16 July, 2019

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The Easter Sunday Bombings: A Boon For Gotabaya Rajapaksa 

By Pitasanna Shanmugathas –

Pitasanna Shanmugathas

The Easter Sunday bombing is a BOON for likely presidential contender Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Rajapaksa clan, and the rightwing Sri Lankan Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) with respect to the upcoming Presidential elections, as the Rajapaksas can rile up their Sinhala Buddhist base and say that the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government is not only incompetent on the economic front but are even more incompetent on the national security front.  

On Monday, the Sri Lankan government said that the terrorist attacks were carried out by the radical Islamic organization, National Thowheed Jamath. There is also speculation of a possible international connection.

After the Easter Sunday attacks began, news quickly emerged that 10 days prior to the attacks, a top Sri Lankan police official warned the security services in an advisory that a radical Islamist group was planning suicide attacks against churches. However, top government officials said that no such information ever reached them prior to the attacks. 

In addition, Hilmy Ahamed, vice president of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, said he warned military intelligence officials about the radical Islamic group (National Thowheed Jamath) and its leaders about three years ago. Ahamed said in a phone interview from Colombo, “I personally have gone and handed over all the documents three years ago, giving names and details of all these people. They have sat on it. That’s the tragedy.”

A Tamil Colombo resident, speaking on the significance this terrorist attack has on Gota’s election prospects, said the following: “After the bomb blasts, he will be more popular because of his image. People want a strong leader who can end terrorism. Gotabaya perfectly fits their requirements. Sirisena is not just weak, he is also cunning. No one likes him. The UNP led by Wickremesinghe is facing too many issues; both internal and external.” 

Gota will campaign on the fact that the government was negligent and incompetent in pursuing credible intelligence regarding the threat of Islamic terrorism that was available to them. The SLPP will stress to the Sinhala public that nothing like the Easter Sunday bombings happened during the nearly 10-year Rajapaksa rule because of their “tough on terrorism approach.”  The SLPP will campaign on the principle that if Sri Lankans want to live safely and peacefully without fear of violence, then they must vote for Gota in the upcoming Presidential elections. Failure to do so, the SLPP will claim, will mean the possible likelihood of more Islamic terrorist attacks. It is only Gota and the Rajapaksa family, the SLPP will claim, that have the experience and history of successfully eradicating one of the world’s most ruthless terrorist organizations from the country. The SLPP will base their campaign in the upcoming months on a platform of instilling fear within the Sri Lankan public of more possible attacks if the incompetent Sirisena is re-elected. However, if Gota is brought into office, it will mean the implementation of stronger anti-terrorism provisions, greater powers given to Sri Lanka’s military, a greater control on social media surveillance, a tighter concentration of political power within the Rajapaksa family, a stifling of journalists, a dilution of democratic provisions within Sri Lanka’s constitution, and, in effect, this will result in a strong reduction of the civil liberties of the Sri Lankan people. 

In the wake of the attacks, the Sirisena government has already given sweeping powers to the military to detain and arrest any individuals deemed to be suspicious. A state of emergency has been imposed as well as a strong restriction of the use of social media on the pretext of preventing the spread of possible misinformation and spread of hate propaganda against any communities. In the coming weeks and months, the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government, in a possible effort to combat criticism from opposition such as the SLPP that they are not tough on terrorism, will possibly seek to strengthen the prevention of terrorism act (PTA) and introduce draconian measures and anti-terrorism legislation. Such actions will result in the unfolding of egregious human rights abuses and increased anger and resentment towards the minority communities, namely, the Muslim community.  

Since the Easter Sunday bombing, there is fear within the Muslim community of large scale retaliatory attacks. According to Reuters journalist Ranga Sirilal, in the direct aftermath of the Easter Sunday bombing, shops were burned in Bandargama, and one mosque in Chilaw (North Western Province) was petrol bombed.  In addition, another journalist Mujeeb ur Rahman reported that a Muslim owned house in Nattandiya was burned and fully damaged, and a Muslim owned shop was attacked in Mannar, resulting in minor damage.  Rahman also reported that four shops (Bismilla Hotel, Ajmeer Hotel, Umar Hotel, and a fruit stall) in Mannar were attacked Sunday evening and faced minor to partial damages.  

While the Easter Sunday attacks were occurring and hospitals were calling for blood donations, it is worth mentioning that Muslims were among the many people who flooded hospitals eager to give blood. The Sri Lankan Muslim community as a whole is not representative nor do they share the views of this fringe radical Islamic terrorist organization. The Sri Lanka Muslim community has historically been victims of persecution at the hands of both Buddhists and the LTTE.  Most recently, in 2014 and 2018, the Muslim minority community endured violence at the hands of radical Buddhists. The Easter Sunday bombings have increased the possibility that the Muslim minority face even larger scale attacks at the hands of radical Buddhist organizations like Bodu Bala Sena. If Gota Rajapaksa is elected into power, radical Buddhist organizations like Bodu Bala Sena will feel even more emboldened to carry out attacks against the Muslim minority community with complete impunity.  

To conclude this article, I will quote an important statement made by the  Sri Lankan Campaign for Peace and Justice organization in the aftermath of the attacks: “As many living on the island today will attest, particularly members of the Tamil community, the roots of Sri Lanka’s repeated cycles of violence run deep and are still yet to be addressed. There is some thin hope, at least, that with tolerance, moral leadership, and respect for human rights, a descent into a new variety of that cycle may be averted”

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Latest comments

  • 25
    13

    You are either suffering from amnesia or have very selective memory what about all the atrocities that Muslim Home guards heavily armed by the Sri Lankan government and armed forces committed on the eastern Tamils. These atrocities far exceeded what the LTTE did to them. Muslims now are allowed to return to the north, even ones who never lived in the north but claiming to be displaced northern Muslims , however displaced Tamils in the east have not been allowed to return to their lands in the east. Once 100% Tamil Hindu villages , are now no go zones for the Tamils and have now become 100% Muslim villages. This sort of aggression towards the Tamils by the Muslims as well as the Sinhalese settlers is still continuing in the east . The authorities are turning a blind eye to this and giving overt/covert support to this. Please comment about everything that happened , instead of having selective amnesia. You are noted for this

    • 11
      4

      Strange new stories are coming up. The secretary of Sri Lanka Thowheed Jama’ath (SLTJ) Abdul Razik was a former National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) member according to the minister. He was also believed to be one of Gota’s pets just like LTTE’s Karuna Amman and BBS Gnanasara. It is believed that Gota is the mastermind behind SLTJ, BBS and the Ava group in Jaffna. He knows very well that the minorities Tamils, Muslims and Christians will not vote for him. The SLTJ and the Ava group are capable of issuing threats to stop the minorities Tamils, Muslims and Christians from voting in the next presidential election paving the way for only Sinhala Buddhist votes whereby Gota will win with an overwhelming majority.

    • 5
      1

      please pardon this boy. he is probably a ‘tamil moderate’ who likes to portray the Muslims as a victimised, neutral community in the war. he is unlikely to have heard of armed muslim homeguards or the rise of islamic extremism in the east. he is maybe hesitant to call a spade a spade, to avoid being tagged with islamophobia, so be nice to him.

  • 5
    2

    Dont say he has a hand in it? Ha..after all power grab is more important than morality. Who cares of the guys who died? Any way we are having a day of mourning tomorrow and that will put them to rest.

  • 27
    8

    Pitasanna Shanmugathas – implying that in Sri Lanka politicians will do anything to become the next President …..

    this image of Gota being propagated as an iron man by interested parties to enhance Gota’s presidential ambition.

    Gota did not defeat LTTE – Karuna and the international community did that.
    Gota terrorized the media and the journalist
    Gota and the Rajapakse clan missed the golden opportunity to unite the country after the defeat of the LTTE by the IC.
    Instead they promoted inter racial violence …..there is lots of undercurrent tension in the Lonely Planet and TripAdvisor Sri Lanka.
    The tourism is now dead for another decade for the debt ridden FX starving Sri Lanka

    Thanks to the Sri Sinhala Buddhism

    • 4
      2

      International community did jack shit to defeat the LTTE.. They tried everything to stop the final push… Our armed forces & the 2 Rajapaksha’s did the bulk of heavy lifting to anhilate the LTTE..

      Agree with you on Gota inciting racial mentions between the majority & the minorities. As you said they lost a golden opportunity & let down the country & it’s people.

      But the UNP & the gang too have utterly let the people down. With corruption, economy, taxing & now safety & security of it’s people. They have shown that they are incompetent & frankly don’t care..

      Gota will get the majority of the Sinhala votes. Even from Christisns & people like me who voted for the UNP. The floating voter base is big & it will be in favor of Gota

      • 0
        0

        where were the armed forces when they had all the intelligence about the imminent Easter Sunday attack?

  • 13
    7

    P. Shanmugathas, thank you for the balanced approach taken in this article. As you say, the GOTA team is cashing in on this and the RACIST TEAM of the Rajapakse clan and Wimal Weerawangsa (SLPP/BBS/MAHASON/RAVANA BALAKAYA etc) which has full experience in attacking Muslims must have been having the blueprint already to attack isolated areas to continue their Zionist contracted Islamophobia. Also, there is this danger of planting more bombs and devices by themselves and putting the blame on the Muslims to heighten the manufactured anger on the Muslims at gargantuan levels. STF is town to be SUPER ISLAMOPHOBIC from its initiation which is very strange but understandable as they have been mostly trained in Israel. STF tried many times to frame innocent Muslims and victims of Kandy Diana and Aluthgama victims to confess for possessing ARMS by planting the evidence fakely brought from their STF godown (captured weapons from the LTTE) to make the case against them to show the world that Muslims are Terrorists. They also tried to arrest by planting drugs unknown to the passengers in the vehicles when road inspections are carried out. This was a true story which caught the howled Muslim public like wild fire. So, the situation is very dangerous as we have a VERY CRUEL, CRIMINAL, CUNNING set of govt Politicians and a govt., machinery built on lies and deception that has blood of innocent TAX PAYERS who died at the hands of these criminals in thousands. Tamil community paid the heaviest price, while Sinhalese were duped into fighting the WAR the Ruling Elite Mafia created to DIVIDE & RULE the population.

    • 1
      2

      by the way, have anyone seen blood letting fighting between any of the Govigama Mafia Ruling Elites???? no…. why???? Will Mahinda Kill Ranil to aquire the power??? no… Will Sira plan to assassinate Ranil to transfer the power to the Criminal Rajapakses??? no… why? because, they belong to the same clan. Extended family members. They make the tax paying population to kill each other. Thats why the Rajapakse acolytes and the Govi Media is working full time to blame the Ranil govt., and anyone else… but, Sira. Sira is their man. Thats why the action was not taken. Sinhala people are the most innocent people in the entire world as they can be fooled by the Govi Media with their fake news and truth manipulated. Derana, TNL, Hiru, Mawbima, Wijeya, Upali newspapers, Swarnavahini are some of the deceptive Govi Media that supports Sinhala Buddhist Racism against minorities.

  • 7
    1

    There are useful points highlighted in this writeup. Well done Pitasanna Shanmugathas. The fate of the limbing Sirisena-Ranil coalition is almost coming to an end as we can witness. All odds are going against them and they seem to be clueless. As mention, it appears a cakewalk for the presidential contender Gatabaya Rajapakse. Past sins would be forgotten in the light of the brutal attacks carried out on churches and star-studded hotels and the fittest will win the race.

  • 3
    11

    The ‘Jarapssas’ will never come to power again. They are history forgotten.
    Rubbish……., shows your immaturity and ignorance. Where were you when these ‘Jarapassa’ killing machines were active?, in your fathers ‘b***s’ maybe. You’ve got lot to learn son. I assume you are not hiding behind a 60 year old picture of a ‘Jarapssa’ clan.

    • 1
      0

      How does it smell my friend anonymous?

  • 7
    0

    Mate whether you folks like or not the ground reality in Sri Lanka currently is such that the return of a SLPP candidate ( who ever he may be,) or a government in a future election , be it presidential or otherwise is a foregone conclusion. As you pointed out it is a fact that the incumbent regime has failed miserably on all fronts be it economy, stability, security, invested confidence, failing to prove post 2015 allegations, and looting the country.

    The last election result showed the beginning of the inevitable slide of the regime and this incident will only speed up the process.

    The past strategy of the minorities of backing a candidate without majority
    endorsement has failed. Regimes surgically installed are temporary and cannot be sustained if they are inefficient and incompetent!

    The late Mr Thondaman won rights to his community by standing with the majority who ever was in power at that time. Therefore be smart and strategic and engage with a winning horse rather than lamenting and living with hatred and suspicion as you are not going to go any where and move forward by backing lame ducks.

    • 2
      1

      So Sinhalese (because the actions of an incompetent gov only affects the Sinhalese) still cannot vote out an incompetent failed gov? If they do they are racist.

  • 4
    1

    dialog is already in a mess…most of their staff 90% of them are muslims…When contacted for detriorated..sickening Internet speed they informed of a skeleton staff ..non were there to attend to complaints ….these are aftereffects of the lapses of the Government…particularly of the Mad Man.. Who neglected the Country’s Internal Security for his games… Slack in intelligence service…we do not have an Internal Defence surveillance to monitor these type of issues …the Defense Establishments also being manipulated for political objectives…Besides these are not issues to worship or call for Rajapaksha ….ers. if they were in power there would have been abductions / deaths of innocent people everyday..We must not forget the fact that Country enjoy freedom …freedom of expression to the fullest extent…..

  • 5
    0

    I remember how the people of Colombo responded to the needs of the tsunami victims in the south, and I wrote about it. What was most striking is that there was no looting in the worst hits areas, and that people were queueing up in Colombo to donate blankets, food, whatever. I doubt whether most Sri Lankans appreciate how very rare that is, and how well it reflects on the country.

  • 1
    3

    Well said Pitasanna Shanmugathas.

  • 10
    4

    Day Dream of Gatabaya and his assocites is to become a head of this country.
    Gotabaya is the man who murdered many.
    Do not forget it

    • 2
      0

      Ranil too murderer many @ Batalanda.. Gota robbed, Ranil robbed even more… What’s the difference?

  • 9
    3

    Radical I am sorry for reading you wrong the first time. Yes . Answer is right there , Who gains from this tragedy ??? answer is Goths/BBS. Why no action was taken even with advance knowledge, information and intelligence??? answer is Gotha/BBS. So the conclusion is this was planned by ISIS and executed by RAJAPAKSAS. Has it happened before in Lanka ??? Of course on many occasions. Our politicians are known to organize ,coordinate and stage riots, burning libraries, creating panic and implanting stories like sterile pills with intentions of creating racial hatred, use of BBS against Muslims, racial profiling, prison violence, JR giving extra time for more killings ,black July …..etc. Our political history is full of it.

  • 3
    0

    We must be all unite and work in harmony should not allow any further destruction that will be exploited by people from out side and inside.
    Unity, tolerance and harmony should be the order of the day,musn’t take law into ones hand. Please follow the example of New Zealand.

  • 2
    0

    Assimilating different theories and analysis on Maithripala – wickramasinghe governance, within their reign of office up to now an impartial conclusion is , there is no responsible Government. All three arms of Democratic Governance are in disarray, even the justice system has come under the corrupt arm of the Legislative and the Executive ,glaring instances were observed when the entire bench of judges one by one refused to sit on judgement on a case against the MPP. In this backdrop Law and order is the biggest casualty. Glaring criminal offences of Politicians were simply swept under the carpet and orders have been given to relevant authorities not to arrest them or question them. Those with fake and multiple passports were issued with renewed ones overnight and such is the height of misuse of power. If only the two leaders were honest and sincere enough to keep their promise to the people who put them in their present positions our country would have been blessed, but today curse upon curse is being heaped up. This may not be the end and unless you are converted with true repentance and cause justice to prevail, our country will be entrenched deeper in the pigs mire. You politicians, your families, kith and kin, friends and acolytes have amassed wealth and are still craving for more. Mere preaching of dhamma will not save one, We hope and pray that all our peoples will be safe and sound including the politicians.

  • 4
    9

    Do Lankans really have a choice? With fanatical Moslems increasing their population every day and likely to become a majority within 10-15 years (they are already a majority among the new born to age 15 year children groups) the only solution is a leadership by a strong leader, not the lily livered retards and traitors who seem to run the show now. Lankans either appoint someone like Gotaby at next election or sign their own death warrant at the hands of the Jihadis, as they did by appointing the current cabal of incompetent, treasonous lunatics to power.

  • 9
    2

    Gotabahaya is on a “Mission” to make this tragedy a “BOON” and in his statement he said: ” The “HONOR” of peace we won has been lost”. Hasn’t he FORGOTTEN how he , his family and other cohorts did DESECRATE that “HONOR” from 2009 to 2015? The PEOPLE of Sri Lanka must not forget that short period of history and related activities of that “Rajapakse & Co. Inc” from 2009 to 2015.

  • 10
    1

    What this country needs are strong institutions, not a strong dictatorial leader. It needs a completely independent system of administration of justice, and of law and order. There should be no phone calls from politicians to the police, attorney general’s department and judges to go easy on those charged with crimes. We should also get rid of all the ‘Pathola’ judges.

    • 6
      0

      Thank you ‘Estate Labourer’. You hit the nail on the head.
      The message in fewer words “We only need Law & Order”.

  • 1
    0

    These attacks with Suicide Bombers which began with the HAMAS group in the Middle East to counter the Zionists, will most probably be the next item on the agenda to destabilize Srilanka. The tragedy is that some political forces are riding on this chaos to advance their political journey!.
    Defeating, these religious based fanatics will put Srilanka in a long drawn-out crisis: Could we match the
    Middle- East economy?

    El Timeo et donna Ferrentes is a famous Greek quote; I fear the Greeks even when bringing gifts.

  • 2
    1

    Is this person implying national security is less important and some racist demand by the always racist Sinhala Buddhists unlike ever innocent Tamils? Majority of the people who died were NOT Sinhala Buddhists. They were Sinhala Catholics and Tamil Catholics. That itself is enough to understand one cannot limit national security as a Sinhala Buddhist racist demand. National security can affect the lives of minorities as well. It is not an insignificant demand by the evil lot. And Pitasanna, even if you consider Sinhalese as inhumans, they have a right to defend themselves and they are right to worry about their security. After all LTTE was not selling ice creams for 30 years. If it was in a different country the current incompetent incredibly stupid lot would have been kicked out of power. But the majority of Sinhalese now risking their lives have to bear an incompetent government which does not care their security because the incompetent government satisfy the tribal demands of Tamils. As a human tell me how reasonable it is.

  • 0
    1

    Raising obvious concerns on national security is fear mongering? What does this fool ask the people to do? Let the terrorists kill the people?

  • 4
    0

    Pitasanna

    Your article is incomplete by failing to touch the tensed situation in the eastern province between Tamil and Muslim communities, during the last few years.

    Why don’t you contact your friends in the eastern province and find out how Tamil civilians suffer at the hands of certain Muslim politicians and their fanatical goons, specially in batticaloa and Amparai districts. If you have none there, then please read Battinews and Battinatham or any other Tamil websites from this district, as mainstream English media do not cover those incidents.

  • 1
    1

    Any civilized man/woman does respect free speech. But is it natural to tolerate an insensitive verbosity of the verbal garbage? Here people are living in fear as to when the next bomb would explode. They have not yet buried the dead. Good many are mourning. To say that this incident would be advantageous to any of the possible presidential candidates definitely crosses any line of decency. I too had a narrow shave with the Central Bank Bomb blast. Some of my near and dear were not that lucky. So I know first hand what it is to be subject to an attack of terrorism. We all have our own preferences about various personalities when it comes to voting. But mixing that with a national tragedy at a time when every one of us should be with the bereaved is an abomination.

  • 2
    1

    In a way, the terrorist attack is a blessing in disguise to PM. People are now pre-occupied with the fear of terrorism and will not talk about Bond Scam, Arjun Mahendran, plot to assassinate the President and Gotabhaya, PC elections, cost of living, selling the country to foreigners etc. etc. Could this be the reason why he did not take action to prevent the attack?

  • 2
    0

    Mahinda dynasty has no heart for the people. What they want is power to make more money . They will shed crocodile tears over the Easter Sunday deaths. A coon man knows that it was a political lapse of the President because of the battle between Blue, Green and Pink. It is the minority that suffers Mahinda greatly accepted that LTTE will not carry out cowardly act. They attacked government institutions

  • 0
    0

    Wish your happy new year!

  • 1
    1

    Get rid off the Rajaoakse regime! We don’t want another cold blooded killer. Can’t wait until the Chinese take over!

  • 1
    0

    “Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government is not only incompetent on the economic front but are even more incompetent on the national security front.”

    Shanmugathas: this is a FACT, not mere speculation.

    Who is to blame: MS, Ranil, MR, Gota, BBS, RSS, various arabic-sounding SL muslim organizations that spount fundamentalist islam, madrasa that teach fundamentalist islam, corrupt politicians who take money from muslim business owners and force the police to RELEASE culprits who have defaced Buddha statues, or release Gnanasara from jail.Ealam supporters who are calling the shots with the UNP to dilute the military and intelligence capabilities of the isalnd (remember the destruction of the Salawa arms depot? the dismantling of the military intelligence units?, the repeal of the PTA?)

    They are all responsible.

    Peace-loving people of all faiths need to unite and force our politicians are so-called religious leaders to ACT in UNISON before our land tears itself from indie out like Lebanon or Syria.

  • 1
    0

    well written

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