2 October, 2022

Blog

Sri Lanka’s PTA: The Anti-Terrorism Law That Promotes Terrorism

By Niresh Eliatamby

Niresh Eliatamby

Having spent a couple of decades as an investigative journalist, I have an intimate and extensive knowledge of all aspects of law enforcement – lawmakers, police, military, lawyers, judges, detectives, prison officials. But what’s more, I have interviewed large numbers of so-called terrorists, including those involved in the southern People’s Liberation Front (known by its Sinhalese acronym JVP), and also the northern Liberational Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), both at the senior levels and ordinary members.

As such, I have an extensive knowledge of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), arguably the most draconian piece of legislation ever enacted in Sri Lanka. The PTA hangs over the heads of all independent journalists like the proverbial Sword of Damocles. But with the dramatic growth of social media sparking extraordinary levels of citizen journalism and ordinary people expressing their opinions quite vociferously, every single citizen runs the risk of falling afoul of the PTA.

Much has been written of the intricate details of the PTA, so I won’t spend time on that. But realistically speaking, the PTA gives extraordinary powers to politicians in office, the police and the military, to incarcerate any citizen for up to 365 days at any location of their choosing, without bringing the arrested person before a judge as required by law. It is a piece of legislation that has been purposefully and deliberately written for the abuse of human rights, and therefore the subversion of the constitution, in particular the chapter on fundamental rights.

A law from cloud cuckoo land

It is a piece of legal nonsense that appears to have been dreamed up in cloud cuckoo land rather than by anyone with their feet on the ground. It completely ignores the cardinal legal principal of ‘innocent until proven guilty’. This is why its use has drawn widespread condemnation from around the world.

Take the examples of activists who have been locked away in recent days under the PTA. The police calmly announced after detaining them under the PTA, that they are now searching for any terrorism related activities that these folks may have committed. That’s exactly the same as arresting a bunch of people for murder, and then looking around to see whether anyone has in fact been murdered! Under this logic, all 22 million people in Sri Lanka could be locked up for a year!

For starters, let’s ask the question why on earth police would need 365 days to investigate anything? In my opinion, 99% of criminal complaints can be solved within a couple of weeks, if the investigators actually have any intention to solve the case. Allowing authorities to grill a suspect for 365 days simply means that the person is actually imprisoned for an entire year without having been found guilty, and in many cases without actually committing a crime.

Another point is that the PTA does away with the requirement of judicial supervision. That means that the entire judiciary is being distanced from a person for a whole year. Considering that the right to go to court is a right that is quite universal, this is an extraordinary power granted by the PTA.

So what happens during these 365 days? Case after case has been brought to the Supreme Court by people detained under the PTA that they were tortured during their incarceration by police and military officers who are safe in the knowledge that the victim has no hope of appealing directly to the judiciary. If at all, such a case must be filed in a roundabout manner, and it is extremely difficult to prove torture. While age old methods of torture such as beating and whipping may leave broken bones and scars, authorities in many countries ranging from the United States to Sri Lanka have distinguished themselves by creating new and unusual methods of torture, both physical and psychological, that leave no lasting trace. Waterboarding, practiced extensively by the US, is one such method. In Sri Lanka, placing a victim’s head in a shopping bag filled with chili powder, has long been a preferred method.

This leads us to the main theme of this article: The manner in which the PTA actually promotes and encourages terrorism, rather than preventing it as its name clearly implies it should.

The kettle and the pressure cooker

Back in 1948, the countries of the world got together and came up with extraordinary statement called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). 

Among many other aspects, the UDHR in the 3rd paragraph of its preamble, states: “Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law”.

Any psychologist or psychiatrist would understand what this means; so would any judge, lawyer, or investigator. Human beings are creatures who need to blow off steam once in a while, like a pressure cooker or an ordinary kettle. Close up the orifice that allows the steam to escape, and the pressure cooker will ultimately explode.

This is why it’s essential that ordinary people be allowed opportunities to vent their frustrations in a non-violent manner. We go and meet our MPs; rant to our friends about the government; we toot our horns; we stand on a curb waving a placard, holding a candle or chanting slogans; or we may march on the streets to where our political representatives happen to be and pressure them to do the right thing.

That’s what brought over a million people to Colombo on July 9, 2022 – the need to vent their frustrations. It ended up with the president running out of the back door of his house and fleeing the country.

But what’s happening now? The authorities are using the PTA to lock up key leaders of the protest movement, for 3 months at least if not for a full year. This has the effect of stifling dissent because people are afraid to publicly protest when they are under the threat of being locked up under the PTA with the clear threat of being tortured. The more one stifles dissent, the more the pressure builds and it would only be a matter of time before at least a few people turn towards violence. That in turn would most likely lead to a government crackdown using the military.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The number of UDHR articles that the PTA thumbs its nose at is indeed staggering.

* Article 3 – Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

* Article 5 – No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

* Article 6 – Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

* Article 8 – Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

* Article 9 – No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

* Article 10 – Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

* Article 11(1) – Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

* Article 12 – No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

* Article 13(1) – Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

* Article 13(2) – Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

* Article 19 – Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

* Article 20(1) – Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

A relic of a barbaric past

To sum up, the PTA is a relic of a barbaric past. It has no place in the legal regimes of the present species, which has evolved far beyond such draconian instruments. The sooner that it is completely repealed, the better it is for Sri Lankans and Sri Lanka in the eyes of the world.

*Niresh Eliatamby, LL.B., LL.M., spent several decades as an investigative journalist for various international and Sri Lanka media. He is currently a lecturer in law for a UK university 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 9
    0

    There are Honourable Members of Parliament and Dishonourable Members of Parliament. The latter group has far more members than the former group. There are several ways to tell them apart. One of the easiest ways to distinguish between them is to see how they vote when an obnoxious bill (like the PTA) is presented in parliament and taken up for voting (sometimes for extending it). The Dishonourable MPs will nearly always vote in favour of obnoxious legislation while the Honourable Members will vote against the same. If you study the individual records of MPs in the matter of supporting the passing of bad laws you can judge each of them very accurately. You will find that all 225 of them are not devious persons as some may claim and there will always be a few good eggs among them.

  • 6
    2

    “the PTA is a relic of a barbaric past”
    That is the choice of Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalism.

  • 8
    1

    Can the PTA be used against the STATE TERRORISM?

    • 6
      2

      A most relevant comment, dear Naman. Your point is that there is far more TERRORISM by the State than by the supposed “Terrorists“.
      .
      I’ve not yet given you a “Thumbs Up” just to see how many will realise the significance of your comment.
      .
      Panini

  • 7
    1

    The writer makes a stunningly smart apropos in, that’s exactly the same as arresting a bunch of people for murder, and then looking around to see whether anyone has in fact been murdered. I relished it!

  • 2
    1

    //Among many other aspects, the UDHR in the 3rd paragraph of its preamble, states: “Whereas it is essential if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law”.//

    The above

  • 3
    2

    //Among many other aspects, the UDHR in the 3rd paragraph of its preamble, states: “Whereas it is essential if a man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law”.//

    The Agralaya protesters took to the streets to protest peacefully against the corrupt, dictatorial and tyrannical rule of the President and Ministers excising their democratic right to protest President Gotabaya Rajapaksa acted like an autocrat when he prohibited the import of chemical fertilizer without any warning or regard to the welfare of poor farmers. He also used/misused his powers to release convicted armymen for killing innocent Tamils.

    The current President Ranil Wickremesinghe railed against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s autocratic rule posing as a champion of democracy and rule of law. Alas by breaking up peaceful rallies and arresting and locking up Agralaya protesters he has proved himself a wolf in sheep’s clothing, planning to kill and eat it!

    Ranil’s supposed democratic credentials are now in ruins. By declaring emergency laws and later invoking the PTA to arrest and detain scores of activists he has made Gotabaya Rajapaksa comparatively a “better” president.

    Law and order would have been easily dealt under normal laws without resorting to PTA, especially after the protesters have called off the protest and started moving out of Galle face green.

  • 0
    0

    Part I:
    Any coin has two sides. Let the protection of fundamental/human rights is one side. Is the other side, the detention of suspected criminals/terrorists for extensive periods without any charge? In the 04/21 saga, officials were found fault for not acting decisively. It is this same human/ fundamental rights argument, coupled with other considerations that retarded the speedy action in good many instances. So, the official and / or judge is between the devil and the deep blue sea, human/fundamental rights or prevention of terrorism/serious crime. If one takes decisive action, come what may, you are under fire for rights violations. If you hesitate, working in the back of one’s mind whether rights are violated then you are charged for murder.
    The solution is the non-abusive implementation of a proper prevention of crimes/terrorisms act. Why must a chap be detained without trial on the approval of a Minister who is a member of a political party and not a judge or an independent tribunal? Why must the detainee be kept in a Police lockup? The biggest drawback is that Mr. Simple Simon can be detained for long without independent examination on the merits of the case.

  • 3
    0

    Part II:
    Though His Èxcellency (pronounced as Oxcellency) Ranil Sriyan Wickremasinghe can pardon a criminal not sentenced to death on his whim, he thought prudent to seek various recommendations and actions as a prerequisite for the pardon of Ranjan Ramanayake. So why can’t Mr. Clean or Mr. Proper Procedure or what ever name one wishes to call, submit all requests for detention to a board of retired judges, inclusive of Human Rights Commission representatives to examine the merits of the case for “preventive detention”. My information is that there are detainees detained for so long without a court trial that had they pleaded guilty at the very inception they would have served the prison sentence and released by now. If Mr. Clean really wants to put things right he must put this right instead of allowing his signature to be prostituted to satisfy the easy going and lazy law enforcement personnel.

  • 1
    5

    How come PREVENTING terrorism is draconian but but not COMMITTING utter barbaric Ealamist-Jihadi terrorism????

  • 1
    9

    Niresh Eliatamby writes:

    “…or we may march on the streets to where our political representatives happen to be and pressure them to do the right thing.

    That’s what brought over a million people to Colombo on July 9, 2022 … It ended up with the president running out of the back door of his house and fleeing the country.”

    Did Niresh live on another planet till yesterday or is he being disingenuous? Does he not know that the main slogan of the protest movement was “Gota Go Home.” They were DEMANDING that GR should resign along with the entire Government headed by him. Coercion, intimidation, violence, disruption, sabotage, etc. were all part of this “peaceful” protest movement. What would have happened if GR had been present in the President’s House on that fateful day? Do I have to spell it out to Niresh?

    Continued…

    • 1
      8

      Continued from last comment.

      NE:
      “But what’s happening now? The authorities are using the PTA to lock up key leaders of the protest movement….”

      Niresh claims to be an expert on the PTA. Then surely he must have read in the Preamble to this Act that those deemed offenders under it are those who “advocate the use of force or the commission of crimes as a means of, or as an aid in, accomplishing GOVERNMENTAL CHANGE [emphasis mine] within Sri Lanka, and who have resorted to acts of murder and threats of murder of members of Parliament … and other acts involving actual or threatened coercion, intimidation and violence.”

      Clearly, the Aragalaya protest movement comes within the scope of this Act.

      • 7
        0

        Dear Leonard,
        .
        PART ONE
        .
        I’ve been cogitating
        on what I’ve been hearing and seeing both on the Internet and as I go about meeting various people here in Bandarawela. Everything appears weird. About four days ago, I got a telephone call from a male nurse in the Welimada Hospital saying that there were three of them who want work in England.
        .
        Today they suddenly turned up; no notification preceded their coming. They quite simply don’t know English. I had told the guy on the phone about Boris Jonson being the current Prime Minister of Britain, but also of his being replaced. Today, I told them about Liz Truss definitely becoming Prime Minister on September 5th, and how Rishi Sunak was missing out. They understood nothing of it. I showed them books of Past Papers, asked them to get their own copies couriered from Colombo Bookshops; I mentioned some bookshops, they had little idea of what they were.

        • 6
          0

          This may be of a piece of genuine information to all who wish to move to the UK/Europe.

          People seem to have expectations without knowing what the needs of the NHS in the UK are. It must be ridiculous to dream of hiring our stupid nurses and doctors. There are enough Russians and Eastern Europeans who fit the qualifications better.

          The basics are far from the general knowledge of our nurses. They overestimate their educational qualifications. I know MBBS PG candidates who came to SL after PG explained something different from the truth. I also know Indian medical graduates who are rejected by NHS in UK.
          It’s more or less the same in Australia; After they leave the country, they become taxi drivers. Some of them may be satisfied with the social/government funds provided to them rather than going to work.

          So I believe, it is time to avoid unnecessary “brain drain” from our poor countries. Free education should be restructured over time, government should count every cent to get rid of debt.

      • 6
        0

        PART TWO
        .
        I had asked them to bring pen drives to give soft copies. Spent 90 minutes with them, then they wanted to leave; I was willing to continue. Then one guy asked about “on-line”; people come out with these mantras! I told them that if they couldn’t understand when meeting face to face, how could this latest magic (I mentioned Zoom, not Microsoft Teams) suddenly solve problems? They were talking about managing with mobile phones, etc. I’m now typing this in, and hoping that readers would understand just how preternatural all this is.
        .
        Let what has already been done off-line (That starts with what I’ve called PART THREE) get put on after this introduction. I tried desperately to communicate with those guys; now I hope that CT readers will understand how potentially explosive all this is. We’ve been misleading, playing games for far too long. I’d like other readers to know that I have no acquaintance whatsoever with Leonard. We’re trusting this make-believe world of technology far too much. Let me put this on and hope some of you take this seriously!

      • 6
        0

        PART THREE
        .
        That the Aragalaya were a pretty mixed bunch of people is something that most Lankans would grant. What some of them did may have been inadvisable, but are you going to lock up people because they were not sophisticated enough to know that you don’t put soap on your body whilst in a pool?
        .
        Think of the context, the pass to which the country had come to because of the corruption of the Rajapaksas, and Gota’s idiotic Agricultural policies. I grant that Ranil & Co. have covered their actions legally, but for your notions of what is just and moral you draw on your Christian upbringing and faith. I was also brought up an Anglican Christian, and although I no longer take seriously anything to do with the supernatural, I retain a familiarity with Jesus’s notions of legality and non-violence.

      • 5
        0

        PART FOUR
        .
        There are clear records to indicate that Jesus did use a good deal of force during the last five days of his life, following his entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. I refer particularly to his driving the money-changers out of the Temple in Jerusalem. To argue out the case here would be unrealistic, but I have looked at these blogs. I’m trying hard to be fair, although I know that some will think that I’m using all convenient material, unfairly. In other words, that I’m the Devil using Scripture.
        .
        https://www.learnreligions.com/jesus-clears-the-temple-bible-story-700066
        .
        That really happened, didn’t it? And that led directly to Caiaphas manipulating the Roman Governor, Pilate, to get Jesus crucified, against Pilate’s own judgement and inclination. There were grains of virtue in these people, although they were essentially selfish and corrupt, just like our politicians. But I don’t think that we are being morally “bad” when we appeal to the World to look at what is happening and help rid us of “these fellows.”

      • 5
        0

        PART FIVE
        .
        By “these fellows” I mean the corrupt SLPP MPs; also Ranil who was clearly “DISAPPROVED OF” by the people in August 2020.
        .
        As for the Biblical background, consider also these:
        .
        https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart_1314.cfm
        .
        and since I was puzzled myself about “Joseph, son of Caiaphas“, I looked here:
        .
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caiaphas
        .
        There’s no point speculating what may have happened had Gota been discovered in “President’s House.” Some of the Aragalaya folk meticulously counted the cash found there, and handed it over to the police. Others may have been less disciplined. The fact is that Gota is still alive.
        .
        Let’s eschew sophistry and talk of real values. I don’t advocate or condone violence, but an MP was killed. Most Lankans now consider all the SLPP politicians to be crooks. What is sad, but understandable, is that the collective “retribution” that came their way. And if nemesis catches up with Ranil and the SLPP, I will not mourn for them.

      • 5
        0

        PART SIX
        .
        Let this legal but illegitimate government do its worst;
        our protests are raising sufficient stench for other countries, who might otherwise have assisted our government, to re-think their responses. We do not like the suffering around us. We advocate early elections and thereby the replacement of the crooks with honest persons. It is not as though I’m irresponsibly advocating all this from the safety of foreign climes. I have won for myself the right to protest by continuing to live amidst all the hardship in Bandarawela.
        .
        Allow early elections, cutting this Gordian Knot. But let us not delude ourselves that this will ease the economic problems that remain now. For years, may be for decades, I know that we, and our descendants we will suffer.
        .
        Let me finish for today by linking you to all this:
        .
        https://www.youtube.com/hashtag/worldatwar
        .
        How did I get there? I was led to this by the computer:
        .
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lAZ00357ls
        .
        New material, only five hours old.

      • 5
        0

        PART SEVEN
        .
        Host Mohamed Saleh. The moment some see a Muslim-sounding name, they think of some conspiracy theories. Won’t do! A guy could have a name, but could have changed his faith and his belief. What he presents has an air of credibility. I can’t handle this by myself; let me see what other readers make of this.
        .
        After that, there was this, with lots about Hambantota, and the ship “Yuan Wang 5”.
        .
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0jorF5xPfA
        .
        How can anybody keep abreast of all this? There’s so much of this stuff! Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four wasn’t as confusing as this! Whom does one trust? I wouldn’t normally have thought that Planet Earth’s Eco-systems would have the resilience to absorb all this punishment. It looks as though such thoughts of mine were wrong.
        .
        Confused as the entire world may be, it seems worst here in Lanka. But, ultimately, it seems to me that the one thing that we must do here is to re-set the entire system of government.
        .
        Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V) of Bandarawela

        • 3
          0

          Although this comment will carry the same date as the preceding comments, I’m writing this almost 22 hours later.
          .
          I was truly shocked that so much stuff on War is on the Web. Is the effect to glorify war, or what? What do we do to combat all this evil?
          .
          I’m disappointed to find that nobody has commented on all this, although it appears to have been seen. Some have liked my comments. Why?
          .
          I don’t like to see so much of conflict. How do we stop it? For a start with more fair-play. This is why I wish we could face up to the need to have an acceptable government in Lanka. Have elections here as early as possible.

  • 5
    2

    Dear Niresh Eliatamby.
    .
    I agree absolutely with what you say. This PTA is totally unacceptable.
    .
    Here’s something else that is also unacceptable, when seen in its context. I mean some details in this report:
    .
    http://www.colombopage.com/archive_22B/Aug26_1661520993CH.php
    .
    I’m certainly happy with most of what is in that story; but not with one seemingly insignificant detail, which matters a lot.
    .
    “Disappointed to learn that he was released under 34 (1) (d) of the constitution which is merely a remission of his sentence rather than a full pardon with his civic and political rights intact under 34 (2),” Premadasa tweeted.
    .
    “This means he is disqualified from holding political office. Utterly disappointed!” he said.
    .
    Ramanayake has been pardoned under Article 34 (1) by President Ranil Wickremesinghe, which is a conditional pardon and will not restore his political or civil rights to hold office.
    .
    Sajith Premadasa, who is no great favourite of mine, has said it perfectly here.
    .
    As I type this in at 00.09 (just after midnight) on 27/08/2022, there are no comments on this story visible. Let me see what others make of this.
    .
    If the details given here are correct, this is shocking.
    .
    Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V) of Bandarawela

    • 5
      2

      This link to Satahan Radio will, I believe, connect you to all their videos, which are in Sinhalese:
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/c/SatahanRadio/videos
      .
      I have just listened to this programme, which has appeared only two hours ago, and made a brief comment:
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Xb6PTKEilo
      .
      The speaker here is Tharindu Uduwaragedara, and he starts by speaking about Wasantha Mudalige whose arrest under the PTA has shocked the world, for the time being. The World is now concerned, but will soon forget. The repression will, as Tharindu says, gradually broaden out, and encompass us all. Let us hope that the man responsible for this, Ranil Wickremasinghe, will soon get removed; how, I don’t know, and don’t much care.
      .
      We must come to terms with is the fact that the Internet already contains such a lot of information that none of us can monitor even a millionth part of it. That is right, I typed “even a millionth” and I meant that literally.
      .
      In commenting here I am taking account of the fact that many on this English website will not understand Sinhalese. If anything I have said is inaccurate, will some other Sinhala speaker please point it out.

    • 6
      0

      Sorry to tag on to your comment, Sinhala_Man.
      The release is not what it is purported to be.
      How did RR agree to such a sham.

      • 1
        0

        N
        Sham release or not, life behind bards loses its charm very fast.
        Do not seek heroes where only ordinary mortals are.

        • 0
          0

          Sorry, ‘life behind bars’

    • 5
      2

      The time now is 01:47, Lankan time. Colombo Telegraph is an old-fashioned website, with a good deal of transparency. To me, it seems that a group of readers go round pressing the Red Thumbs Down button, signifying DISAPPROVAL. I naturally resent that, but I rejoice that the button works here, although it doesn’t work on YouTube.
      .
      “leelagemalli” has got cheesed with me recently because he keeps sending me because he keeps sending me bits of known information (like Gota is trying to get accepted in the USA.) I don’t know whether he comments on those, and under what name. I only know that few of the comments attracted by such videos are worth reading or are even intelligently written. The commonest comment in Sinhala orthography is “niyamai“; in English, “grate” (it doesn’t get underlined because there is Myrrhine’s cheesegrater which Lysistrata disapproves of.) Some get the spelling right: “Great!
      .
      Compare with the 341 comments here:
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hn0IS-vlwCI
      .
      They comment on the historic occasion, but in these 16,022 comments the emphasis is on the content.
      .
      And YouTube hasn’t dared insert their distracting advertisements.
      .
      If people refuse to make deductions from what I say, what can I do? Write a book? It definitely won’t be read!!
      .
      Submitting at 02:50. Fourteen comments now visible.

      • 5
        1

        Apologies! I haven’t given you the link to the place where there were 16,022 comments.
        .
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOjHhS5MtvA
        .
        One of them was by me, submitted ten months ago. I don’t think that you will succeed in finding it, but I can, easily. This is another bit of “dishonesty” – harmless here – that YouTube regularly practices. With me logged into YouTube, I’m shown mine as the “Top Comment”.
        .
        This is the conductor of the “historic” recording, (which was the last concert that he himself conducted) talking about The Ninth Symphony.
        .
        However, it did matter that for a long time I was deluded that the “Top Comment”, made seven years earlier was mine, although not one person has yet liked it! If you spend an hour, I’m sure that you’ll find it; 520 words long, but only about the first fifty will be displayed until you click for more. I’m going to submit it now, as THREE PARTS.
        .
        Dear “leelagemalli”, this is the two-minute English Aragale clip that I forgot to give you about ten days ago:
        .
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAazfxNLfFk
        .
        The kid’s mother, Nadhee Wandurangala, has been the Confidential Secretary to many Anglican Bishops of Colombo.

        • 3
          0

          Dear Gambadaiskolemahaththaya,

          thanks for the link.
          .
          Greetings,
          LM

      • 4
        1

        And now I haven’t given you the conductor (Bernstein’s) six-minute musings on the Ninth Symphony.
        .
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCiz9XMW_jA
        .
        Young children are adept at doing these things on the computer and the mobile phone; we old guys “struggle” – listen for Bernstein’s use of the word “struggle” – unfortunately he didn’t know “Aragalaya” because that is the meaning he was giving.
        .
        Panini Edirisinhe of Bandarawela
        .

    • 1
      3

      SM,
      “Ramanayake has been pardoned under Article 34 (1) by President Ranil Wickremesinghe, which is a conditional pardon and will not restore his political or civil rights to hold office.”
      What do you think of the fact that Sadda Vidda Rajapaksa Palanga Pathira Ambakumarage Ranjan Leo Sylvester, a Roman Catholic, eleected to worship at a Buddhist temple immediately upon his release?
      I seems hypocrisy is found in unexpected places.

      • 5
        0

        Dear oc,
        .
        I know next to nothing about Ranjan Ramanayake, but I did know that his “real” name is different, and I know that his background is Roman Catholic. I’ve not seen his films, but I know what he’s been doing in politics.
        .
        In this country most Sinhalese politicians do tend to associate themselves with Buddhism. Yes, it may be hypocrisy, I don’t know. Even a guy like me, whose entire background is Christian (not quite, my maternal grandfather was classified as “Buddhist”) realises that I was following a religion introduced by aliens. There still is a good deal of Christian culture in me, and I have never associated myself culturally with any other religion.
        .
        However, I’m not going to rush in to call RR, or even SWRDB a hypocrite. OTOH, I’m genuinely disappointed now with your politics. RR amd Sarath Fonseka didn’t deserve to be treated so shamefully. The contrast with the treatment accorded to so many other Rajapaksa and Ranil favourites damns our country.
        .
        And how can you reconcile yourself with seeing Ranil strutting around as Executive President until 2024? Unacceptable to me!

  • 5
    0

    “The PTA hangs over the heads of all independent journalists like the proverbial Sword of Damocles.”
    If so, fortunately, there are very few “independent journalists” these days.

  • 6
    0

    Here’s my YouTube comment submitted 17th January 2015, nine days after the Presidential Election won by Sirisena.
    .
    Panini Edirisinhe
    7 years ago
    .
    Dear MIA,

    .
    I have listened carefully to what you have to say, and I think it’s O.K. for these to be your perceptions. 
    .
    In the run up to the elections I’ve been posting many comments calling myself “Sinhala_Man”, mostly in “Colombo Gazette”.  In those honest comments I was trying to say that we, Sinhalese, had to be reasonable in our attitudes to the minorities.  Now, unless I know how to cheat Channel 4, my comments must appear with my name and photograph.
    .

    The problem with what you say is that you don’t seem to take account of the fact that we have to contend with an electorate which is overwhelmingly Sinhalese.  Now, in 2015, you are a little more than half my age.  When the horrible end to the war occurred, I guess I was twice your age (which I have checked just now on Wikipedia).  See what I mean?  The young age faster! 
    .
    Yes, we used to see you screaming hatred towards all Sinhalese; your performance here is much more rational.

    • 4
      0

      PART TWO

      Now, could you please suggest a feasible way forward? 
      .
      Maithripala Sirisena is emphatically not the same as Mahinda Rajapaksa.  Please try to understand him, and the task that he has before him. 
      .
      We must necessarily have parliamentary elections, and I tell you, that you, too, if you are to be taken seriously, must now help us to overcome those among the Sinhalese who are more suspicious of Tamils than I. 
      .
      As I said, in starting, I agree with almost everything you have said, but nobody who wants to win an election in Sri Lanka can do so unless he/she is willing to shield the perpetrators of war crimes from trial at The Hague.  I think we (we all share a common identity as human beings, which is why the interviewer – although familiar with him, I cannot remember his name – shows concern for what you are saying), yes, we have to now formulate a modus vivendi which will allow voices of reason to prevail. Among the comments below is one by Arya Nayagam which I found extremely disturbing. I’ve “researched it” on the web, and I’ve found this:
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/minister-maithripala-sirisenas-son-brandished-a-gun-at-unp-kris-balathazaar/

    • 4
      0

      PART THREE

      I’m still worried, and be sure that I will pass my concerns on to some people whom I got to know during the election campaign where I did what little I could to ensure a victory for Maithripala Sirisena.  There are other Sinhalese who have done much more than I would dare. 

      Please see this YouTube clip.  I established direct contact with the speaker only recently, and you will find that the last comment (as of now) made 9 months ago, was by me.  Having put it on I was horrified that my name appeared there.  I am much less afraid now that Maithri is in charge.
      .

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spBXxT5dVf0
      .

      Well, we all have to die once, and only once!   However, the bottom line is this: you have spoken rationally in this clip.  Please try to be a little more rational and try to help us build a better Sri Lanka, and a better world!
      *
      *
      I crave the indulgence of all readers: Almost everything in these FOUR PARTS had been done, off-line. on Saturday morning when the power cut came, unexpected by me. I’m now submitting it after midnight, so they’ll have Sunday’s date.

    • 2
      0

      PART FOUR
      ***
      *
      I told MIA all the above seven years ago. I embedded that 12-minute YouTube from Dr Vikremabahu Karunaratne, whom I haven’t interacted with for four years; Bahu got angry with me for daring to vote for the “JVP”. I called his number today, but it was off. I had a long chat with his friend who wrote this article, and lives in Dehiwela:
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/seventy-years-after-independence-a-modest-balance-sheet/
      .
      I will email them both; will I be charged under PTA by Ranil? Before that I had a WhatsApp chat with Professor Jeevan Hoole. In Ranil’s Utopia, do I, as a “Sinhalese”, have the right to talk to a Tamil? BTW, I find that Wasantha Mudalige is from Dambana, Mahiyangana. I’ve just tried calling Mr Shelton Nandasiri who teaches English in that Vedda school; no response.
      .
      Help! Native Vedda, does he still teach there? His English was not great, and he is underpaid; but he is a brilliant and dedicated teacher, who speaks the Vedda language. He knows that “kaputa” is “crow” in English. So how to teach English to Veddas? When LM comes to Lanka, we could visit Dambana, but LM now is Ranil’s friend.
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe

    • 2
      0

      https://youtu.be/MmbhjfCU8bY
      .
      I’m so sorry, it looks as though I hadn’t given the link to the MIA interview.

      There it is, above.

      This is from my mobile phone. I’m in a thosai cafe named Anoopoorna. They are afraid of all that I’m saying.
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe

      NIC 4383111444V

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 5 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.