18 September, 2020

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On Gotabaya’s Lecture At The Kotelawala Defence University

By Thrishantha Nanayakkara

Dr. Thrishantha Nanayakkara

As a citizen of Sri Lanka, naturally I was keen to know what the country’s secretary of defense thinks about the current security situation and the military history of Sri Lanka. Therefore, I went through his “lecture”  under the National Interest Module of the inaugural MPhil/PhD Programme of the Kotelawala Defense University. Usually, any “lecture” is followed by a question and answer session unlike “speeches”, especially in an academic institute. I am sure the secretary of defense allowed this tradition to happen in the free country, and the academics at the Kotelawala Defense University felt free to have a fruitful academic debate/discussion. However, I couldn’t see details of such a Q&A session in the link on defence.lk. Therefore, I thought of posing some of my thoughts as a citizen, not as an academic or any kind of defense expert, for the reflection of the distinguished academics involved in the above MPhil/PhD programme and the secretary defense himself.

Nature of state reaction to public descent and National security: First, the secretary of defense gives an indication of how the need for a military was first felt in 1960s – “The military was largely ceremonial. It only had to assist the Government on occasions when there were issues such as public sector work stoppages or riots”. I got confused here. Did he mean military was needed in occasions of public sector work stoppages, or did he mean the need of a well trained and disciplined police was felt to manage public sector work stoppages or riots? If he meant the former, he inadvertently missed one reason as to why Sri Lanka witnessed three successive armed uprisings after independence. The heavy handed reactions from the state against public unrests using military force than through a disciplined police to enforce rule of law, has been widely felt as a reason behind militancy and radicalization of descent.  I pose this as a topic for further investigation by the distinguished academics in the new MPhil/PhD Programme. The distinguished academics may also refer to historical evidence of how terrorizing the public by the state leads to vulnerability of the state itself in Capt. L. De Bussche’s (late acting deputy adjutant General of Ceylon) book titled “Letters on Ceylon-particularly relative to the Kingdom of Kandy”, J.J. Stockdale, No. 41, 1817. I quote from pages 12-14 where he highlights how the political situation ripened to launch an invasion on Kandy: “The necessity of these preparations became more pressing, from the increasing disaffection of his own subjects, alienated by his oppression, and looking towards us as their only source of relief….amongst many and flagrant instances of cruelty and injustice which this monster was daily guilty of, I will only mention three of the most prominent. ………the wife of Eheylepola, and his four children were butchered in the presence of the King, with every refinement of cool-blooded cruelty. The infants were decapacitated in the presence of their agonized mother, who was then forced to pound their bleeding heads in a mortar. After this, her own throat was cut, and the body, with the remains of her children, cast into lower tank of Kandy…”. He then mentions how the civil society was horrified by these brutal acts and sought refuge in the British rule. Therefore, I hope the distinguished academics at the Kotalawala Defense University will deeply investigate the role of these recurrent incidents of state brutality on its own citizens in the long term deterioration of National security.

International cooperation/isolation and National security: The secretary of defense also mentioned that broad military links with international counterparts in the early stages of independence in Sri Lanka made the country safe to an extent that the need for an expanded military was not needed – “In the first several years after the achievement of Independence, National Security did not need to be a primary concern of the Government of Ceylon. As an independent Dominion of Great Britain, and as a non-aligned nation with excellent relationships within and outside the region, there were few pressing threats that the Government had to deal with”. Later, he mentions how Britain, India, and Pakistan gave military aid to counter the JVP insurgency in 1970s. This tradition of military cooperation is still present in blocks like the NATO that gives some enhanced sense of security to those cooperating countries that their own military capability cannot accomplish.  The repercussions of gradual loss of the non-aligned spirit and isolation of the country from the rest of the World that the secretary defense himself later highlights, deserves to be addressed properly before understanding how the LTTE could grow internationally. He somehow skipped to mention that it is the same international community that helped Sri Lanka by banning LTTE as a foreign terrorist organization. Therefore, the holistic nature of National security that transcends domestic military capability alone maybe another topic for investigation in the new  MPhil/PhD Programme.

Private militia, underworld, and National security: At some point he mentions – “Today, Sri Lanka is a country enjoying the full benefits of peace”. In this context, I encourage the distinguished academics in the new MPhil/PhD Programme to study the role and co-existence of private militia, underworld, and the state, with particular reference to how non-state thugs were freely mingling with the police and the special task force during public protests to release Sarath Fonseka and to oppose the unconstitutional impeachment of the chief justice, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake. Since Colombo has a network of security cameras, that has been so useful in many occasions of public security, you may gather hard evidence to study this research area to assess the quality of the “benefits of peace” the secretary of defense is referring to.

Social media and National security: Then, he goes onto pour out his paranoia against social media – “The final threat to Sri Lanka’s National Security that I will highlight during this lecture is the emergence of technology driven new media including social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and other websites on the Internet. We have seen the potential of this new media to destabilise nations and affect serious change in the case of countries like Tunisia, Libya, Egypt etc.” This is the kind of bold statements an academic institute should welcome, because in many free environments, this statement would be highly debatable. I am sure there were several people in the audience who believed that the dictators in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt did not have a stability to be destabilized, and that Facebook and Twitter were just media of expressing that inner public frustration. Blaming social media for a bomb built by the dictators themselves would be like blaming the head for a stomachache. He then goes onto say that  “…Although the likelihood of events such as the Arab spring transpiring in Sri Lanka is minimal as a result of it being a democratic nation with an extremely popular political leadership that enjoys a very large electoral majority, this is yet another threat that needs to be monitored. Particularly due to increasing Internet penetration and computer literacy in Sri Lanka, many of our youth are familiar with social media and use it as a tool to gather information as well as propagate ideas. Those with vested interests can exploit social media to cause problems in Sri Lanka by propagating certain ideologies online and mobilising and organising people. This can be done with a minimal physical presence, and therefore forms a threat that is difficult to contain through the traditional tools of national defence”.  The secretary of defense once mentions that Sri Lanka is a “democratic nation with an extremely popular political leadership”, and then expresses fear of free public exchange of ideas! Why should an extremely popular leader in a truly democratic Nation be scared of free propagation of ideas? Did the cat jump out of the bag here? I urge the distinguished academics on the new MPhil/PhD Programme to study the role of pseudo-democracy in the deterioration of public security with a bold academic approach. In this regard, I refer the distinguished academics to a statement shown on the Roosevelt Memorial –  “they (who) seek to establish systems of Government based on the regimentation of all human beings by a handful of individual rulers…call this a new order. It is not new and it is not order.”

Finally, I wish the distinguished academics at the Kotalawala Defense University, success in their academic endeavors. Dare to go beyond narrow tunnel visions and limits shown by politicians with vested interests, often plagued with nepotism. Dare to unearth the real irritants that have lead to three bloody armed uprisings within the last 60 years. Publish your findings in journals without boarders. Contribute to all countries and communities that are continually agonized by radicalism, and armed unrests. Go beyond. You will be recognized as a respectable academic institute by the whole World. Criticality is the best service you can give to Sri Lanka and the World. Somebody called James Baldwin once said – “I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually”. But, never die a death in a cell of a politician if that is not what your country deserves.

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Latest comments

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    Please any one let every one know how these two thuggish bros survived USA, without any qualification or experience…. handsome reward is waiting…personally I know how they worked and survived…leave it to Sinhala veerayas to find…..

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      As I once read somewhere, keeping a post of Secretary of Defence is not in compliance with SRI LANKAN constitution. Lawyers or opposition have not raised anything against that yet though. So, why more talks we need to discuss about his actions. It is a post – appointed using MR^s so called wisdom.

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        Who gave this information . This is news to all .stop spreading rumors to propagate your political affiliations. Have you read the constitution at all ?????

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          Come with the paragraphs of the consitution and prove me it, if you challenge. Srilanken constituion does not contain any thing like a post OF DEFENCE SECRETARY ?

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          I am not sure, whether you may have y chromosomes, anyway, get the facts straight, then we can have a great discussion based on the validiy of the post of Secretary of Defence. We dont have the US constituiton but 78 constitution. That was once screened by one of the great political analysts and revealed the nation – a couple of years ago, we dont have such provisions for a US like secretary of defence for lanken state. To keep him busy but closely to MR, it is one of MR made posts.

          I have not been living in SL but I am well aware of the fact that I have not heard the kind of positions for the previous regimes either.

          I would kindly ask political analyst to add their inputs to this question.- This is serious issue.

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    Those of you who are in love with the White Van Goat and National Securuity should watch this movie.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enemy_of_the_State_(film)

    http://youtu.be/0aRh52pUkh8

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      Gota was an ex Colonel who ran away from the Army in the midst of North East War.What qualifications he possessed to address the budding academics at the KDA. He became the S/Defense not because of achievement inherited from the battle front nor any teaching experience in any of the defense establishment of the world such as Sandhurst,or atleast by a Defense Institute in South India. Only because of his sibling MR became the presidents of the country he was given the mantle to handle this job which popularly felt like “Gamayata Majic”. Until such time of his appointment to the S/D post, he was walking up and down in Temple Trees wearing rubber slippers.Has any of the defense Institute in the world invited this self appointed war hero as guest lecturer for any of the defense seminars.?

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        Kautiliya . Get your facts right . GR did not run away to the USA. He requested that he may be relived of his duties ,and he was granted this. He emigrated to America, but unlike this author TN, Gothabaya came back to his country to serve the people . BTW TN is a citizen of the UK how come he talks as if he is a SL citizen?

        Do not undermine the excellent work that Gothabaya has been doing . Shame on you to criticise him when you have done nothing for the country but moan and complain of Gothabaya.

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          Get your facts right Sarojini. I am not a citizen of UK. Just don’t lie risking your reputation if you have any. And I did return to Sri Lanka before Gota returned, and left due to reasons known to many. If you realy wish to do some intelligent background search before writing lies, there is a search engine called Google.

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            Thrishantha;
            you are mistaken;
            these gangs are paid to do Sxxt jobs on tax payers money for gothaya.

            they are not supposed to find any facts or truths.
            just running to get pay check like mad dogs.

            So do not worry, people knows wht is the truth. nothing but the truth.

            That is why the want a new bill called media ethic .
            MY A X X.

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            How come you are not a citizen of the UK when you are supposed to be living in [Edited out] with your wife and children ?

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              This is where you have got your facts wrong. Residence and citizenship are two totally different things. A citizen’s right to be critical of public servants of his/her country is an unalienable right irrespective of the country of residence. Being a Sri Lankan citizen and a Sri Lankan passport holder, I reserve the right to hold the public servants of the government accountable for services they are supposed to, from any other country on this planet. You can surrender those rights if you want to, but you cannot come to ask me to do the same. If you are still puzzled, please google for “what is the notion of citizenship”, and you may get enough tutorials to read. You may even find that some countries allow citizens to vote from any other country, though Sri Lanka denies that right.

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          well done.
          For this comment you will get anothr payment.
          keep up your good work for gothya.

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        GR IS THE MOST RESPECTED ARMY COMMANDER while working in the Gajaba regiment . He has not in any way shirked his responsibilities . He has risked his life many times over than the readers in CT who can only talk big. He has served in Jaffna, Mankulam . Elephant Pass at the height of the LTTE insurgency.He has been awarded gallantry awards by the then President JRJ, for bravery. ( 1985) He has also lived with his wife in Army quarters at Sinhapura, and welioya. He left the country very respectfully after requesting to his leave for relinquishing his duties once he had the green card in a lottery . This was mainly due to his dissatisfaction how CBK was conducting the war being the commander in chief.To his credit he came back to SL unlike TN to serve the country and the people. So let us hear the credentials of this big mouths who criticise him . He was working in the USA as a Systems Administrator at the Loyayla college in LA. Check this out for verification . He never worked as a petrol station Assistant. It only takes one insane person to say this and gets repeated like parrots in SL .

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          If you are blind only you make this kind of statements.

          If he has that kind of qualities, why spent that long 15 years being away from the country at the war war its highest level in SL ?

          If he is most respected commander or any decent personality, why the hell he let Duminda Silva be free today, with all the prima facie evidence to put him even life long jail – that is the crime against humanity.

          If he is most repsected personality, why the hell he supports, even openly… going to their rallies and parades – i mean to the anti social radical buddhist segments such as BBS ?

          If he is most respect personality, why is he HALF HEARTED with law and oder enfornforcement issues today in the country ?

          He could better give the highest priority to such enforcemnts than to anything else, if he AS A GENUINE person loves the NATION and country.

          No doubt, he is one of the many who supported the elimination terror within the country, but THE MANNER him mediation caused is

          almost cut the entire tree instead of focuing on the branches of it… consquence of that is before today. <————– entire world has branded US srilankens as killers. But this not fair… killers are only Rajapkshes. But world frown at us today..

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          He is reported to have a record for killing many in Matale holocaust. What more evidence you want to make a picture of GR ? My friends went missing during the late 80 insurgency.. now I realize the bugger and all his gangsters killed thousands of youth then in the country. Then again, his involvement took the lives of over 40 000 tamil people in war end. For me, he is no doubt a war criminal.

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            Apubaba Do you think GR worked with the JVP ? What exactly are you saying ?

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              Are you naive or you just behave so ?

              Answer to my questions please. I have no idea whether he works with JVP or not ? My recherche prove that the man is far from normal. He is the most dangerous man for the future of srilanka. Criminal minded by nature – perhaps DNA analysis can give us more info about his unique person :)

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      All dictators and fascists are paranoid about Social Media. And they should be.

      Gota is no exception.

      He knows Social Media when that day fianlly comes and it will, has the potential to remove the clan from Temple Trees. Naturally Gota is worried.

      He probably thinks prime responsibility of Sri Lanka’s Defence Forces is to ensure survival of the Rajapassa family clan.

      Gota like rest of the Rajapassa family now live in a bubble.

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    He has concerns about everyone but himself which is a major problem for the country and people. One man show in charge of InJustice, UnLaw and MisOrder, Thuggery, Abductions and Executions.

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    Trisantha Nanayakkara,

    Well, the facts are disgusting.

    They call it a Buddhist Country. Dharma Deepaya.

    Vass Mara Deepaya.

    Mafia and Mafiosos openly kill.


    Somebody called James Baldwin once said – “I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually”. But, never die a death in a cell of a politician if that is not what your country deserves.”

    lankaenews.com/English/news.php?id=13732

    The day previous to the killing of businessman Shyam of Bambalapitiya , the latter had been fetched in the night to the top floor of north western DIG’s office of Vaas Gunawardena at Peliyagoda. The businessman had been taken to the DIG’s office by SI Lakmini Bamunusinghe who is now in custody and the murder group. After the abduction of Shyam , Bammunusinghe had phoned Vaas via his mobile phone and told ‘ everything is alright’. This call had been recorded by the Dialog tower.

    At about 1.30 a.m. in the night Vaas Gunawardena had arrived at the venue where Shyam was brought, and scrutinized Shyam’s Bank accounts. There had been Rs. 189 lakhs in Shyam’s account at that moment. Vaas had got all those monies transferred to his account. Shyam was subsequently murdered.

    The suspects who are in custody now have revealed that Vaas gave Rs. 5 lakhs out of that money to be distributed among Bamunusinghe and his murder group. It has now been uncovered that Shyam’s monies are in Vaas’ account which has a balance of Rs. 327 lakhs , according to investigation findings.

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    Well said Gota. This is why most SLs love Gota and a few hate him.

    If the few stops hating him, the most will stop loving him!

    This is the reality in SL.

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    //Why should an extremely popular leader in a truly democratic Nation be scared of free propagation of ideas? Did the cat jump out of the bag here? // Good question !

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    Dr. Trishantha Nanayakkara:

    For me, you article looks stupid. I don’t know what kind of doctorate you have, just a physician or you have a PhD.

    In any case, social norms of the Sangha society, Military society and civilians society are not the same. So, when you have a say a PhD in the civilian society, I don’t know how you comment about the military society.

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      JimNutty:
      You say, “For me, you article looks stupid.” I am not one bit surprised because through the eyes of idiots, everything would look stupid.
      What are you trying to do here? Justify the conduct of those who pay you? Considering how onerous that task is, you should ask for an increase in your allowance, perhaps generated by bumping off another businessman after raiding his bank account!

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        Respond to my comments.

        If not, you say, you accept what I said.

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      JimSofty who robbed my name is a henchmen cohort of the ruling siblings shamelessly wagging his tail in this CT column.

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        What made you angry ?

        Learned Doctor uses his title in order to influence people and impose garbage ideas into people.

        Military does not work the same way that civilians work. Even in the civilian life I don’t think he challenged every thing that teacher said, at least until he gets the tile.

        HE is simply writing garbage articles. Probably, that is how he is earning his bread and butter or rice and curry.

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      ” military society”

      Where is it?????????????.

      In Hitler’s Germany or Pol Pot Grave yards?????.

    • 0
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      TN has a Phd and he throws his weight around due to this. The article shows that he cannot comprehend English properly.

    • 0
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      JimSofty;says,

      “For me, you article looks stupid.”

      Because you are bloody stupid moron ,
      like your looting Bosses.
      but cunning only for your gains.

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      AACHARU G O N;
      and
      Sarojini,[get paid as you say ]

      This is 21st century, and you have to learn some more from your KILLER, LOOTING bosses.
      Ask more advise from them,
      they know how to manupilate, loot, suck blood and get rid of opposition.

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      PhD is an academic achievement. That has nothing to do with article writings based on going brutalities in our motherland, if of course he or she is not an internationl PA. Apart from that you guys dare to make such statements disgracing NT´s academic achievements -should actually be ashamed of. As far as my knowledge is concerned writer is a great researcher in the areas of Eng.

      Leela cant even grasp the basics of this life. This we the CT readership is now very clear, but she had once said to have worked on a PhD.

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    It is symptomatic of the “new Sri Lanka” (aka Rajapakistan) that the launch of a doctoral program, of all things, should provide Sri Lanka’s successor to Adolf Hitler the opportunity to document the fact that any form of dissent will be “appropriately” met!
    Anti-intellectualism and violent suppression of other opinions has always been the hallmark of the most reprehensible dictators that have ever walked this earth. This is certainly no exception.
    Thanks Thrishantha for this simple expose.

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      “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

      ~ Joseph Goebbels

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        Press Dunce Bean,

        Thanks for Goebbels Quote, and well said.

        This is how lies become Myths, and then turn into Beliefs.

        Examples abound. Udayan Fire, Asath Salley Arrest, etc. etc. all parroted by the state media, by the Daily News, Daily Mirror and several Shill Web Sites, using Shills.

        Some very strategic lies are by the Church

        1. Suppress the Earth going round the Sun, as it is in conflict with the Myth-Beliefs of the Church.

        2. Promote Racist Monk Mahanama Myths of Sinhala Buddhist Island, and demonize the Tamils, the natives and the beliefs of Animistic beliefs, Hindu and Jain beliefs, and promote not just Buddhism, but Sinhala Buddhism, to maintain the Monk-King Hegemony.

        This s What the BBS-Mara regime is trying to do.

        They are trying to use the state media, Goebbels style.

        Time for change for a new just society.

        “Awadiyaw!Awadiyaw! Awadiyaw!”

        Wake Up!Wake Up!Wake Up!

        “Marayava Elavapalla!Marayava Elavapalla!Marayava Elavapalla!”

        Chase the Maras! Chase the Maras! Chase the Maras!

        “Buddu Hamuduruvo Kiyanne Ekkai!”

        The Enlightened Buddha is Saying that!

  • 0
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    Those 2 brothers was to survive in US of A by working long hours in a 7-Eleven store and a gas station attendant.

    only in this funny isle we let these morons to appointed as Minister of Economics Development and Sec of Defense etc.

    Its a shame that persons like GLP, PBJ etc have to draw line of this moronic Medamulana rogues.

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    Error – “Nature of state reaction to public descent and National security:” Correction – Nature of state reaction to public dissent and National security:

    • 0
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      Thanks

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    Amarasiri…….. According to you, it appears Vass and Late Shiyam has maintained their accounts with the same banking group at or same different Branched.
    Otherwise, according to your account, there is no way Late Shiyam could have transfered all his monies into Vass Gunawardene’s account at 1.30 a.m. in the morning ??

    Trishantha Nanayakkara, streetwise knowledge too is important for those who follow PhD and Mphil as there need to be well rounded knowledgeable academics and not just book worms.

    Trishantha, all what I observe is that you have an Axe to gring and seeking Cheap Publicity and you are using your position to get even.
    You are a dangerous person and could be categorised as a venemous snake out to gain self glory.
    Do not cheapen yourself. Just hold on to your status & MYOB.

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      It is so sad to see that time and again in these columns individuals appear with personal attacks on the messengers when they don’t like the message but cannot refute the factuality of the message.
      When will these guys mature? Learn to analyse facts?

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      Chaura NGO aka other Planted Shills,

      “Atta Thittai” Truth is Bitter, for the Liars and Maras.

      Here is the reference, Do your own research, and then look in the mirror.Facts are Facts.

      [ Edited out]
      Could you please stop posting gossip links – CT

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    Trishantha Nanayakkara…….. [Edited out]

    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/

  • 0
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    Another article from Thrishantha against Gota , you better look after your own things in UK , we will look after our things in SL

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      Are you sure ? If you guys look after lanken matters, why is that some parts of the country they dont have any functional hospitals for the poor of the poor people.
      You will get more if you could take time to listen to the links added.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8ZFfgk3X_s

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTwC_bJ3KgI

    • 0
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      Please check this also, there you would NOT deny it being that people across the country cant be liars

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XhEAWCf9bc

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      I have to repeat the same reply i gave to somebody else to you too. Residence and citizenship are two totally different things. A citizen’s right to be critical of public servants of his/her country is an unalienable right irrespective of the country of residence. Being a Sri Lankan citizen and a Sri Lankan passport holder, I reserve the right to hold the public servants of the government accountable for services they are supposed to deliver, from any other country on this planet. You can surrender those rights if you want to, but never ever come to ask me to do the same. If you are still puzzled, please google for “what is the notion of citizenship”, and you may get enough tutorials to read. You may even find that some countries allow citizens to vote from any other country, though Sri Lanka denies that right.

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        Do you pay taxes in SL . ?I do and I have a greater say than you in SL matters .

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          So, you mean richer people who pay higher tax than you should have better say as citizens? You have got the notion of citizenship upside down. The rights of a citizen do not depend on how much tax they pay, where he/she lives, gender, ethnicity, majority/minority, or any other thing. This state of mindsets of typical Government supporters is pathetic!

      • 0
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        Thrisantha

        Your main aim is to take the personal revenge from Gota , that is why you are writing so many article against him , and try to pretend that you are so much concerned about SL people,

        Gota is thousand time worth than you to SL people, therefore people live in this country will make the decision about Gota, you don’t have time to waste writing articles about what is gota doing wright or wrong

        Gota has done the best ever thing that you would expect from hero to do to peoples of SL

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    I have closely studied many of the articles published on CT and other forums specially these days – I feel I need to be very careful when travelling to my motherland this year.

    This is what I also heard from my friend and aquaintance that regularly travel to the srilanka.

    Slowly, I would not ask anyone to travel to lanka either until the situation would improve with HR. Since the UN resolution is passed this year, the situation as all these comments prove to me – are worsening.

    My request is the president of the country should open his eyes and try to stop deceiving the nation further. What people wish from him is to enforce ALREADY lost rule and law in the country.

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      Hey Srimal

      did you only read the article in CT then we can think about your knowledge about SL , don’t come to this forum with Sinhala name to convince your lies , we know what is your agenda behind this , there are over two billion people live in this country , if they have no issues to live in this country and other million of tourist visited had no issues

      you better stay where you live , we don’t won’t liars like you to visit our country

      wait until mythical tamil elam to come then you can visit that elam with out any fear

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