22 October, 2020

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Preparing For The Next ‘War’, Via Enabling Laws

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed — and thus clamorous to be led to safety — by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” H.L. Mencken (In Defence of Women).

The day before President Rajapaksa reached Buddha Gaya, with a gargantuan delegation in tow, Lankan parliament passed the Convention on the Suppression of Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Bill. Earlier in the week, a controversy arose when the opposition pointed out a critical lacuna in the Bill: it contained no definition of what constitutes ‘terrorism’ (just as the ‘Sacred Areas Act’ did not contain a definition of ‘Sacred Areas’). On Thursday the Bill was presented, complete with the definition.

Since the Convention is a UN initiative, the government could have used the definition of ‘terrorism’ contained in the original document[i]: But the Rajapaksas wanted a totally laissez faire definition, one which would provide a legal-cover for the most horrendous abuses of power. So the original definition was expanded, to make it completely tractable. In the Rajapaksa definition ‘terrorism’ is also “the use or threat of action i) which is decided to influence the government or to intimidate the public or a section of the public; and ii) which is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological purpose, and such action (aa) involves serious violence against a person; (bb) involves serious damage to property; (cc) endangers the life of another person, other than the person committing the action; (dd) creates a serious risk to health or safety of the public or a section of the public; or (ee) is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system” (The Island – 8.2.2013 – emphasis mine).

Using this definition and with the aid of a cowed-judiciary, the regime can convict any Lankan citizen of aiding and abetting terrorism. This law can be used not just against the political opponents of the regime and Tamils/Muslims; it can be used, with equal ease, against fishermen, farmers and the urban poor, environmentalists, students, trade unionists and middle-class professionals. This is not a Bill which can be abused. This is a Bill drafted for the precise purpose of abuse. With this in place, the regime does not need the PTA.

Juxtapose this new law with the 48 hour detention law and the military’s recommendation that the government should “formulate its own rules to deal with internal war situations” (Daily Mirror – 25.1.2013). That recommendation was contained in the Report of the Army Board of Officers on LLRC Recommendations. The army also rejected the LLRC suggestion to place the police under a civilian ministry: “Board recommends that the Sri Lankan Police be placed under the Ministry of Defence at all times….” (ibid). In a democracy, the military has no business interfering in matters political. But this is not a democracy; and the Army is nothing more than a Rajapaksa mouthpiece/weapon.

The demand for new, more permissive laws to deal with internal conflicts was made by President Rajapaksa himself, some time back. With the judiciary down on its knees, the time is right to bring in laws which would abolish war crimes and turn every excess – however brutal – by the Rajapaksa military into a legal and virtuous act. That law will complete the liberation of the Rajapaksas from the shackles of international conventions/laws, and enable them to abuse Lankans at will.

Imagine the confluence: a definition of terrorism which can be made applicable to any Lankan, any time; a law which extends the initial period of detention to 48 hours; a ‘Colombo Convention’ which permits the Rajapaksas to kill and maim Lankans at will under cover of fighting a terrorist threat; and a militarised police. That confluence will generalise the conditions of the ‘Humanitarian Operation’, making them applicable to the entire country, at all times. For, these are all ‘Enabling Laws’ in the Nazi style. Their purpose is to allow the Rajapaksas to intimidate and punish their enemies and impeders, legally. Once such laws are in place, even the most upright judge has no choice but to abide by them.

Some day, soon, we will look back and wonder how the regime was able to legalise abuse and repression, with such ease and speed, with hardly a squeak from society.

The Way of Rajapaksa Justice

The manner in which the PSC proceeded to conduct impeachment proceedings against the CJ is a forewarning of how courts will function in post-impeachment Sri Lanka.

That the impeachment was based on nothing more than outright lies and unproved allegations was no secret. But the extent to which the Rajapaksas manipulated the entire process in order to punitively dislodge a woman who had dared to stand in their way and stand up to them became evident when hitherto unpublished parts of evidence given by Supreme Court Justice Shranee Thilakawardana before the PSC was made public. According to Justice Thilakawardana’s evidence, “The Special Investigation Unit of the Central Bank had gone into the accounts of Golden Key because there were many petitions that had been sent… they found that there was a very big problem….” (Daily Mirror – 6.2.2013).

The Golden Key investigation was halted soon after Governor Mendis left and Ajith Nivard Cabral came in. Justice Thilakawardane produced the relevant minute: ‘…..the Monetary Board is informed of the above and is invited to approve a discontinuance of the examination commenced in respect of the Golden Key Credit Card Company under Section 11’ (ibid). So the Central Bank knew something was amiss with Golden Key, commenced an investigation and then halted it abruptly, soon after Mr. Cabral became the Governor.

Justice Thilakawardane pointed out that had the investigation continued, the Golden Key disaster could have been minimised and opined that the discontinuance “might have happened after a meeting between Lalith Kotelawala, the Chairman of Ceylinco Conglomerate, and the Central Bank” (ibid).

The deadly discontinuance of Golden Key investigation happened under the Governorship of Rajapaksa appointee and favourite, Ajith Nivard Cabral. If anyone is responsible for the plight of Golden Key depositors, it is not CJ Bandaranayake but Governor Cabral. But Golden Key depositors had better not try to protest outside Mr. Cabral’s house (as was done outside the CJ’s residence), unless they want to be arrested under the new law as terrorists!

Why did the Central Bank make that disastrous decision? What transpired during the meeting between Lalith Kotelawala and the CB? What was Mr. Cabral’s role in all this? Sadly these vital matters will not be investigated so long as the Rajapaksas rule, unless Mr. Cabral falls out of favour!

We need to understand that the main victims of Rajapaksa Überpower will not be the West, but we, the people of Sri Lanka.

A new police unit has been set up to deal with ‘religious tensions’. On January 27th, a statue of Virgin Mary in Avisawella was set ablaze. Last week, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith (who is not a Rajapaksa-critic, like the courageous Anglican Bishop of Colombo) complained to the IGP that the police instead of searching for culprits are harassing parishioners and the priest.

Connect the dots….


[i] an act “intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to a civilian, or to any other person not taking an active part in the hostilities in a situation of armed conflict when the purpose of such act, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population, or to compel a government or an international organisation to do or abstain from doing any act” (http://treaties.un.org/doc/db/Terrorism/english-18-11.pdf)

For Sinhala translation click  here , translation by Yahapalanaya Lanka

 

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    Yet another courageous and brilliant expose by Sri Lanka’s preeminent journalist! What can one say?

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    JHU, BBS attacking minorities and now alarm bells ringing about Al Queda. Never a dull moment in the ‘debacle of asia’.

    After all the pomp and fanfare about LLRC it has been dissected by the army and now perhaps the govt is going to present the army report to UN at Geneva?

    BBS attacked the Bangladeshi HC in colombo and now GLP flies to Dhaka to plead with Bangladeshi Govt who is the chair of CMAG.

    MR visits India and does not visit New Delhi. Instead he worships their god at Tirupathi.

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    Democracy is like a helium filled balloon held by a child. If he let’s go of it, it will float away never to be got back again. A majority of Sri RajaPakistanians are like children. And have been so since independence. They trust the Rajapaksas’ like children trust their parents due to the war victory. Democracy was lost the day the 18th amendment was passed and everybody remained silent.

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    Every act & statements given by this rogue regime is joke LOL, the new religious complaint unit & SBs breaking legs was violated the very next day in Kandy, No actions police refuse complaint.

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    Tisaranee has shown the intentions of the regime by this new legislation.
    The future for lawful citizens who may fall foul of politicians,is frightening.
    Even a lawful protest by citizen groups can be labelled ‘a terrorist threat’.
    The army’s request to retain Police in the Defence Ministry should be rejected – but will the army itself and/or Gota and/or the President allow Police to function independently?
    In all democracies police have no direct connection with armed forces.

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    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed — and thus clamorous to be led to safety — by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” H.L. Mencken (In Defence of Women).

    ….lovely quote, isn’t it…?

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    Now the LTTE is gone the Rajapaksa regime has to create laws to imprison it’s “enemies” and deter the others from from causing any trouble for the regime. This is what the dictators do to justify their actions. The people who have their head buried in the sand are going to have their arses shot off by the dictator before they can do anything about their lost freedoms.

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    History has it DSS (1947) only PRESUMED, as it turned out erroneously, “Indian Tamils” here MAY vote against the UNP and for the Leftists and, therefore, de-franchised a million voting citizens. That single act was to contain the seeds of the division of the country later – to be exacerbated by the more destructive Sinhala Only misadventure of 1956. It looks like the Rajapakses fear, rightly or wrongly, things will go against them in Geneva and have, therefore, by omission or commission, caused the provocative and uncivilised attack on the home of the Indian Consul in Jaffna yesterday. They cannot feign innocence because this is said to have occurred during the day when the Police and Army are swarming all over Jaffna. Spinners for the regime will say this has been done by misguided soldiers in the background of the incident in the BoC branch in Chennai last week.
    But that might not convince even the most nitwit of the Marines.

    Avissawella has been a plural, harmonious lovely area with the 3 major communities living peacefully for decades. The barbaric destruction of the statue (Jan 27) of Mother Mary, installed totally in keeping with the laws only the previous day, is a message to the Catholics/Christians of the area they are next. The evangelists have been submitted into silence by intimidation, violence and bigotry. That it is the Avissawella Police authorities – including the higher levels of the Police in the District – allegedly being behind is a further pointer the Police have long become the play thing of their political masters. When even learned and elitist Sinhala Catholics/Christians joined the Sinhala Buddhist chanuvinistic
    mindset a few years some Tamils were reminding themselves of Pastor
    Martin Neimoller during WW2.

    Senguttuvan

  • 0
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    Tisaranne has been dishonest very often in her writings in order to attack the govt.

    Who in the world has a proper definition, of the word Terrorism, agreeable to every body ?. So-called democratic countries of the west have killed so many innocent people from other countries just for the suspicion of engaging terrorist activities against them. The best example is the American – DRONE program OKed by Obama. Afghan, Pakistan and Yeman people know what kind of terrorists those Drone have killed. Some times it is only families or women and children.

    Then what is democracy – the western countries are police states and they heavily spy on their citizen and the system is made in such a they are interested in world affairs or in politics only when it hits their jobs, pay cheques or the material -wealth.

    With respect to Tisaranee’s anti-govt articles, only thing that I can suspect that she is taking revenge from the Sri Lankan govt for her personal defeats in life.

    Recently, I read a nice piece of Psychology which explained why some Canadian young adults had become Muslim – Jihadis against the western govts. Jailing was a easy way of surface – plastering the true solution. Instead they studied the reason why these people became what they had become and found that they became losers in order to win and express their abilities they became anti-govt.

    I think the Sri Lankan govt should recognize Tisaranee’s capabilities and should be rewarded suitably to help Sri Lanka.

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      Jim Softy:
      In case you’ve been waiting for this, here it is: you are getting very close to being the most incomprehensible of the Rajapaksa apologists to write to this publication. Keep it up and you might yet beat ALL of your competitors. After all, you and the rest of the “Paid Idiocy” of this government need to get some satisfaction out of your stupid contributions!

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    Refusal to
    i.hold inquiries into murders(declined Judge Udalagama’s offer in June 2009)
    ii.release reports on murders, abductions, disappearances, corruption

    is what? NOT terrorism?

    If state terrorism is punished there won’t be any reactive terrorism from citizenry.

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    ”Human rights activists” from Sri Lanka are unlikely to turn up at UNHRC because they will be arrested for ”terrorism”.

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    “With respect to Tisaranee’s anti-govt articles, only thing that I can suspect that she is taking revenge from the Sri Lankan govt for her personal defeats in life” is an unfortunate comment aimed against someone who has shared with us the benefits of her enormous research and learning of Contemporary Politics. Tissaranee raises our level of journalism to that of the giants of yester-year by which we held on our own with the best in the region – Tarzie Vittachi, Reggie Siriwardena, Mervyn de Silva among others.

    Senguttuvan

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      Certainly, there is lot of space for her to grow more (instead of writing grow up) I would say.

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        Jim Softy,
        May I ask whether you could recollect Thisaranee’s writings at President Premadasa times? I for one have noticed the change of her presentations of her fuzzy logic of ‘Premadasa nationalism’ to ‘LTTE nationalism’. She and her one time writing combine the one that wrote under the pseudonym Anuruddha Thilakasiri have taken a different routes since. Have they done so for the good of the country? I wonder. I think it is more like to improve their fame and trade? Both have an inbuilt selfish political animal within them. However when considered the back stabbing political environment of today especially the dirty tactics of the so-called IC, I agree with your proposition in general and that MR should have used them and others to the maximum to reach our national goal – One Sri Lanka.
        Leela

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          Leela:
          You forgot to add to “….our national goal – One Sri Lanka UNDER OUR LORD AND MASTER MAHINDA RAJAPAKSA AND HIS FAMILY!” Never too late, you can add this on to your next stupid contribution to CT.

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    One of the best informed journalists in Sri Lanka to write against the Rajapaksa dictatorship is Ms Gunasekera. A very eloquent and persuasive writer who relentlessly hammers the regime without fear. When journalists are being bought with money and perks by Rajapaksa, Ms Gunasekera is one of a few journalists to remain a thorn on his side. Hope she continues to expose the Rajapaksa regime’s corrupt and dictatorial actions.

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    No doubt Tissaranee is a good columnist. She writes well and appears very knowledgeable. The only problem is that she is always critical of the government of the day. Her comments are always negative. I have not seen very many positive comments. It appears that she is by nature a pessimist. As for comparison with Tarzie Vittachi, Reggie Siriwardena and Mervyn de Silva, it is too far fetched.

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      She is not negative. She brings facts. The masses cant get her because they are brainwashed. And what an argument, who on this earth expect to pen positiv issues from a writer from the opposition ? Adequately educated masses who respect the rule of law get frustrated easiy, but compare what Thisaranee reports, seeing near to what they get to see dawn to dusk under current regime.

      If you have got other views, please tell me when it goes for sensitivities, what have Wimal and Mervin done sofar ? They make add hay to fire like work right at the moment. Masses stay mum because they are fear of their lives. Lankens should have started arab springs like demonstrations long back in the country, but it is the nature of average lankens to stay indifferent.

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        Wimal and Mervin are more or less similar to each other. I have no doubt the masses feel as I do in terms of speeches and acts of both politicians.

        Their irresponsible remarks about Sinahlese buddhists easily meet the wound points of the minority folks. Lanken professionals society building areas should come forward and make the nation clear about this. This is imperative in the post war epsides of the country. President should be better given a mouth cover if he cant control his rherotics. His speech on Independence day was not what the masses expected from him on that special day.

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    One more important definition to “Terrorism” that must be incorporated in the Legislations is “Misrepresentation of Facts and Misleading willingly and taking active participation to create public opinion for an intended purpose of harming an individual or a group of people”. This is what the Government did in the instance of the Impeachment of CJ and the Golden Key case.

    As regards that Golden Key case, will the President of the “Depositors Organization” explain to the public the behaviour displayed during the Impeachment Circus? Now what have you got to say to that man(supposed to be a depositor) who climbed the tree to show protest against the CJ? Will this organization now at least learn the truth and claim from the Governemnt “Justice” who willingly did injustice to the depositors? This is another instance of TERRORISM by the Government. I suggest that organization to stage another protest near the Parliament to include that also in the definition of “Terrorism”.

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      It was under President Rajapakse’s direction that Golden Key was collapsed.

      When Hon.Lalith Kotelawala who wanted to settle GK depositors by even selling Cylinco Group assets was restricted by then CJ Sarath N. Silva.

      Mahinda Rajapakse conspiracy to Sabotage Business owners who are supporting opposition parties and acqiring number of their businesses by fraudulent means will be highlighted in coming months.

      Please audit the Central Bank nine Ton Gold Reserve and eight Billion US Doller Forreign Currency reserve before they disappear……while People start printing their own Currency Notes with their Home Computers.

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    Some here are making Tisaranee out to be an anarchist. That is unnecessary. Most of her venom is reserved for the Rajapakses, and rightly so. They are putting the country on a very bad footing that, even if all the Rajapakses were gone today, would take a long time to set correct. That is because, as Tisaranee’s articles highlight, no sector of society, no institution, and no individual, is safe from the Rajapakse madness. In the North they are building Sinhala-Buddhist colonies, war monuments, and luxury hotels. In the South they are jailing dissidents like Fonseka, while abusing the law to go after people the CJ. They have added amendments to the Constitutions which make the voting process (essential to any democracy) a joke, and which will pave the way for a family dynasty. Even the universities are not safe. By taking huge loans from China, not only have they ruined Sri Lanka’s credit rating, but drove a wedge between India and Sri Lanka that threatens Sri Lanka’s national security.

    How do the Rajapakses justify all of the above? They claim it was they who defeated “terrorism.” But even this is not without dirty linen. Sri Lanka has zero reputation, save in outlaw nations like Iran and Burma. As I said a long time ago on other venues, the Rajapakses will do far more damage to the island than the LTTE could have.

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    *abusing the law to go after people like the CJ

    *added amendments to the Constitution

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    Jim Softy in the brain nitwit,

    You say “I think the Sri Lankan govt should recognize Tisaranee’s capabilities and should be rewarded suitably to help Sri Lanka”.

    Just because bums like you, that transvestite Leela, S.K. Sumanasekera and the rest of your ilk are on the Rajapaksa payroll to bum-suck them and not “to help Sri Lanka” as you put it, please don’t drag Ms. Tisaranee Gunasekara down to your low levels.

    You and your ilk are traitors of Sri Lanka and PLEASE REMEMBER the Rajapaksas are NOT Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka is NOT the Rajapaksas!

  • 0
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    Another great piece of work by Tisaranee,

    We as followers of President Rajapakse’s movements and watching ground reality with Tisaranee’s writings, trying to connect the dots….which are quite interesting.

    All we long to see is how the Regime is unfolding it’s spots for us to see clear visibility of the leopard.

    Soon after President’s Buddha Gaya “pilgrimage” the Indian LIOC 5000 ton Diesel shipment was rejected by CPSTLL which happened for the first time, while Indian High Commission’s Jaffna house was robbed in daylight.

    Other surprising things might get unfold as the time nears for March UNHR SL evaluation.

    WHO EVER BROKE THE POT HAS TO FIX IT……NONE OTHER COULD DO IT FOR THEM….AND THEY KNOW IT.

    Hiding behind or Relying on 3rd or 4th force for cover won’t help.
    It’s time to act now than regret later.

  • 0
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    Tisaranee Gunasekara make Rajapakse regime shake in fear whereas as They are secretly happy about melancholy nature of Ranil Wickramsinghe. At the movement JVP is a better party than UNP

  • 0
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    All of you male species should bow your heads down in shame because the mighty Regime is taken to task single handedly by women like Thisaranee,CBK, Shirani Bandaranayaka,Sandya Eknaligoda to name a few.

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      Sunila Mendis,

      Also the first woman Prime Minister of the world was from Sri Lanka.

      It all depends on the the way you categorise as Male Species in Sri Lanka parliament. If you categorise considering the Anatomy …..you are mistaken as many of them are hiding their manhood with white shirt and sarong. This includes most of the parliament 100 odd cross overs and some of the opposition party leaders.

      There’s a saying that when there is no catfish (Unga) in the well, the snake head fish(Lulla) becomes the king. Pretty soon the well will be full of Lulla babies given by the snake head to all other types of females as Ungas are missing.

      That’s why now you see various other types of Parisites forming to replace the UNGA VACUUM.

      The real males died during four uprisings and during liberation of the LTTE war…..and one other MALE who survived just got release from the Prison.

      THE RECENT WARNING GIVEN BY A CABINET MINISTER SAYING SRI LANKA YOUTH POT IS BOILING AGAIN IS TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY.

      Given the past history, Sri Lankan politics need Maleness plus strategy, strategy and more strategy to overcome dictatorship, while leaving no room for third party Parasites to fill the vacuum.

  • 0
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    Sunila mendis……
    Tissaranee…………is mad..
    CBK………..is sad……
    Shirani………is glad……
    Saandya……..is ???

  • 0
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    Birdue – Sanday looks for her kids’ dad

    Senguttuvan

  • 0
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    Correction

    Birdie – Sandya looks for her kids’ Dad
    Senguttuvan

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    IT IS NOW PROVEN MEN ARE THE WEAKER SEX.

    So it’s a fact that once we are plied with sultry feminine charms, men involuntarily become a mass of quivering jelly. It’s bizarre that it comes down to a study to prove this actually happens. The study also proved, just handling women’s undergarments is more than likely to have the same effect on these men as viewing a lingerie laden beauty.

    So take care next time you are asked to go underwear shopping by your partner, you may not notice how much you spend on those lacy little items what with all those pictures of beautiful models and imagining her in those silk panties – after all it is scientifically proven now!

    I reckon this goes to prove what I have always believed, guys are the weaker sex after all – and who can blame them when they are faced with a woman in her designer lingerie – enough to make any guy crumble!

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      That’s why we have more Actressses, TV drama stars and Beauty queens in the Parliament.

      The recent important Ministry post was given (Ministry of Power) which is comprised with High voltage and Kilowatts to light up many bulbs was given to a woman from a womanly man……..who still stick to a new silly unherd post created and given(which was never herd before in Parliament)By Maha Raja.

      Is it due to Maharaja already know the Manly men…..or womanly men…or Napunsaka (queer) men in the parliament……lifting anything to Maha Raja to do whatever he wants.

      Otherwise who the hell allow this Gas Gemba to chase a Honoursable Chief Justice while signing on a blank paper like Ponna Samis to impeach CJ.

      I WONDER WHO ARE THE HEAD OF THE HOUSE HOLDS IN THESE PONNA SAMI “YES SIR” GAS GEMBA HOUSES.

      Thyat’s why I said it’s Rajapakse Araliya gon gaha mandiraya.

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    Thisareens kept mum during Prabakaran democracy for 30 years.

    Now they want full on democracy in less than 3 years.

    Fair enough.

    But is it possible when the same people who encouraged Prabakaran democracy and benefited from it are now engaging in all kinds of anti society , anti majority and anti peace campaigns urging the inhabitants to come on to the streets and throw petrol bombs and start new pogroms even against peaceful Muslims who have been living in harmony among the majority since 1915?.

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      Tsunamisekera:
      Are you trying to prove that you have COMPLETELY lost your marbles? WHO is coming on to the streets and destroying Muslim businesses in places like Narammala, laying siege to NO LIMIT and threatening BBC crews filming all of this?
      Time to get back in the tree from which you’ve recently descended!

  • 0
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    ”A new police unit has been set up to deal with ‘religious tensions’ ?

    When did the President condemn the Dambulla, Dehiwela, …. mosque attacks ??

  • 0
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    The bill the country badly needs is a BILL to eliminate the Thugs and state terrorism which is not only destroying the country and its reputaion ( whether it had any is debatable)

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