The state controlled media turned its hate-filled guns on former President Chandrika Kumaratunga for daring to champion the cause of religious freedom yesterday, referring to her as the “Mother of All Liars” and claimed she had ‘joined hands with the enemy” to discredit Sri Lanka ahead of the UNHRC.
In his most recent editorial Editor of the state-run Daily News Rajpal Abeynayake called Kumaratunga an “odious, intemperate, country hating ex-President that has palpably joined hands with the enemy, and there is nothing less that can be said about Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga’s so called apolitical effort to focus via some organization that styles itself as SAPRI, on an interfaith effort to address “attacks on churches”.
In their attack against Kumaratunaga, the Rajapaksa Administration’s mouthpiece says “Nobody has been eliminated for speaking out, and the gross resort to fabrication on this score makes it beyond clear that the garrulous ex-President’s motives are anything but apolitical these days.” Adding further Abeynayake says “However, the ploy is clear. The modus operandi is to shut the voice of the free thinking and patriotic forces first. The way to do this is to tag anything that is said against people such as Kumaratunga and their fabrications ‘state attacks on Human Rights defenders.”
It is unclear why the Daily News Editor feels the cause of religious freedom is equated to “country hating”.
Except that in his Editorial of January 22, the Rajapaksa Government’s state media – the Daily News again run by Abeynayake justified the attacks on Christian Churches claiming that the Buddhists taking the law into their hands are a persecuted people and that the Sinhala majority in Sri Lanka are often not permitted to do anything tangible about aggressive proselytization and the barely legal establishment of churches and other places of religious worship.
That editorial titled, THE ONGOING GENOCIDE AGAINST THE SINHALESE Editor of the state controlled Daily News says people besieged in this way can easily be paranoid, or they can overreact and it is suspected that the entire idea is precisely to get them to go over the top, so that this fact can be used against their further persecution as well, taking on the role of apologist for marauding saffron mobs perpetrating violence against minority religious communities.
“The Sinhalese majority is in the unenviable position of not being able to defend any sustained undermining of its culture, and way of life. There is no freedom of expression for the Sinhalese if it means pointing out that their values are being usurped, or that there are systematic unethical conversions for instance,” the editorial says.
Rajapal Abeynayake is appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Editor of the Daily News. Rajapaksa is also the Leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and it was Kumaratunga’s father that was the founder leader of the SLFP. The Bandaranaike family led the SLFP since its inception in 1953 until the retirement of President Kumaratunge in 2005. It is unclear whether the SLFP, the main constituent party in the ruling UPFA alliance has sanctioned the State Media to attack its former leader or whether Abeynayake is merely carrying out instructions given to him by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Once again, the Rajapaksa Administration should indicate if as with other state run newspapers under other regimes around the world, the voice of the Daily News is a reflection of the policies and perceptions of the ruling Government, and if not, the SLFP or the President should demand an apology or resignation from Abeynayake for his putrid abuse of a former SLFP President of Sri Lanka.