26 February, 2020

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Sweeping Thugs Under The Rug

By Kath Noble

Kath Noble

An awful lot of effort is being put into bringing the killers of Khuram Shaikh to trial. The British aid worker died in Tangalle in December 2011, having been set upon by a group of men at a party in the hotel in which he was staying. His girlfriend was raped.

Of course the people who did it should be punished. His brother is doing what is both right and natural in using every opportunity to press the Government to move ahead with the investigation. And his MP, Simon Danczuk, should be congratulated for taking his job as a representative of the British people seriously – in addition to speaking and writing about the case, he has now visited Sri Lanka a number of times, most recently last week as a member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association delegation.

It is also virtually guaranteed that they are correct in thinking that without this pressure, very little would happen. The main suspect is the Chairman of the Pradeshiya Sabha – a member of the UPFA.

But what is everybody else doing?

The British government is pretending to think that this incident suggests that Sri Lanka is a dangerous place for foreigners, having incorporated it into their travel advisory in an extremely dubious manner. It says, ‘Organised and armed gangs are known to operate in Sri Lanka and have been responsible for targeted kidnappings and violence. While there is no evidence to suggest that British nationals are at particular risk, gangs have been known to operate in tourist areas. A British national was killed during a violent attack by a gang in a tourist resort in December 2011.’

All of these sentences are factually accurate, but they don’t go together – Khuram Shaikh died because he got between some drunkards and a woman, as happens on a regular basis throughout the world, including in Britain.

What is specific to Sri Lanka is that when they have political connections, they expect to get away with it.

This is what the British government would say if it were genuinely interested in justice.

It is what the international media should say too.

The case has generated significant coverage, particularly in British newspapers. They are most concerned about what they describe as the extraordinary delay in the prosecution of Sampath Chandra Pushpa Vidanapathirana and his associates – 18 months on, proceedings have yet to get underway in the High Court.

Actually, this is completely normal in Sri Lanka. But nowhere do journalists attempt to put the incident in the proper context.

Last week, a short film on the murder of Khuram Shaikh was published by The New Yorker. Mysteriously, it spent most of the 15 minutes suggesting that his parents are racists, on the basis that they didn’t attend his brother’s marriage to a white woman, while his family have avoided telling them that Khuram Shaikh spent his last minutes trying to defend his girlfriend – another white woman. Surely there are better ways to raise such issues than exposing people who have lost a child to violence!

In the brief interlude in which it touched on the actual case, the documentary implied that cover-ups are a result of the war victory, whereas Sri Lankans know very well that this is hardly a recent phenomenon, even if it has been getting worse under Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Why worry about these details? Why not just be happy that the Government is being forced by all this attention to take action against at least one set of thugs?

Well, dishonesty begets dishonesty.

The Government is really quite stupid. It should have realised from the beginning that doing nothing was not an option, given that Khuram Shaikh was British.

But now that it has understood the situation, it is certain that the trial will go ahead eventually. What is not at all sure is whether the perpetrators will be found guilty, what sentences they will be given, under what conditions these will be served and whether they will at some point be given pardons – the traditional method of getting out of such fixes.

Finally, this is also what is going to happen with regard to war crimes.

When the Government realises that it is going to be impossible to avoid the issue altogether, it will decide which handful of incidents are the least problematic for it to look into, a few scapegoats will be identified and prosecutions will commence. If they are lucky, the accused may even be offered some kind of compensation for the inconvenience.

This is not justice.

Nor does it help to ensure that exactly the same fate doesn’t befall somebody else.

At some point, the international community will either get distracted or profess to be satisfied with what is bound to be an unsatisfactory outcome if the real nature of the problem is not exposed, and that will be the end of the matter.

In this way, something can actually be worse than nothing.

Khuram Shaikh’s case is the tip of a huge iceberg – politics in Sri Lanka is riddled with thugs, and the Government’s tolerance of their antics is legendary. Keeping up with developments in Kelaniya alone is enough to drive a person to despair. Most recently, we have been informed that former DIG Vass Gunawardena extorted several million rupees from Mervyn Silva’s parliamentary secretary – who is apparently at the top of the Police hit list of drug traffickers – to refrain from pursuing him on drugs and firearms charges. Meanwhile, still ongoing is the investigation into the murder of Pradeshiya Sabha member Hasitha Madawala, allegedly by the same parliamentary secretary’s nephew, using a gun supplied by his uncle. Mervyn Silva‘s coordinating secretary is also alleged to have been involved.

Surrounded by such characters, no wonder the man is so keen to attack journalists!

And like almost all Sri Lankan politicians, he is as at home in the UNP as in the SLFP, having served as an MP under Chandrika Kumaratunga and Ranil Wickremasinghe as well as Mahinda Rajapaksa.

What politicians and their hangers-on get up to in the North and East is rarely even brought to our attention.

This is the proper context to the murder of Khuram Shaikh, without which there is no hope of doing anything more than encouraging thugs to check the passports of the people they are thinking of beating up to be sure that they are not British.

He deserves a better legacy, and that is not the responsibility of his family.

*Kath Noble’s column may be accessed online at http://kathnoble.wordpress.com/. She may be contacted at kathnoble99@gmail.com.

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    One of the 18 suspects arrested in the killing of Mr. Nihal Perera, an estate manager of the Nooriya Tea Estate in Deraniyagala, was the former chairman of Deraniyagala Pradeshiya Sabha Anil Champika Wijesinghe. Mr. Nihal Perera was hacked to death by these thugs for doing his job.

    It’s high time something is done about these murderous pradeshiya saba lunatics who have no compassion for humanity or another human being.

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      Suranee,

      Wellcome to Dharma Deepaya. This is what is taught for morals by the Monks.

      Buddhist Terrorism.

      Budu Balu Sena.

      BBS is Evil, poisonous ideology. Is it Buddhism?

      What does Buddhism Teach?

      1. Extinction= Nirvana, that is against nature.

      Nature wants to live.

      Religion is the opium of the masses, and hegemony of the Monks.

      2, They should go after gambling, law and order, political corruption.

      3. What they are after is Monk Hegemony.

      Here is support for this position.

      Buddhism The Great Evil — Part 1

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

      Buddhism The Great Evil — Part 2

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clcs2PSze0I

      Ben Silva claims he is a Buddhist. He goes on to say that Nirvana or Nibbana the ultimate goal of Buddhism is extinction. He says:

      Reference:

      lankaweb.com/news/items/2011/04/18/christian-school-of-buddhism-%E2%80%93-nibbana-is-extinction/

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        Amarasiri,

        Thank you for the links.

        I’m not sure what to make of your response since its quite shocking especially the way you attack monks and Buddhism. Therefore I’d rather not comment.

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          Suranee,

          “since its quite shocking especially the way you attack monks and Buddhism. “

          As a child I have seen how shocking the Buddhist monks were and Buddhism was in attacking Tamils during 1958. Furthermore, was not impressed with the Buddharakkita “Thero” and his Golaya Somarama “Thero” who shot and killed Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike in 1959.

          Galileo, Copernicus, Martin Luther all attacked the Myths of the Catholic Church in the 16th Century. Why can’t Amarasiri Attack Buddhism or any other Myth in the 21st century in this internet age?

          DeJa Vu….

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    Good stuff Kath, Keep it coming!
    Well the tourist figures are falling and GOSL has revised down its estimate for tourist arrivals – as a result of all the exposure about the murder and rape of a British Tourist and the hotels that are being built will slowly empty.. the miracle of Asia is morphing into the debacle of Asia!

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      Dinuk Its already Empty, all sales people are begging from travel companies, also they have increased the rates, these stupid Sri Lankans ( espcially Sinhala owners – Sorry) is very greedy and no brain that they have increased hap hazardly and now we see gone out of the frame of tourism. While Singapore and Malaysia even Malidves reduced rates to attract while our GODAYO GOVI GAMA buggers done compleatly diffrent.

      this is what minister says:-

      Govt. says hotels overcharge – Daily Mirror 12 Friday, July 2013

      Hoteliers upped the floor rates of their hotels by 200 to 300 per cent Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana yesterday faulted hoteliers for the difficulty in achieving the ambitious target of 2.5 million tourists by 2020 due to exorbitant prices on hotel accommodations charged by them Minister Abeywardana addressing the media at his office charged that with the dawn of peace in June 2009, the tourist industry in the country had a golden opportunity to jump leap and bounds but the hoteliers upped the floor rates of their hotels by 200 to 300 per cent and Sri Lanka’s hotels became the most expensive in the region. “If not for this huge hotel room charges, we could have met the 2.5 million tourist arrival before 2012. However, under the prevailing conditions, achieving the target is doubtful even in 2020,” he said. “The government has no control over the hotel industry and the government cannot determine their room rates. But they must realize that there was a time when a five star hotel room cost as low as $120 per day. After the dawn of peace they jacked up hotel room charges by several folds and the hotel and tourist industry now feels the impact as tourists from EU, US, Canada, China and Russia have started to avoid Sri Lanka for cheaper destinations in the Far East,” Minister Yapa said. He added that US$ 500 or 600 per day was beyond the reach of an average tourist even from the US or EU. Besides, there are cheaper hotel accommodations in Bangkok, Singapore, Maldives or Vietnam with similar facilities and comfort. “What Sri Lanka hoteliers must do is to try to penetrate non-traditional Russian and Chinese tourist markets as they are huge and they are ready to spend an extra buck for their pleasure. We must attempt to increase the income
      in tourism not through hotel charges alone but from other services like competitive leisure facilities, inland travel, food and beverages etc that will meet the expectations of the tourist,” Minister Yapa stressed. He added the government was not in a position to impose a ceiling on maximum floor rate but only on the minimum floor rate. It is up to the Hotel industry to determine the maximum room charges that will protect the interests of not only the industry but of the guest. “I think US$ 600 per night charged by certain hotels in Passikhudah is a bit exorbitant. If they continue this they themselves will be affected,” Minister Yapa said. He stressed that the hotel and tourist industry will have a big job at hand when Sri Lanka hosts the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November as the country will have to find a minimum 4,500 star class rooms for heads of state, their entourage and a thousand print and electronic media personnel and businessmen

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        Not all Hotel owners are Sinhala,Govigama, or Godayas . You seem to have got your knickers in a knot , you prejudiced old fart !

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        All these happened after Grade Nine educated Basil Rajapakse took over the Tourist Industry.

        The crazy uneducated Bata….d chased the Two best Hotelliers from Tourist Board Director Board and took over it. Both of them left Sri Lanka to settle down in Australia.

        The Bast…..d knows only how to make money on FRraudulent means and with 10% commission.

        With no proper Business Knowledge Sri lanka’s second best foreign exchange earner will collapse shortly under this crook Basil Rajapakse.

        Tousist arrivals already down 30%……and counting.

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    Did they catch the culprits, who killed that little British Girl who was on holidays in Spain?.

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      ah Leela ( K A Sumanasekera)
      the answer to your 1st question is NO the culprits are protected by the Buddhists thugs who love crime (its their way of life)

      the answer to your 2nd question,please without side tracking tell us the case in detail ?

      btw:1st put pur house in order and then look at the Spaniards

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        So all thugs are Budhists ? Get a life , moron .

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          unfortunately all the thuggish incidents post may 2009 (only exception has been Duminda Silva who was non Buddhist) has been by Buddhists thats reality accept it or not its upto you

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      KAS-
      You have a penchant for showing your stupidity time and time again.
      Firstly, the little girl Madeline McCann was holidaying in Portugal.
      More importantly KAS, there were no first hand witnesses to the kidnapping unlike this incident which was cold blooded murder by MaRa goons with witnesses.
      KAS- please feel free to keep exposing your stupidity

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      KAS’s comments is the prime example why Rajapaksa’s are in power, it’s no surprise I have come across well educated Sri Lankan Doctors who made their money in the West but gripe and complain about corrupt West. One gave me a example as New Zealand racism lack of reports in the news media Murali capturing 500 wickets in test matches.In the same weekend biggest selling Sunday Newspaper published full page spread with a well written article with large photo of Murali and his achievement. Another Doctor blames every thing on American’s once said to me CNN,NBC, ABC, Fox, BBC and virtually all of western media outlets are liars. He is convinced in China people got more freedom than Americans in US. I must point out he has been in US & China for two weeks on holiday. He carries a US $1 bill in his wallet to show proof of Freemasons are running the world from US a conspiracy theorist as well. And he believes West is after Sri Lanka’s mega oil fields Gold & mineral deposits.Third one literally caught me reading biography of Colin Powel Solders Way in a very disappointing manner said “Don’t read that it’s all propaganda”. All three are Sinhalese one is related by marriage to our family, of the three only one returned to his home in Sri Lanka to retire in his late sixties after been in western country for over 25yeares other two still live in the West all three over 70 and all most all their children live and work out side Sri Lanka majority around 98% in the Western countries.I should send the names of these three to KAS they make Awesome Foursome.

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      Tsunamisekera:
      Is the (unreal estate business too tough for crooks these days that you have all the time for the b.s. you keep producing?
      I suppose you are too illiterate to understand that all you are doing by talking about “baby Brits” being murdered is dragging more red herrings across the trail. After all your paymasters consistently justify their war crimes by saying that Hitler (and Attilla the Hun) did that kind of thing first!

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    [The British government is pretending to think that this incident suggests that Sri Lanka is a dangerous place for foreigners, having incorporated it into their travel advisory in an extremely dubious manner. It says, ‘Organised and armed gangs are known to operate in Sri Lanka and have been responsible for targeted kidnappings and violence. While there is no evidence to suggest that British nationals are at particular risk, gangs have been known to operate in tourist areas. A British national was killed during a violent attack by a gang in a tourist resort in December 2011.’]

    What is wrong with the british government stating the facts as it happened.You can’t expect a country not to warn its citizens of the danger of going to another country and getting bumped off with immunity by its government henchmen.It is the duty of the british governmnet to warn its citizens after what happenned and the warning should continue to be there till the louts are sentencd,and if the sentence is not stiff enough then it should be extended further.

    For kath to say that the british government is pretending that srilanka is a dangerous place gives rise to the suspicion as to whether she cares really about the crimes committed by political thugs in srilanka.If the government had taken action immediately then you can say srilanka is not a dangerous place and this was just a one off incident,but when the “apey miniha” is protected by the president,then is it not a dangerous place because what is the guarantee that such incidents will not keep on happening by the “apey minissu”.

    You can’t protect these thugs and also expect tourists to come.They are coming to enjoy themselves,not to be raped and killed.

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      You are spot on @Shankar. The masses will applaud this kind of contents.

      How many of their men, he the president is going to defend in this way ?

      a) Mervin not once repeated times sofar
      b) Key accused of British murder
      c) Duminda Silva for MP Baratha Murder
      and how many others that are NOT known to many are being defended by President himself… It is all because of his greediness to stay in Power not losing voters of the poor man

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      Sri Lanka is also a dangerous place for Sri Lankans to live.

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    Sorry to disagree with the headline in Sri Lanka they don’t sweep tugs under the carpet thugs flaunt their style on the Red Carpet like super stars so every one can see.

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    Thank You Kath for this well elucidated article on an important aspect of the current Sri Lankan condition. Politicians in Sri Lanka have over the last fifty years learnt to keep onside the buddhist priest and the thug. One can trace this back to Buddharakhita, Ossie Corea et al in the fifties and now all our political leaders are in hock to this miserable tradition. As they say in our magical island, what to do?

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    This is not only a phenomenon in Sri Lanka. Just North of Palk Strait you get many incidents of goons getting protection from politicos for their crimes including murder.

    Having said that our focus should be on our own house. It s good to see pressure from many fronts against poltical cover ups of violent crimes. We now see ordinary people rising against it (Deraniyagala is an example). Need to keep this pressure.

    During the upcomming PC polls, the voters should make sure thugs are not being elected from any party.

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      I have to agree with what you said Hela esp the part where we need to put our house in order first.

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    Hey Leela ( K A Sumanasekera) why so quiet……u didnt answer my question to you about the Spain Incident….can you elaborate that

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      That is because he has taken his medication and gone to sleep!

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    Kath Noble is at it again, suggesting that all of the crime and mayhem is of an aberrant nature when in fact it is the simple outcome of the conduct of the current government. She used to be much more straight-forward in this matter, openly defending the government before. Now she is a little more sly, seeking to distance the architects of the criminality from the crimes.
    Good try, Kath, but many of us see through your deceit.

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    The simple truth is that, judging by her recent articles, this woman is on her way back to the Rajapassa fold! Soon it will be the turn of the rest of those apologists/frauds for the Fascists who PRETENDED to have seen the light to follow her back to that black-money Nirvana.
    Such a delightful place is Rajapakistan and so full of people of (dubious) character!

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