5 December, 2020

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On Gota’s Comment – ‘Using The Judiciary To Destabilise Sri Lanka’

By Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena –

Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena

This week, newspaper reports quoted Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary and President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s brother accusing foreign elements of ‘using the judiciary to destabilise Sri Lanka’. This is a classic instance of doublespeak. It is abundantly clear that, rather than so-called foreign interests, it is the Government itself which is destabilising the country.

Its sheer brute force in ramming an arbitrary impeachment of Sri Lanka’s Chief Justice through Parliament against the express injunctions of judges and lawyers, professional bodies and religious leader across all major faiths speaks for itself. Are all these individuals and bodies supposed to be part of this convenient foreign conspiracy? Have we not played these childish games long enough?

Rule of Law replaced by Rule of Politics

These games are symptomatic not of benevolent authoritarianism but a ruthless quasi-dictatorship which acts contrary to the greater good of the country, contrary to the Rule of Law and contrary to the interests of the Sri Lankan people. The genial mask has now been stripped away to expose an insatiable thirst for power that would sacrifice all before it.

As much as a worthless gift may be wrapped in appealingly bright paper, the gilt only hides the rotten core of a regime which has abandoned the Rule of Law for the Rule of Politics.

Doubtless (barring a miracle in this season of miracles) this impeachment will go ahead. President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s rejection of a sensible compromise to prorogue Parliament thereby allowing the impeachment to lapse, as suggested by the leftist parties of his coalition, was unsurprising.

If Sri Lanka had been put first, over and above the arrogance of its political rulers, this compromise would have been the best solution. But the fury of the administration in being challenged by a Chief Justice that it once thought was fully amenable to its own will, sweeps all before it. Its leftist partners are only likely to grumble at being thus ignored, much like the uncaringly sheep-like members of the ruling party who will follow their leader blindfolded over a cliff if that is so demanded. The only concession to emerge from the regime is a ludicrous proposal that even though this impeachment will go ahead, a better procedure may be laid down for subsequent cases.

Justifying the unjustifiable

Government propagandists meanwhile furiously work overtime to justify the clearly unjustifiable. For example, the allegation of conflict of interest on the part of the Chief Justice in hearing particular matters has been loudly trumpeted. On her own part, the Chief Justice has publicly stated that no specific objection was raised to her hearing any case by any party or their lawyers. These matters will not be discussed further given that they are presently before the Court of Appeal. However some general reflections may well be appropriate at this point.

Earlier, tradition and good sense dictated that when a party to an action objected to a judge hearing a case, that judge was obliged to recuse himself or herself from the matter. In fact, even in the absence of an objection being raised, a judge is supposed to abstain from sitting on the matter in the first instance if a conflict of interest is apparent to his or her mind. This was the old tradition of the Sri Lankan judiciary.

But significant departure from this principle was evidenced not in the current Chief Justice’s time but during the Sarath Silva Court when objections arising from express conflict of interest were summarily dismissed as a matter of course throughout that ten year period.

Among the plethora of such cases is the Tony Fernando case where in defiance of all norms of propriety, Fernando’s petition citing the Chief Justice as a respondent was heard before a Bench presided over by the Chief Justice himself who dismissed all objections to his hearing the case without further ado. Fernando himself, a lay litigant and middle aged teacher of English, was then sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for contempt of court. As may be recalled, the United Nations Human Rights Committee quoted this case as an excellent example of judicial abuse of power when a plea by Fernando was brought before the Committee.

Those who protest now at the incumbent Chief Justice’s alleged conflict of interest may well be asked as to where their outrage was when far more serious conflicts of interest were evidenced in far greater measure during that period, when the rot actually set in so as to speak? Are these matters that become relevant only when a Government is determined to crucify a Chief Justice? In any event and given the specific allegation leveled against the incumbent Chief Justice to which a full answer has been forthcoming from her, is this really an impeachable offence?

A range of weapons being used by the government

Another canard being floated by propagandists is that the Chief Justice is manipulating the benches of the appellate court in regard to matters connected to the impeachment.

On the contrary, it must be said that the Chief Justice has no authority whatsoever in the listing of judges to hear particular matters in the Court of Appeal. This is exclusively the prerogative of the President of the Court of Appeal. It is therefore absurd to contend that the Chief Justice is somehow capable of influencing the judicial response to the writ petition filed by her. What other recourse does she have, when subjected to a parliamentary process devoid of natural justice? The Court of Appeal’s initial response to this petition was, in fact, carefully guarded and entirely proper. It is hard to imagine as to what other order could have been handed down in the circumstances.

But to return to the larger issue of the quasi-dictatorship that we are inflicted with, it is simplistic to point to a newspaper on any given day and contend that the prevalence of opposing views indicates that democracy is yet present. Contrary views would be tolerated so long as they are marginalized and do not pose any real threat to the regime’s political stability.

Mere irritants would be dealt with through persistently crude and vulgar attacks which we see now while a range of weapons including targeted killings may be applied against more serious threats. The cacophony of hysterical voices using the state media to damn all those who advise a calmer rethink of the impeachment process amply bear this out.

A Government devoid of respect for the law

Now more than ever, public opinion is needed to support a braver and stronger institution of the judiciary that would grapple with the terrible challenges of the present as well as the profound failures of the past. What is at stake is not the fate of a single Chief Justice but the judicial institution itself. Some may argue quite justifiably that, in the past decade, the very concept of the independence of the judiciary has become worthless in this country. True, the integrity of the judicial branch may have become tarnished as a result of actions of former Chief Justices, as dwelt on in past columns. Further, the legal process itself may be deeply flawed in terms of its archaic rules, laws delays and general insensitivity to the litigant.

However, these entirely valid points of critique cannot be stretched so as to say that Sri Lanka’s judicial institution itself is not worth fighting for. Spruced up cities, the profusion of luxury hotels and gleaming new roads snaking throughout the country cannot disguise the fact that this is a Government devoid of any respect for law. Strategic wisdom is needed therefore for the long struggles ahead.

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Latest comments

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    Unfortunately what is written and argument that take place in this web site are not reaching the general public who do not understand English.The message is not reaching the ordinary masses in the village where despots vote bank remains.They are the people who are fooled by the regime and they do not understand what is meant by independence of judiciary or impeachment process of CJ.Unless theses people are educated with the wrong doing of this family regime it sustains its majority to govern this country.This is the bottom line.

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    Thank you for that analysis of the rotten behaviour of a rotten and corrupt government without equal in the annals of Sri Lankan history.
    Why doesn’t that dolt, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa,stick to what he does best: act violently and abusively and without any reference to anything decent?

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    Kishali I totally disagree with you. It obvious that our beloved defense secretary is fighting a battle against an array of forces that our hell bent on destabilizing and destroying Sri Lanka. It well know, among those in the know, that it is the favorite pastime of an international evil organization, to hatch plots against Sri Lanka. The tentacles of this evil organization manifests itself in the form INGOs, in the dark corridors of international power brokers, schemers rub their hands in glee as they orchestrate the final takeover of Sri Lanka. Leading a spirited defense of the resplendent isle is the Defense Secretary. Who upon vanquishing these evil forces will set the stage for blissful and harmonious existence. So, all we have to do is be patient. See?

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      ARE SITTING ON YOUR BRAIN?
      HOOOO;

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        JULAAMPITYE AMARAYA says:

        “ARE SITTING ON YOUR BRAIN?”

        The correct form of insult is “Are you sitting on your brain”?

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          SOME TIME ERRORS HAPPENS.
          THANKS FOR YOUR CORRECTION.
          WHAT ABOUT A O/L EDUCATED VILLAGE PERSON LIKE ME WRITING TO A GRATE FORUM LIKE THIS.

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    Self claimed mover and shaker in Australian Mining, opnely admitted sending money to the SIL to buy a Holiday Pad at the Trillium,

    He perhaps didn’t trust the builder Celinco,to pay the money direct in to their account.

    On the other hand the SIL has taken charge of all litigations against Celinco and also has negotiated a special price for the BIL.

    Forget about the charge sheet with 14 items.

    Does one need a LLB to smell a rat in this transaction?.

    Perhaps if the CJ is on “their team” it is all hunkydory.

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      Sumansekara:

      When there is a prominent Lawyer in their family, they would send money to the real estate agent, instead of sending it to the lawyer relative.

      Why we should not believe that what you are saying is just ludicrous ?

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      You are the worst kind of idiot that ever graced the face of this plannet. Would you trust any one more than your own? We have all lived out side the country at some point in time and , our affairs were attended to , by a family member who had our power of attorney.
      Remitting money is a crime? Stupidity has to have its limits . It is more appropriate to know who negotiated the deal. But you , you trust Kotalawela and Karunanayakes more than your own? This shows the kind of family you are from? All suckers and thieves?

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      YOUR STUPIDITY IS COMING FROM HEREDITY.
      SO THERE IS NO CURE FOR THAT,
      WE FEEL VERY SORRY FOR THAT.
      WE ALL PRAY THAT, MAY BE YOUR NEXT LIFE, YOU WILL RECOVER FROM YOUR STUPIDITY..

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    “Defence Secretary and President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s brother accusing foreign elements of ‘using the judiciary to destabilise Sri Lanka’. “

    Foreign elements are “using the rainy season” to destabilise Sri Lanka.

    Foreign elements are “using the mosquitoes” to destabilise Sri Lanka.

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    The title should aptly read “Silencing the Judiciary to Stabilize Rajapakse”. This sums up the impeachment motion.

    The trend of equating Sri Lanka to mean the Rajapakse Empire should be stopped. The Rajapakse way of governance is not in the interest of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka will exist and develop without Rajapakse. But the Rajapakse empire cannot grow without Sri Lanka.

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    This is called the devil is speaking, GOTHA is a devil incarnation , there must be first rule of law, when the Devil & family does not respect the law & doing anything & everything against the HUMAN LAW what else can you expect in a banana republic, power greed is the only word that will fit the Devil & family. Do good when you have the oppertunity, your family is not going to live for ever, the synthatic Lawyer will be the one to get the shit from the people.

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    Gota talking Regime Change…Three years after war ended ….and without solving any Tamil minority political issues, although advised by many international community to implement LLRC as a solution, but without implementing any of them…….now GOTA talking about Regime Change…..

    Also again Gota has started to abduct students, harassing people, sudden imprisonments etc…etc..

    This is nothing but……Re born of STATE TERRORISM……trying to introduce again gun and fear culture among citizen.

    This may also be a pre-empt to impeach CJ and take over Supreme Court under Gota……

    If MARA, GOTA combination plans to kick out CJ and install a puppet CJ and take Supreme Court under their control, what we Citizens, opposition parties, Bar association and the Justice loving Clergy and trade unions plan to do?……….

    Come January 10th 2013 Parliament will go ahead with CJ impeachment debate with or without opposition parties present…….and could deliver the verdict without the opposition similar to the PSC verdict.

    If the Govt.Parliament Impeach CJ …….what is opposition parties, Supreme court, Bar association, Buddhist Preletes and other religion clergy, trade unions and we citizen plan to do…..Have any opposition political partiess plan to address masses on this issue in advance……if so when.

    We have to prepare to safeguard CJ, the Judiciary and the Supreme
    Court for our safety and for our freedom and rights…..and if we fail definitely MARA-GOTA Tyranny Dictatorship will abuse all of us citizen who oppose their Dictatorial Regime.

    Therefore I request all tha opposition parties to come up with Plan A..B..and C to Safeguard Judiciary and inform Masses in advance as to how we could contribute to safeguard our rights.

    This is Very Important.

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      There is no proper opposition. It is very clear that RW is supporting the impeachment. It is only JVP, TNA and Mr. Kiriella who speaks against.

      Choose a date and everybody should stay at home from that day. Somebody had suggested so. It is a good idea.

      Leela

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        Leela,

        I feel sorry for you due to many times try to correct you….but fail miserably.

        It is the dream of both MR and you to think that there’s no proper oppositiona and MR trying to destablise them with bribes, threats, and white van abductions……but many times he failed.

        But now with this CJ impeachment he got his head into the shit pot.
        Come first week of 2013, you will see how the opposition performs.

        It’s not only opposition…but a collective of a whole lot.

        Yes, the days of curfew that MR imposed are long gone…. Now the roads are carpetted and long marches…..Colombo- Galle…. ..Kandy-Colombo….Jaffna-Colombo….Trinco-Colombo etc. …are due resume again.

        Wait for surprises.

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      Perhaps it is better to appoint GOTA instead of MR.

      Need of the hour is a leader that can bring disipline to the lost nation. We were a nation that respected others, produced world leading figures, but today, majority of the folks have become ones that are not serious with RESPECTful and dignified life.

      Whereever you go – it seems there is no RULE OF LAW. Perhaps, ones like me who just visited the country for few days – feel like this. Still I have experienced all the values better two three decades ago. Cost of living and the struggle for the survival may have changed the attitudes of the common man. But SL is not the only country that have got price hikes compared to other countries. Even if statiticians would say that distintive progress have been made in several areas like telecommunication and road construction sectors, many others school education remained as had been earlier.

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    Reg Sumansekera’s comment evidently accepting the fact that CJ is actually guilty ,I wonder whether he understands the underline fact that whole procedure of impeachment the CJ and the reasons behind is contesting the power of judiciary and efforts to take over the law in the hand of politicians .What Sri Lankan should do is not support the procedure which is biased rather than whitewashing her .She is NOT GUILTY until proven and Goverment has failed to prove .
    Reg her BIL I knew him personally in Russia who used to do business under communist regime ( whis was legal world wide but illegal in Russia before peristroika ) and made money and he may have lead her sister in law into this mess for greed of saving some cents
    He is talking humbug about his qualifications and positions in his claim but he shall try to raise international awareness against injustice to be done not to her sister in law but to the entire sri lankan legal system
    He can expose some goverment politicians who have been benefitted
    form Thrillium owners in Australia ( i.e having land and properties purchased on theri relative’s names ) and prove that corruption among sri lankan politicians is rampant
    sam the man

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    I agree with Jayantha that what appears in this website is only for the English educated.It is not mainly due to the fact that average people are uninformed ,hence injustices are tolerated but it is the strong belief in KARMA which reconcile people to their fate.Imagine what is happening at the moment in India to happen here.People will say it is her bad karma which led to her death.

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      People of this country were totally differnt by their thoughts and minds then. But today, they bend to the rulers becuase they have no other choice. State media is trying to cover almost everything from them. The poor as you said – are not English educated to get all these that are being published on CT or any other streams.

      Majority of indians are illiterate and cant get actual news. Ours are a folk that have over 90% literary rate. Nevertheless tend to be easily manipulative. This has been shown to the analysts since 2005.

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    Amarasekara

    The wrong thing that “Self claimed mover and shaker in Australian Mining”,did was not sending their money to your personal account to purchase a Trillion property.You missed a trillion chance. May be next time.

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    FOREIGN ELEMENTS ARE USING JUDICIARY TO DESTABILIZE RAJAPAKAYAS AND THEIR GOONS.

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    Jayantha. you speak sense. While hoping for the best we must expect the worst and prepare for the worst. Only people’s power can halt the march to dictatorship. Opposition politicians, professionals, academics, university students, trade union activists, human rights activists and religious leaders should make a collective effort to inform, enlighten and organize the masses and lead them in a non-violent struggle to overthrow this family rule. They should convince the people that the politicians posing as patriots are really bandits plundering the resources belonging to the people. Prompt action also should be taken to prosecute the sycophants abusing the state media to vilify the Chief Justice and others fighting for justice.

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    SIL/BIL business and a 1.6m profit.But did BIL kbow that SIL made profit or she kept it undisclosed untill now?
    If so, then it turn out to be a retainer fee.

    What happened to CJ was that the Rajas got the wind of it and CJ failed to give their share. Serve you right.

    Not bad a part time job of the CJ.
    Do we need a business minded CJ ?

    Bedrock……….. Barney…. the Rajas need to create some uphealvel for the INGOs to make some money.
    Wonder whether Kishali has got a tatoo of AHRC.

    Easy way to sing for yours supper. Thank the Rajas.

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      HELLO DICK;
      IF I CAN GET A BLOODY AXX LICKING DOG FROM SWITZERLAND,AND PAY FOR PASSAGE WITH SO CALLED MY OWN MONEY.[YES MY OWN MONEY].BECAUSE I DONT EAT FROM PEOPLE’S MONEY.]

      WHAT THE HELL THAT C J AND HER RELATIVE CAN’T PURCHASE A HOUSE OR A PALACE FROM THEIR OWN HARD-EARNED MONEY WITH HUGE DISCOUNT,
      IT IS NOT STOLEN TSUNAMI FUND OR ROBBED DIVINAESUMA PUBLIC FUND. TO SPEND ON CAR RACES.

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    Speaking about BILs and SILs, Dickey Bird, how did Lokka’s BIL come into possession of foreign exchange running into millions of rupees? Did you find out how Modawansa found funds to build a palatial residence? There are numerous questions like these that remain unanswered. But you are seeking answers to questions which have already been answered! If you have developed a taste for the crumbs falling from the table. Carry on stooging regardless!

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    kishali you got a award fromeditors guild for what… president sundara mel is in public fermonce board jatila wellaboda take a laptop from fresident its a shame that you got a award from this puppets

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    MR being an executive President has enough power and capacity to develop this country, eliminate corruption, streamline discipline.

    Despite Having few strong brothers unfortunately he is becoming another Premedasa, dictator today due to fear of other powers such as judiciary or such personnel panicking them he hits before they hits (exactly what Premadasa did) and blame as foreign elements etc. (bull shits)
    (Natanna beri minihata polawa edai kiwalu)Who cannot dance said floor is un-even.

    For me These three giants Mahinda, Gotabaya and Basil cannot run this tiny island smartly, which shows their inefficiency, corruption and bankruptcy. SHAME !

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    My dear Kishali,
    Please give a wide berth to white vans or men in unmarked motor cycles.
    This is good advice, please heed, we do not want you suffer the same fate as Lasantha or M/s Janz.

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    The Sinhala anti government forces are active again. CJ is doomed and will never be able to maintain her status after allegations proved or not. Why are the Sinhala Pundits and anti government diaspora trying to undermine this government that liberated the country from the terrorists. Isn’t it true that the anti government forces were prepared to handover one third of the country to the Tigers on a platter in the name of peace? What’s so big about CJ ? What are the so called morals and ethics and perceived injustice these pundits are talking about now? Where were these traitors when the Tigers and the JVP were killing civilians and executing them after their Kangaroo Court Hearings? Why all these fuss now about CJ. If the Legislature and the President do not want her, it’s time for her to go. Who is this CJ after all? When Mahinda appointed her as CJ all these anti Government Forces were against her appointment. The UNP even wanted her to be reported to the Bribary Commissioner. Now why the turn around ? Even the Tamil Diaspora have joined these pundits for all these forces have their own axes to grind. The traitors do not mind giving half the country to the separatists but they are very concerned about the ethics and procedures relating to impeachment. As Prabakaran once said the Singhalese have very short memories. Sudu Akka

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      Sudu Akka:

      “The Sinhala anti government forces are active again. “

      Sinhala/Buddhist deserve it brought it on to themselves.

      “Why are the Sinhala Pundits and anti government diaspora trying to undermine this government that liberated the country from the terrorists.”

      I beg to differ. It was the Hindian’s active participation which eliminated the terrorists. The International Community facilitated the down fall of VP and LTTE.

      “Isn’t it true that the anti government forces were prepared to handover one third of the country to the Tigers on a platter in the name of peace? “

      Are you complaining that one third too little a piece? Even if it is true, I didn’t see any large enough platters to serve one third of the country during the negotiations.

      By the way I would like to remind you that the country once belonged to my ancestors. Now it belongs to clan. It seems without the platters you have given it to them in exchange for for nothing. Don’t you think it is not a very good deal.

      Moral:

      Concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character.

      Ethics:

      Moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behavior.
      The moral correctness of specified conduct.

      Please use those definitions to find out the deviations of the ruling clan.

      “Why all these fuss now about CJ. If the Legislature and the President do not want her”

      If she is suspected of wrong doing why didn’t the police investigate the alleged crimes?

      ” Even the Tamil Diaspora have joined these pundits for all these forces have their own axes to grind.”

      Is there any reason as to why the Tamil Diaspora should be prevented from being part of the protest?

      It is difficult to explain to a Sinhala/Buddhist MR supporter the difference between CJ as an institution and an individual.

      MR appointed her as the country’s CJ. Now he wants to remove her. Why did stupid MR apoint her in the first place as the CJ? Now you should be questioning MR for his judgement instead of giving him an open cheque.

      By the way are you the reincarnation of Vattukkottai Leela?

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        Most likely Sudu AKka is current day Leela.

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      None of the charges against CJ have been proved. And will not be able to prove by any lawyers. Entire world inclu anti govt supporters know that CJ impeachment was a just because that MR regime could not make a puppet as it was the case with former CJ Silva. The nation – that respect rule of law and dignity of life should commend current CJ and support her further. This illegal impeachment will surely be the end of this BRUTAL regime

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    Dear author Kishali
    Sri Lanka is the oldest democratic country in this region and every year some form of elections are held unlike in 80s when no parlimentary election held for over a decade and elections held after wrongly impeaching the opposition leader and extending the whole lot of parlimentary seets for 6 years with only one cheated type referendum and banning political parties and stonning SC Judges homes.

    Therefore there is no quection of dictatorship now in Sri Lanka as the precents government runs on clear 2/3rd majority where as the 5/6 majority of the government in 80s was a fake.

    No instituion, what ever profession they may be, represents the people of our country except the parliment(legistator) and the Executive (President) and the 2 only is responsible for what is happening in the country as they only go to peoples court in every 4 – 6 or so yeras.

    There are corupted politicians as well as corupted proffessionals. CJ is a government servent (proffessional) who should behave herself or othervise some form of correction should be there on people’s side.

    Please do not think that village people vote for this government do not understand this truth.

    Please get digest all your hatredly written stuff yourself with your
    supporters who are in a clear minority state.

    You have no chioce but to change your self or di with in the precent status.

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      Forget about the villagers, it seems you are the one who don’t understand the reality.
      Pray tell me how did MR obtain so called 2/3 majority in parliament? Don’t bring up JR’s 5/6 bla bla ,
      We all know the history so no point bringing all that to justify current junta’s evil deeds. Who do you try to fool ?

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        Please talk on facts not on your own ideas or imagination or ruimors that has no grounds. British democracy we practice here is nothing but majority power. Please let the majority to do what they promised and let the people decide on facts at the next time without trying to provacate other violent means for your persoanal gains as we had enough.

        If you know some thing about that 2/3 or past we dont know please reveal with facts. People in this country are not fools to be misled by false media.

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        We have to talk about JR’s 5/6 in which hundereds of thousands of youth of all the etnicities were buchered as it is the alternative choice available for the people who vote for MR and his Government.

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      where on the earth are you living ?

      Just becaues he holds elections for his future, can not necessarily be that we have democrazy in SL. We had democracies that the citizens of the lanka enjoyed it – but today, it is being ruined by the MR and the thugs.

      He is not a good leader to lead the country. This the IC together with any right thinking lankens feel today.

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        MR is not a good leader for some but majority accepts MR as a good leader. Please obey him for some time and try to form someone else to beat him democratically.

      • 0
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        Please mention the specific period people enjoyed the democracy than this.

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