3 August, 2021

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Sri Lanka’s Steady Sliding Towards A Military Dictatorship

By Thambu Kanagasabai

Thambu Kanagasabai

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s compelling necessity to install a military dictator rule is due to many reasons, some of which can be listed as follows: The military mindset of the President is also an underlying factor propelling and influencing his thinking.

1. He has to put an end to the accusations of UNHRC, UN and other civil groups, namely the commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity etc. He has to avoid the principle of command responsibility for those alleged commission of crimes,

2. He is facing suits for alleged bribery and corruption charges including money laundering while serving as a Defence Secretary during the war.

3. He owes a moral and unavoidable obligation to protect his loyal military officials and family members from any prosecution.

4. He is expanding the role of the military in  the civil administration of the country with an agenda of militarization which is in progress with full swing particularly in the north and  east of Sri Lanka.

5. He has to silence the voices of minority Tamils and Muslims and by taking action in violation of their human rights like the destruction of Mullivakkal Memorial Monument and Stone on May 12, 2021 in the North.

6. He accelerated the Buddhisisation and Sinhalisation in the North and East to achieve the goal of making Sri Lanka a pure Sinhala Buddhist state. as vowed by him

7. He has to silence the opposition parties and critics including the emerging criticism from some Buddhist clergy members.

8. His family members almost control the wealth, economy and administration of Sri Lanka where one notices his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa – Prime Minister is in charge of seven Ministries and his other brother Chamal Rajapaksa with six Ministries  with a total of 145 state institutions are said to be under the control of Rajapaksa’s family members including Namal Rajapaksa and Basil Rajapaksa. 

The moves and actions of former President Rajapaksa and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa since assuming office are writings on the wall for impending fostering of a military dictatorship. 

Some of the moves can be listed as follows:

[a] Ban on 11 Muslim Organizations and closure of 1,000 Islamic Schools. 

[b] Ban on Burqa dress for the Muslims which is a violation of the fundamental right of a citizen.

[c] Arbitrary arrests of Richard Bathiudeen MP and his brother in the midnight under the draconian PTA, and not informing the Speaker before the arrest. 

[d] The arrests and detention of Jaffna Mayor Manivannan under Draconian PTA on unfounded allegations of inciting violence is an act of political revenge.

[e] Appointing Military Officers to key civil positions and controlling civil administration like Major Shavendra Silva’s appointment as the Chief for Covid Pandemic, a prescribed job of health officials. 

[f] The appointment of several President’s Special Task Forces[STF] to handle civil functions which are officially entrusted to civil officials of each region. Eg. A task force for Archaeological Heritage Management in the East was appointed solely to explore and search for Sinhalese Buddhist historical evidence and another Task Force was appointed “To build a secure country, disciplined, virtuous and lawful society.” which implies that Sri Lanka’s societies are undisciplined, not virtuous and non law abiding. 

[g] Destruction of Mullivakkal Monument Stone by the Sri Lankan forces on May 12 2021 and another earlier destruction of Mullivakkal Memorial constructed by the Jaffna University students.

[h] A regulation passed. under PTA allows “People to be detained without proving any wrong doings or any offence” This is clearly an act of State Terrorism, defying the judiciary and rule of law and mainly targeting the Tamils.

[i] Accountability, justice and reconciliation for the 72 years old ethnic problem have been swept under the carpet and kept in limbo.

[j] Extrajudicial killings have become common like the recent killings of two criminals who were brought out from jail and shot by the Police. 

[k] A Resolution on April 9th 2021 tabled in parliament containing recommendations of Political Victimization Commission seek “To exonerate, pardon and free all security personnel and state officials who committed war crimes and other crimes including bribery, corruption and money laundering etc. 

[l] Preventing memorial events to mourn the dead in the North and East for those who were killed like banning the University of Jaffna students to conduct a memorial event on May 18, 2021

[m] A statement of President Gotabaya made a few months back reveals his dictatorial attitude when he allegedly stated that “My spoken words must be considered as written statements and those who fail to implement them will be punished.”

This is a typical statement of a dictator taking the law in to his own hands and defying the principle of natural justice which demands that an affected person must be given the opportunity to explain his position before any decision or judgement is passed. 

[n] A recent Directive issued by IGP C.D. Wickremaratne “Warned of strict legal action against those who spread or share false malicious information, news, messages and also threatened to arrest those who criticize Public Officials involved in Covid-19 control”. 

This directive is an assault on one of the pillars of democracy, freedom of speech and expression by a citizen or media, this being clearly a dictatorial caveat from a dictatorial administration. It is reported that several arrests have been made under this directive.

[o] The recent appointment of Former IGP Jayantha Wickramaratne as a member of OMP who was in charge of the three Police Units involved in mass disappearances at the end of the war is like appointing an accused criminal to function as a judge, jury and witness go investigate his own case. This appointment is nothing but a brazen insult to the victims and relatives of thousands of disappeared persons during the war. This is another dictatorial action of the Government which is discarding accountability and justice. 

Above all the 20th constitutional amendment passed on October 25, 2020 has blessed the President consolidating his powers and ensuring a dictatorial rule with absolute impunity under Article 35 “which states anything done or committed to be done by him either in his official or private capacity cannot be challenged in any Courts of law”.  

Undoubtedly this is a hundred percent impunity for the President exempting him from criminal or civil action. This completes full impunity for the President from the long arm of the law with the judiciary being relegated and made impotent as a main pillar of democracy. 

The April 9, 2021 Resolution furthermore seeks to take revenge on those who investigated and prosecuted for the conviction of military and state officials and those who instituted legal actions against them including the Police and Prosecutors. This Resolution when passed will lead to the glorification of the war criminals and preserving their impunity while prosecuting those who sought to uphold accountability and justice to the victims of crimes.

Madam Jasmin Sooka’s – International Truth and Justice Project – Sri Lanka [ITJP] comments expose the dangers of the Task Forces appointed by the Rajapaksa’s when she stated that these “Task Forces are only creating a parallel state giving the President, his family and former military Commanders unparalleled control over patronage networks and the use of public assets.” A total of eight Task Forces have so far been appointed to handle civil affairs which would drain state funds and resources to the betterment of few. Most of these Task forces will have no supervision by civil servants or Parliament and will have a free and unchecked run in the civil lives providing ample opportunities for corruption, misuse of funds and abuse of power. 

In short, a looming death knell for democracy is on the horizon with the agenda of genocide against the Tamils which will eventually ensure their gradual extinction as a race to make Sri Lanka a pure SINHALA BUDDHIST MILITARIZED DICTATORSHIP with an entrenched culture of impunity shielding Rajapaksas. their family and friends from the reach of the long arm of law and judiciary being relegated and robbed of its role and functions. 

*Thambu Kanagasabai, LLM  – London, Former Lecturer in Law, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

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Latest comments

  • 19
    7

    Feel very relieved that at least now the 6.9 Million SL voters of 2019 (hopefully genuine number and not stuffed as has happened before) are and would be content and happy that their prayers have been answered.

    • 13
      1

      Mahila, you would be happier, all these 6.9 millions would have learnt a lession. :
      :
      I ll bet you, they would not in forseeable times.
      :
      Just look at the manner some become proactive thesedays promoting bastard SON of Rajapakshe contesting for next presidency.. ….. as my granny said once, if POISONOUS snakes were destroyed from the backyards, only then we could think of living that place in piece. Likewise, so long Rajaakshes are alive, SRILANKA s sinking cant be unstoppable. It is like a KUNUKANDHA in Wanathamulla, there are lot more pray for its existence than its removal from the place. TYPICAL nature of third world country politics….. and much more complicated than the westerners think of them. In order to realize the gravity of the problems that we face for so many decades, you should have lived in that country at least for a long period.

      • 0
        1

        LM,
        There is no indication for me to be happy.
        The abyss seems to be very deep and can not comfort myself these voters did not laearn a lesson from 2010 to 2014, are able to do so even now.
        They are unconcerned, is my view, very regrettably. Sorry Sri Lanka.

  • 6
    0

    Sri Lanka’s Steady Sliding Towards A Military Dictatorship?
    Sri Lanka’s Steady Slide Towards A Military Dictatorship.

  • 2
    17

    Military takeover is the only way forward for Sorry Lanka.

    President, parliament, PCs and LGs are all incompetent and failures.

    • 4
      1

      JATAM

      “President, parliament, PCs and LGs are all incompetent and failures.”

      Do you think Shavendra, Kamal(a) + 15,000 generals serving the Sri Lankan state efficiently and successfully?

      • 1
        1

        NV,
        They are doing the job very well indeed.
        They are also now investigating how the Sathosa warehouse in the ancient capital ruled by Devanampiyatissa (dictionary is prompting “Devanampiya Tissa” or as per the past CM of NP “Devanambiya Teesan” – choose your preference) was robbed.
        Material at issue is, as to the loss of 800 bottles of the drink that is made from water in Scotland.
        Birds Whisper is that there was another party, during the pandemic.
        800 X 8 = 6400 participants at least to commemorate in and during a pandemic, would have indeed been a very GOOD party of “Merry men and also perhaps women”, now they too are allowed in this meritorious service.

        Many more good tidings to come ahead!

  • 13
    0

    Aiyo, again and again.
    Whom you suspect would be dictators are already in power.
    And this democracy based on sycophancy offers them more flexibility for autocratic
    decision making, nepotism, favouritism and embezzlement.
    Why would they go for unnecessary trouble?

    Soma

    • 1
      0

      Wonderful comment.
      .
      I just couldn’t believe it was you, soma. But it is.
      .
      I checked the gravatar with what you had appeared on the recent Arumuga Navalar article, and it is the same.
      .
      So you don’t approve of the way that the Double-Paksas are now running the country.
      .
      If you have realised that now, then there surely must be hope for Lanka.

    • 0
      0

      Sinhala_man
      Our democracy has always been that.
      It offers our politicos more flexibility for autocratic decision making, nepotism, favouritism and embezzlement.
      Any fear of an existing government going authoritarian is ridiculous to me me.
      To gain what?

      Soma

  • 13
    1

    What we know for sure from experience is that this country will never produce a true leader. Even if by some rare chance a capable and principled presidential or prime ministerial candidate stood for election, people will not vote for him. The majority would rather vote for crooks and criminals like chain snatchers, drug dealers, moonshine merchants, pickpockets, and confidence tricksters.

    • 0
      1

      CM
      What you mean to say is vote to the same ilk or category, so yhat they could thrive?
      Very sad state of affairs. Regrettable hat this happens in Sri Lanka today.
      Beautiful country gone to the Dogs for the last 20years or so.
      I was expectant that after the last presidential and parliamentary elections, wisdom will dawn and an educated classy rulers would emerge!
      No salvation in sight poor for Sri Lankans.

  • 12
    1

    Sri Lanka now has a “terrorist regime” in the guise of an “elected democracy”.
    This piece of news has now spread internationally.
    SL can now be called a “pariah state”.

  • 11
    1

    99% of the Chingkallams love racists and will only elect racist dictator crooks as they reflect what they think/want and themselves too. They also love Mahavamasam myths and think that this anti Thamizh diatribe is 100% historically accurate. Cannot even read through the lines and see the truth. What else can you expect. The Eezham Thamizh or Thamizh speaking north and east, should separate and become another state of India. Let the Chingkallams rot in their own making. China can eat them.

    • 2
      6

      PK
      I don’t see much difference with the SL Tamils
      when I see the Tiger flag flying high and VP being venerated by the Tamils .

      So we could say that the feeling is mutual.

      Moda South Asians ……….

      • 5
        1

        Lots of difference Chingkallams have committed structural genocide, ethnic cleansing and war crimes on Thamizh and even the UN acknowledge it. They have used their majority that was only given to them by the British on a platter, to behave very badly and commit all these acts. Thamizh whether they haul the Tiger flag, which by the way is the flag of the Thamizh Cholas and not the LTTE and venerate Prapakaran have not committed these acts. Vast diffenrence. No wonder you are Whimpy.

        • 0
          4

          PK
          .
          ‘Chingkallams have committed structural genocide, ethnic cleansing and war crimes on Thamizh and even the UN acknowledge it. Thamizh……have not committed these acts.’
          .
          The Tamil UN HR chief Navi Pillay called the Tamil LTTE murderous and ruthless but you know better.

          • 0
            4

            Paul
            Please do not waste your breath with purveyors of racist bigotry. You only encourage them to flog more and more of their venomous merchandise.
            Is is sad that CT which, despite its obvious political bias, can be a platform for serious or at least civilized discussion of matters of national importance, allows itself to be saturated with venomous hatred that will only destroy the kind of goodwill that we need to rebuild the country.
            Most of these characters live abroad and promote views whose consequences will be suffered by others.
            It is even sadder that people who talk of justice and fair play do not care to comment on such mischief. (Some do depending on which side of the communal divide that it is coming from.)

            • 5
              0

              Here comes the self hating Thamizh pathetic, who constantly leaps to the defense of Chingkalla racists and Thulluka extremists and keeps on attacking every Thamizh here , just for the sake of attacking, to feel important and to find favour with Chingkallams and Thullkans. Does not know anything but pretends to know everything and in the end makes an idiot of himself.

          • 3
            0

            Ah, the Chingkalla racist who pretends that he is moderate but constantly defends Chingkalla racism and all his comments ooze of racism against Thamizh . Has again come to defend another Chingkalla racist. Was defending the London based Jester and his racist anti Thamizh comments and how the Whimp. The LTTE is definitely murderous against anti Thamizh and definitely ruthless. However still the LTTE and the Thamizh have not committed structural genocide and war crimes on other people. Even as per your government statistics the LTTE i s responsible for the killing of only around 3000 Chingkalla and Thulluka civilians. This is not even 1% of the killings and atrocities that took place in the island. 99% of this was done by the Sri Lankan state and its armed forces and more than 90% of their victims were innocent Thamizh civilians. They deliberately targeted them and are still targeting them even 12 years after the demise of the LTTE but you know all this but like 99% of the Chingkallams keep on repeating lies and deliberately twist and mislead. There would have been no LTTE, if the Thamizh were treated with justice and dignity. The LTTE is the child of state sponsored Chingkalla racism and terrorism against the Thamiznh , that was and is still backed by most Chingkallams. Even the so called western educated elite. You are a very good example.

          • 3
            0

            Do not cunningly try to equate what the LTTE did with state sponsored Sinhalese racism, war crimes and genocide against the island’s Tamils. The former was a guerilla organization or a liberation movement, that only came into exitance due to state sponsored Sinhalese racism and marginalization of the island’s Tamils and what they did is nothing compared to what the Sinhalese state did to the Tamils and is still doing in the name of Sinhalese Buddhist Fascism. The Sri Lankan government is a state and has the obligation and duty to treat all its citizens irrespective or ethnicity , language and religion the same but they failed to do so abysmally from the day of independence and started to only consider the Sinhalese only as citizens and the island’s Tamils as outsiders , only worthy of scorn, derision and objects of state sponsored violence, ethnic cleansing, marginalization and war crimes. They even brain washed the Sinhalese people to think in this manner and your comments prove , how successful they have been in this respect. Trying to compare the what the LTTE did to the large scale atrocities that the Sri Lankan state did to the Tamils, adn justifying this, is deliberately trying to mislead and belittle what happened to us and what is still happening to us.

  • 6
    0

    The failiure of democracy as a result of corruption and nephotism , lawlessnes and lack of commitment of politicians and those who vote for them has paved the way to a military dictatorship.

    Don’t cry for me Sri Lanka……

    • 2
      0

      Whimpy Kid I agree with you.

    • 2
      0

      All these are secondary issues resulted from one and only primary genocidal motivation of making the Island as the Sinhala Buddhist ghetto.

      Only Eezham Tamils have been putting up resistance to it because it is their home before Sinhalese.

      • 2
        0

        You are very correct in your analysis and spot on. It was only the indigenous Eelam or native Sri Lankan Tamils from the north and east, who fought against this genocidal motive of making the island an exclusive Sinhalese Buddhist ghetto, using the resources of the state, the power of the armed forces, the police and fake history that was and is still being created by the so called Archeological Department, that has now become the refuge of many Sinhalese Buddhist extremists. We are the only people who put up resistance to this state sponsored Sinhalization programs ,as this island is our only home and we have been here long before, Buddhism arrived or a people called Sinhalese evolved from the indigenous Dravidians and various immigrants from India, again largely from the Dravidian Tamil country. Tamil and Saivaism has been here long before Sinhalese or Buddhism and the North and East had always been our land, where we have lived and ruled, before European colonization until the British handed these Tamil lands to the Sinhalese on a platter. All other communities are of recent immigrant origin The Indian origin Tamils , the Muslim Tamils or Moors, the Burghers, Malays. Therefore they did not care or cooperated like in the case of the Moors or did not put up resistance for this reason.

        • 2
          0

          One senior Indian Minister of Tamil ethnicity not realizing this made a stupid comment, as to why can’t the Sri Lankan or Eelam Tamils be like the other two Tamil communities. Either did not want to acknowledge or had the intelligence to realize the reason is because the Sri Lankan Tamils are native and indigenous and the other two Tamil communities are recent immigrants from India and the island, especially the North and east is our home, where our identity evolved and we created our history, that the Sinhalese our deliberately trying to erase and steal with the help of converted Tamil Muslim immigrant refugees from South India. This is why we were fought for it lost so much to defend our land.
          Therefore they did not care or cooperated like in the case of the Moors or did not put up resistance for this reason. One senior Indian Minister of Tamil ethnicity not realizing this made a stupid comment, as to why can’t the Sri Lankan or Eelam Tamils be like the other two Tamil communities.

          • 2
            0

            Either did not want to acknowledge or had the intelligence to realize the reason is because the Sri Lankan Tamils are native and indigenous and the other two Tamil communities are recent immigrants from India and the island, especially the North and east is our home, where our identity evolved and we created our history, that the Sinhalese our deliberately trying to erase and steal with the help of converted Tamil Muslim immigrant refugees from South India. This is why we were fought for it lost so much to defend our land.

            sorry Sinhalese are deliberately and not Sinhalese our deliberately

  • 1
    0

    Whimpy Kid I agree with you.

  • 1
    0

    The writer very clearly and simply exposed the militarization and military rule in key positions. Pardoning hard core criminals and impunity to almost all security forces and Government Officials who commits crimes is a challenge to democracy and rule of law.
    The International Community is not going to allow this and already EU and US has shown their anger regarding the continuing human rights violations.

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