. For transport up here I was asked to help hire a van here. They paid, of course.
          .
          The kids (the son is all of 6ft 2 inches – how they grew so much on strict vegetarian diet is “strange” – what Pasqual will say) did the entire walk. I had a pretty long chat with Dushanthi.
          .
          Oh, that photograph is misleading – Elinili is not white. Fairer than Jeevan, obviously, but really strange the “whiteness in the photograph.
          .
          tbc

      • 0
        0

        PART TWO

        Why did he do it? He could sleep peacefully without needing to look for enemies under his bed.
        .
        On Sunday, going down to Badulla, I was able to show him the home of the one-time Elections Commissioner, Dayananda Dissanayake, at Oodoowere (yes, that’s how the estate there still spells its name), and the site of the house of his colleague, Nalin Abeysekere, in Badulla.
        .
        More to say, tomorrow – about a return visit of Mrs Hoole and children ten days ago.

        • 0
          0

          Miscalculated, where to place the comment to get the bold out: so there!
          .
          Anyway, this is the truth about how this family gets about – the son slept on the floor since the other bed was in an outer room.

      • 0
        0

        “Facing the consequences of one’s actions” is fine, but there must be objectivity by all concerned.
        .
        This, too, was an accident – that is not contested by anybody. In my view, all those concerned acted morally and responsibly. Can this ever happen in a Sri Lankan context?
        .
        Please watch this 4-minute video (in English), and make up your own minds. It is not at all stressful, but on a very different subject.
        .

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8a0PFleKm4
        .
        It is interesting!
        .
        .

        .

  • 20
    2

    Dear Prof. Hoole,

    I am very sorry to read that harassment continues. This is ugly. Thank you for standing up to the bullies and for continuing to write. What would the Election Committee be without you. I hope your family and friends are around you to provide the emotional support you need.

  • 2
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

    For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 10
    1

    Dear Prof. You are a member of a very powerful triumvirate which is no less than the Elections Commission. If this is what you have to put up with what about Tom, Dick or Harry or in the vernacular Siripala, Sirisena or Simple Singos of God forsaken Mother Lanka??

  • 13
    1

    The more I read this writer’s articles the more I feel that he should be working in a developed country where ethics, the law and rules of operation are generally the norm rather than the exception. I am certain he would often be assailed by bursts of “cognitive dissonance” where the patient will become clinically depressed and run down unless some change occurs in his or her life. I am sure that being an intellectual par excellence he would be cognizant of the dangers he is exposed to, in not just trying to swim against a tide of low social values but of a society steeped in crass hypocrisy and jealousy. The other option is for him to retire and tend to a home garden and enjoy the love of grandchildren in his ancestral land.

  • 4
    0

    If everybody under pressure retires and does a” home garden” who will have the guts to face not only the government but those associated with the government for personal reasons/gains. It appears that those who pretend to support the government like to claim that they are mightier than the government and miss lead the government.

  • 10
    2

    Professor Hoole
    I salute you. I think you should get out of the country ASAP.
    Your life should not be like that Lasantha

  • 4
    0

    As is already evident, Ali Sabry is playing the role of Justice Minister according to the script written by the Rajapaksa Mafia. That means he’s their ENFORCER. The “Ambaanai” just before the presidential elections was an offer he made to the Muslims that they couldn’t refuse.
    .
    Interestingly in Godfather, Don Corleone also has this to say about politicians:
    “I don’t trust society to protect us, I have no intention of placing my fate in the hands of men whose only qualification is that they managed to con a block of people to vote for them.”

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