16 November, 2018

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RTI Commission Directs Sri Lanka Army To Give Info On Hotels And Canteens Run In The North And East  

An argument by the Sri Lanka Army that hotels and canteens being run by the Army in the North and East are maintained by ‘welfare funds’ and not public money, has been dismissed by the Right to Information (RTI) Commission established under the country’s internationally praised RTI Act. Pointing out that ‘the said hospitality ventures are controlled, operated and maintained’ by officers of the Public Authority ‘who are paid out of Government funds’, the Commission has directed the Army to provide the information. 

Army Commander

The RTI Commission has stated that, accepting this argument that no public funds are involved will amount to ‘allowing the Public Authority a special privilege’ contrary to the RTI Act. 

Though the information asked by the journalist was initially denied by the Army, it later agreed to give the information following the Ministry of Defence submitting similar information regarding hospitality ventures run in the former war theatre by the Sri Lanka Air Force and Navy to the information requester, G. Dileepamuthan.    

But the admission by the Army during the hearing that it maintained an intelligence file on the journalist has led to a storm of protests on social media. The RTI Commission has informed that ‘if any Public Authority commences to obtain Military Intelligence reports in regard to citizens purely on the basis that they are filing Right to Information requests which is a legitimate and legal procedure under the Right to Information (RTI) Act passed by the Sri Lanka Parliament, then the fundamental objectives of the Act would be negated.‘

It was pointed out that ‘while the Commission is not in a position to assess at this stage as to whether this has actually happened in this case or not on the facts before us, it must also be stated that in principle, this would be a matter of grave concern befitting the specific intervention of the Commission if RTI applicants are sought to be intimidated in any way whatsoever.’

The Commission had noted particularly that the background of an Appellant or the purpose of an information request is not a relevant consideration under and in terms of the RTI Act to deny information. 

Earlier, the Army’s insistence that the journalist provide the copy of his identity card was reprimanded by the Commission which pointed out that ‘the Appellant has already mentioned his NIC number in his information request; therefore it is not appropriate for the PA to further request copies of his NIC and /or Passport. The RTI Act No.12 of 2016 is very clear, that an information request can only be declined by citing one of the exemptions in Section 5(1)(a) of the Act; it cannot be blocked through circuitous means.’  The Information Officer for the Army had then assured the Commission that the practice of asking RTI Appellants to produce identity cards will not be repeated in the future

The RTI Commission consists of Mahinda Gammampila, Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena, Rohini Walgama, SG Punchihewa and S. Thiruchandran. 

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  • 12
    1

    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/

  • 12
    1

    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/

  • 12
    1

    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/

    • 18
      3

      Jim Softy Dimwit

      Infinite Monkey Theorem

      A monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard, given enough time and typewriters, will reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare.

  • 4
    16

    All these appointments are for Relatives of Politicians. In otherwords, some way to provide employment for politcal extended families. Not different from Mahinda chintanaya.

  • 33
    2

    Yes, after the ‘victory,’ Basil, the arch swindler, used Gota’s tight grip on military activities in the northeast to launch a string of businesses. They were set up grabbing private and crown lands. These are mostly in the hospitality sector and employ exclusively people from the south. Some of these businesses clearly belong to the Rajapakse family members, notably to Basil and Namal. The exact ownership of many others are shrouded by this smokescreen of “Welfare Funds.” It’s time to expose these shady operations and ensure justice is done to the legal owners of these resources, and locals are also allowed to work.

  • 24
    2

    Also please ask for number of vegetable plots maintained by the army.how much did they earn from hotels, guesthouses and vegetable plots so far- at least from the year 2009,

  • 30
    2

    It is high time that the so-called war heroes hand over all the illegally captured private lands to the respective land owners in the north and east. You can’t go on grabbing another man’s property while calling yourself a war-hero. This is called power abuse and cowardly behavior. What you racists do in the north makes the south happy, while you won’t do the same drama in the south. Real Shame.

    • 4
      17

      You mean the so called land owner people brought here by Dutch colonialists 170 years ago to grow toobaco in north? Did Dutch trading company have any rights to grab these lands from local population then give them to their Malabar Tamil employees at the first place?

      • 10
        2

        It was after a young Hindu prince from Nepal in the Indian sub-continent named Siddartha aka the Buddha decided to attempt a serious introspection to find a meaning for the impermanacy and uncertainties of human life comprising of a human physical form ,sensation,perception,mental formation and consciousness and established a teaching which became known as Buddhism.
        The Malabar Hindu Tamils imported into the island to grow tobacco in the climatically dry North of the island at the Southern tip of the sub-continent gradually moved to the fertile South to embrace the newly founded Buddhist faith which had been introduced by a famous warrior Indian king Asoka that the said Southern Malabar Tamils began to regard themselves as Sinhalese and followers of the Buddha’s teaching. The wars between the North and South is after all story of survival. Live and let live.
        Nothing is permanent.

        • 8
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          Uthungan

          “the newly founded Buddhist faith which had been introduced by a famous warrior Indian king Asoka that the said Southern Malabar Tamils began to regard themselves as Sinhalese and followers of the Buddha’s teaching. “

          Often repeated myth that Buddhism was propagated by Asoka in this island has no basis other than Mahawamsa. According to Prof Sunil Ariaratne Buddhism came from Tamilaham.

          Prof Shu Hikosaka believes ancient Tamilaham played a crucial role in propagating Buddhism in this island. Ref: Buddhism in Tamil Nadu A New Perspective 1989- by Dr Shu Hikosaka .

          Please refer to the following article also (available on net)
          Buddhism in South India
          by
          Pandit Hisselle Dhammaratana Mahāthera

          Buddhist Publication Society
          Kandy • Sri Lanka

          • 1
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            contd: The forming of this new Sinhalese language and identity was actively encouraged by the Buddhist clergy , to differentiate the local converted Tamil Buddhists from the huge sea of largely Hindu Tamils living in the Indian mainland and the NE of the island. Hence the Mahavamsa started this fairly tale of a North Indian origin for this Sinhalese population , to say they are not Tamils and that Buddhism arrived from North India, instead of the Tamil country in South India. There is some North Indian migration and their DNA is found both amongst the Sinhalese and the native Sri Lankan Tamils , ironically more amongst the Sri Lankan Tamils than the modern say Sinhalese , as most of them are descended from recent South Indian migrants. However this North Indian migration never triggered the formation of the Sinhalese but it was the arrival of Buddhism and the large scale conversion of the local Tamil population in the southern parts of the island.

          • 1
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            NV
            Thanks for the info.
            That may be correct,because in Kalki’s historic ’Ponnyin Selvan’ there is no mention or reference to the Kandyan Asgria or Malwatte Order, but only about a similar Order that was centred in Anuradhapura then during it’s peak period then.

  • 10
    2

    At some stage the Lankan Armed Services were given permission to go into hospitality industry and the like to earn some ‘pocket money’. In return ‘loyalty’ was expected.
    Instead a Frankenstein emerged. The Armed Serices have evolved into a mono-ethnic uncontrollable giant. The Army Commander Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake says things like “I will not give back an inch of land we occupy”, “I crush skulls”, “I blow up ears”, “I need more arms” “I need new recruits” etc.
    There is a method here particularly about ‘new recruits’. In N&E civilians are not permitted into the camps – this includes CM downwards. Yet holiday resorts continue to be built. Who provides the labour? Of course the recruits.
    .
    To cut a long story short: The Lankan Armed Services are deliberately taking after the Egyptian model. The ‘reconciliation skeptics’ think that this is OK provided it is confined inside N&E. Experience shows that this trend spreads.
    Will the RTI bring up the goings-on into the open?

  • 12
    1

    Under RTI
    will the Army Commander confirm his name as Mahesh Senanayake or is it still subjected to official secret ACT and disclosure of his name would be prohibited under the act?

    • 5
      12

      NV, the best way to verify this would be to go back to the hole where you came from, pull its lips apart and scream loudly, posing your question. The echo will confirm his real name.

      • 6
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        Mike Banda

        Thanks for your advice.
        We never knew you have had pleasant experience at “Joseph Camp” in Vavuniya. I suspect Mahesh must have been the head torturer who gave you the unforgettable pleasure to you. Are you still reminiscing the experience.

        No I was not caught by his colleague nor have I had any business with him. .

  • 9
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    RTI Commission Directs Sri Lanka Army To Give Info On Hotels And Canteens Run In The North And East

    “The RTI Commission has informed that ‘if any Public Authority commences to obtain Military Intelligence reports in regard to citizens purely on the basis that they are filing Right to Information requests which is a legitimate and legal procedure under the Right to Information (RTI) Act passed by the Sri Lanka Parliament, then the fundamental objectives of the Act would be negated.‘”

    It is about procrastination and denial of due process, because there is something to hide.

    RTI has given them a real headache, and resorting to procrastination.

    What do they want to hide? A lot?

  • 5
    9

    When I was in Mullative recently ,I had a pukka Dinner at the Army Canteen on Mullative Beach.
    They served only freshly made Appama with Katta Sambol and Egg Curry.
    Because it was a late booking , there was no Chook Curry or even Fish Curry left…
    The five star Pad next to our little Motel wanted LKR 2500 each .That would have been 10k for the Meal.
    I would hate to think how much the Red Label would have cost.
    How did I find that cheap joint?.
    It was from the lady who looks after that little Motel close by .
    She assured me it is the best place around there to have a decent meal without breaking the Bank.
    And believe me watching the Mullative Waves stopping just before the Table Full of Hoppers is Gold.
    Specially when one casts the mind back 10 years and think how Pira boys battled those waves for nothing.
    And the Lady gave me a good account of Nanthikadal and Mulivaikal too.
    She even gave me a few tips about places off the normal Tourist Beat to see.
    And the Lady is a person who was at the Coal Face, in Nanthikadal May 2009..
    I can give a few other places where I had nothing but superb service from these Army run places.
    These facilities provide a fantastic service to the locals and the frequent visitors who do not have fat wallets.
    May be Vellala Party dudes in Colombo and their Diaspora mates only stay at Nilavali Beach Resort and dine at Malu Malu..
    And Mahendrans Aloysiouses and other Diaspora Heavies now want to get their hands on these popular potential money spinners.
    And keep them clear of any Caveats , when the Hindians and the Singaporeans come in bearing gifts to Mallika and Dr Ranil, for opening our Lankawe Markets.
    And hand them everything where there is money to be made Lock, Stock and Barrel…

    • 2
      0

      Uthungan

      “the newly founded Buddhist faith which had been introduced by a famous warrior Indian king Asoka that the said Southern Malabar Tamils began to regard themselves as Sinhalese and followers of the Buddha’s teaching. “

      Often repeated myth that Buddhism was propagated by Asoka in this island has no basis other than Mahawamsa. According to Prof Sunil Ariaratne Buddhism came from Tamilaham.

      Prof Shu Hikosaka believes ancient Tamilaham played a crucial role in propagating Buddhism in this island. Ref: Buddhism in Tamil Nadu A New Perspective 1989- by Dr Shu Hikosaka .

      Please refer to the following article also (available on net)
      Buddhism in South India
      by
      Pandit Hisselle Dhammaratana Mahāthera

      Buddhist Publication Society
      Kandy • Sri Lanka

      • 1
        0

        Thanks NV you are 100% correct. Whenever I try to post theses links the message gets removed , most probably because of the links. Yes Buddhism came to the island via the Tamil country in South India and it is the Tamil Buddhist who played a crucial role in the propagation of Buddhism in the island. The so called Sinhalese Buddhist Aryans are not Aryans or anyone else but local Malabar Tamil Naga/Yakka ( largely Yakka) who converted to Buddhism and gradually started to corrupt their Tamil dialect Elu with the Prakrit( Pali) and Sanskrit of Buddhism and a new language called Sinhalese evolved by 7AD-8AD. It took the name and identity of one of the original Tamil name for the island Chingkallam, meaning land of red/copper or copper coloured. The Chera( Naga in ancient Tamil) Tamil speaking population in the island were called Chingkallavar or Eelavar/Eezhava , a major caste still in Kerala associated with toddy tapping, just like the meaning of Eezham means the land of toddy or metal. They are supposed to have migrated to ancient Tamil Chera Nadu from the island , hence the name Eezhava. Chingkalam got Prakritised to Sinhala and Eelam/Elu the local Tamil dialect, got Prakritised to Hela. Hela is Elu( Tamil)+ Prakrit. Old Sinhalese very close to it Tamil mother than modern Sinhalese. This is the truth. Latter other migrants from India , again largely from the Tamil country , who largely migrated to the South of the country , gradually got assimilated into this Sinhalese identity.

    • 3
      0

      KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera

      “When I was in Mullative recently ,I had a pukka Dinner at the Army Canteen on Mullative Beach.”

      When I went there few months ago canteen refused to serve me because according to them I was late and they do not sell any Vegan/vegetarian food.

      I may go there next time with my Axe on my shoulder, Bow in my hand and a Side Quiver. Hope they serve me.

      Ask them whether they have a strict policy of not serving the natives.

    • 2
      0

      The soldiers in the army are paid handsomely by the public and need not depend of the income from the hotel or motel they run. No wonder that the meals are cheaper as no wage or salary is paid from the receipts of the sale of meals. It’s quite different in civilian run businesses and agricultural produce.

  • 5
    1

    RTI Commission Directs Sri Lanka Army To Give Info On Hotels And Canteens Run In The North And East …….and then what.

  • 5
    1

    ..and also info on list of illegal drug stores and marijuana cultivation the army operates

    • 3
      0

      Rajash

      Mahesh Senanayake looks like a Tamil miniature version of
      “His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular”

      What do you think?

  • 4
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    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/

  • 4
    9

    I don’t care who runs what – as long as I can enjoy the yummee Nandu, Iral curry meen kulambu and Panang Kallu, singaari sarakku nalla sarakku whenever I am in Jaffna. So Wadakkil Vasantham Hats Off & aro hara to Medamulana, Namal for the service rendered to Jaffna visitors..

  • 0
    1

    So the Hari Chandra Maharaja will have to tell lie like Udistra did?

    When it is come to patriotism, you lie in anyway.

    It is worth for Tamils to depend on a Zero Casualty report?

  • 1
    1

    So the Hari Chandra Maharaja will have to tell lie like Udistra did?

    When it is come to patriotism, you lie in anyway.

    It is worth for Tamils to depend on a Zero Casualty report?

  • 1
    1

    Ignore the name on that Please.

    So the Hari Chandra Maharaja will have to tell lie like Udistra did?

    When it is come to patriotism, you lie in anyway.

    It is worth for Tamils to depend on a Zero Casualty report?

  • 7
    1

    W-WOMEN ARE RAPED IN NORTH EAST
    A-ABDUCTION OF RICH TAMILS
    R-REVENGE KILLING WHO REFUSE TO PAY MONEY
    H-HOUSES OF TAMILS ILLEGALLY OCCUPIED
    E-ENSURE ALL RICH TAMIL BOYS ARE ARRESTED AND COLLECT MONEY IN RETURN .
    E-ENSURE THOSE WHO COMPLAIN TO OUT SIDE WORLD ARE KILLED
    R-REMOVE ALL UNIFORMS AND KILL SOME BODY ON CONTRACT AS LTTE SUSPECT
    O-OUT SIDE WORLD KNOWS VERY WELL WHAT LANKAN FORCES WERE UP TO.

  • 3
    2

    Looks like the Ministry of Defence took ‘the wind out of the sails’ of the Army! by handing over the requested info from the Navy and the Air Force to the Commission! Shows the silliness of the excuse and also the lack of coordination between the Army and other two services! Kudos to the Ministry of Defence for using its brains!

    This is the way that info requests must be dealt with, using basic sense, not by trying to put forward ‘intelligence reports! That only gives LTTE saboteurs overseas and their local agents masquerading in the North and East, a chance to shout and scream and for journalists to pose as heroes!

    So what is secret about the list of these ventures by the Army? Put them in public and let these saboteurs cry!

  • 9
    1

    Apart from being in uniform and paid by the army using tax payers money they are in unfair competition with the ordinary citizens of the country. Well done RTI Com. we need more and more people like you in public service.

  • 7
    2

    The Army is depriving the local citizens of a means of livelihood by running its own businesses in competition with them, even monopolizing certain businesses, and by bringing the labour from the South. That is the SL Army’s idea of ‘Reconciliation’.

    • 1
      2

      Tamils were monopolizing this national asset for 250 years. Time it was balanced. Army run gotels are certainly cleaner, more hygienic and better managed. Too bad for estate labourers trying to find a footstep and roost here.

      • 2
        0

        thrishu

        “Army run gotels are certainly cleaner, more hygienic and better managed. “

        If you think so let the army take over 90% of the Southern hotels and let them keep it cleaner, hygienic and have them better managed.

        “Tamils were monopolizing this national asset for 250 years.”

        I do not know whether they owned or operated any hotels however I do know that our pious kings built Silayas (resting places) for pilgrims and better known names or branded ones were as follows:

        Wella Madama,
        Kosruppe Ambalama,
        Walambalama,
        Wasuwilpita Maha Madama,
        Getadelgaha Madama
        Hunnadeniya Madama
        Ranna Tanayama
        Welitota Madama
        Panavitiya Ambalama
        Galambalama
        Ambalamas at Kilivetti, Sungavilla, and Pangurana,
        …….
        …..
        …..
        Which of the above national assets were monopolized by Tamils 250 years ago?
        Where can I find details of their ownership?

  • 2
    0

    Each regiment maintains an Army Mess – essentially a not so secret place where Duty Free liquor is available to all officers at nominal rates.
    Officers enjoy only imported beer & spirits.
    The RTI commission should request information on the number of, & expenses incurred, to run & maintain these messes.

  • 1
    3

    Ven Gnanasara’s appeal is coming up. If he was sent to prison , we all know what the very well endowed Tamils will do to him in the jail. It’s not fair.

  • 3
    0

    This is a plea to set emotions aside.
    We can yell about tobacco coolies being brought to Taprobane long long long before tobacco was introduced to the East and so on. The cows will continue to come home and the chickens will roost.
    .
    The Lankan Armed Services is evolving into a mono-ethnic monolith. The GoSL is losing control. We must take serious note before ‘skull crushing; becomes ‘an operational routine’ .
    So: We know that there is a hole in the bucket. Fix it Dear Ranil, Dear Ranil; Fix it Dear MS.

  • 0
    0

    There is now a plan to settle around 5000 Sinhalese army personal and their families in the Iranamadu area in Killinochci . They will be settled on confiscated private Tamil lands. Very soon like the east there will be Sinhalese only electorates in the north. This is as per the debate in the parliament. This racist occupying Sinhalese armed forces and police should be chased out of the Tamil areas. They are the root cause of all the problems. They are here to deliberately create chaos , stifle the development of the indigenous Tamils by confiscating their homes and lands and now allowing them farm fish or start businesses. Employment is given to Southern Sinhalese, be it government or private. They are also in these areas to facilitate the Sinhalisation of the ancient Tamil north and east.

  • 0
    0

    An iconic delicacy in the N&E canteens run by the Armed Services is “Shark-brain curry” – the brain personally crushed by Mahesh!

  • 0
    0

    It is not a wise thing to do to get Government’s SECURITY FORCES to get in to businesses any where in Sri Lanka especially in the the North and East as it deprives the locals of their LANDS & LIVELIHOODS.
    STOP IT ASAP.

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