19 October, 2021

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The Mastermind Farrago & Economic Turmoil

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

It has been over two years and two months since the Easter Sunday mayhem on 21 April 2019 killed 268 innocent Christian worshipers, damaged and destroyed three churches and a tourist hotel, and brought lifelong distress to many a Christian family. The killers – a fanatical fringe of Islamists headed by a madrasa reject and backyard preacher, were hunted down and killed by security forces, and the Muslim community, which was left aghast, condemned the killers unreservedly. Yet, it was subject to collective punishment in the hands of unruly mobs, all under full view of the same state security forces. All that the Muslim community could do was to inflict the severest punishment it could think of in denying Islamic burials to the slayers of Christian worshippers.

Two separate investigations under two separate regimes were carried out. They produced two reports of which the second by the Presidential Commission ran into 100,000 words in 22 volumes. When it was handed over to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa (GR) he appointed a select committee to study that report and make recommendations for state action. Copies were also delivered to the Attorney General (AG), Dappula de Livera, and to the Catholic Archbishop, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith. From that report, AG discovered a “grand conspiracy” behind the Easter Attack and pointed out to “certain elements”, which had not been investigated. This was an indictment on the investigators. Perhaps based on AG’s revelation and from his own reading of the report(s), and later, from revelations made in the Parliament by a member from the opposition, who referred to one “Sonic-Sonic” with whom one of the killers seem to have had contact just before detonating his killer-device, the cardinal demanded from the President to reveal the details of the “mastermind” behind the massacre.

Had there been no mastermind at all the President could have said so immediately and cleared the air. But the Minister of Public Security, Sarath Weerasekera, rushed to reveal that Moulavi Muhammad Noufer as the mastermind, which was immediately disputed by AG, Dappula. Even the FBI called Noufer, the second Emir. If so, who was the first? However, what is surprising after all farrago about the mastermind, 704 arrests, 203 in remand custody, 84 under detention, 244 on bail, 168 released and 32 indicted (Sunday Times, 23 May 2021), the whole episode, and controversies over its investigations seem to be disappearing from public attention, leading to suspicion that as far as the regime is concerned the massacre had served its purpose and the country could move on regardless, like it did after all hoo-ha about the bond scam. That purpose was to promote security as the number one issue in the contest for political power. Security issue also became handy to the successful President GR to install a de-facto military state, by deploying security personal as heads of numerous task forces and civilian administration, including the management of the pandemic. Currently, no one seems to bother about Easter Sunday except the Catholic Cardinal. A deteriorating economic situation and persisting pandemic have made it convenient for the regime to ignore the Easter massacre. The question is, will the forgotten episode be resurrected later when public discontent against the regime intensifies?

The economy will remain enemy no. 1 for the foreseeable future even if the pandemic disappears miraculously overnight. The disruption that Covid-19 has already caused to ordinary economic activities will take at least another year to be rectified and reach a new normalcy. Even then, unless there is vigorous growth in economies of Sri Lanka’s trading partners, growth prospects for the island will remain dismal. The revised forecast of 5% growth for 2021 by the Governor of Central Bank is extremely optimistic and dreamlike. If at all there is going to be any positive economic growth it would not exceed 2%, ceteris paribus. To make matters grave, the looming threat of EU’s withdrawal of GSP preferential tariffs on Sri Lankan exports will strike severe blow to any prospect of economic revival. EU is Sri Lanka’s second largest destination for her exports, and it is not easy to switch to another destination to balance the loss.   

Professor Lakshman desperately urges the country’s diplomats to do everything possible to stop EU from acting on its threat. But the poor Professor should realize that it is not in the hands of the diplomats but in those of the rulers at home that measures should be taken to prevent this happening. The EU resolution comes on the wake of the Human Rights Resolution in Geneva, and reinforces the stipulations spelt out in that resolution. This time the European Parliament doesn’t even have to go to Brussels to get approval for implementing its resolution. Without repeating the hackneyed blame on “vanquished Tamil separatists”, constructive measures need be taken at home to bring about post-war reconciliation and forge national unity. 

Realistically, it is the economy that demands this reconciliation and unity more than European Union and UNHCR.

It may be politically wise for rulers to keep communities divided to stay in power. But it is detrimental for economic growth and development. Unfortunately, the prevailing political environment manipulated by Buddhist ethno-religious nationalists seem to believe that the country could achieve an economic miracle, sans minorities. It is a pity that pundits who advice the regime on economic matters continue to ignore this vital aspect of development. Currently, because of continuous discrimination and injustice, politically as well as administratively, both minorities feel that they are being deliberately left out of the growth equation.

Coming back to the mastermind farrago, virtually all those who have been interrogated by the CID and security forces in connection with the massacre are Muslims. None has been produced before the court and no credible evidence has yet been dug out to indict them. Reports are leaking out that several of them in custody are being tortured to confess admission of guilt or provide information to implicate someone else. The classic case in this context is that of the young Muslim poet, Ahnaf Jazeem, arrested under PTA on a bogus charge of spreading extremism through his poetry. This was found to be untrue, and now we are told that he is tortured to confess that Jaamiya Naleemiya, a premier Muslim educational institution, had been indoctrinating extremist ideas to its students. Jazeem’s father too had been harassed to force his son to confess to that false crime. The policy seems to be to arrest first and then look for evidence.

The fear now is that the regime, because of failures in multiple fronts and increasing popular discontent as a result, may, in a state of desperation, recall to life memories of the bloody Easter Sunday to cause another wave of communal violence to deflect peoples’ anti-regime anger on to the Muslim community. While harassing the Muslim community with arbitrary arrests, bans and restrictions, no action has been taken yet against the anti-Muslim groups that were identified by the PCoI report and which were found creating and environment which led to that massacre. It appears that they have been left untouched because of their usefulness in time to come. 

*Dr. Ameer Ali, School of Business& Governance, Murdoch University, Western Australia

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Latest comments

  • 25
    3

    One cannot reveal the real mastermind because it would result in the messenger being shot. In addition we have an executive president who should have been disqualified from running because he was a US citizen who faked dual citizenship but still was not elligibal. His Sri Lankan citizenship was challenged in court and was used to justify not doing anything about the other lie. i.e. his US citizenship. The the US Sate department had not released him from US citizenship at the time he handed in his nominations. So to recap cannot reveal the mastermind, cannot get rid of a rather illegal Executive. Why?, the Judiciary and the AGs department are stuffed full of partisan spineless A holes who actively supported such doings. Consequences and there are consequences is a nation cursed thrice over. Where people die of Covid from which they cannot get away because the vaccines are witheld and sued to make money and also to give apey kattiya only. This apey Kattiya only philosophy was begun by Mrs B. Neecha kama of the sinhalese is epitomized with this policy.

  • 25
    2

    Also, the people can look forward to starvation due to food shortages and loss of livelihood. Fish cannot be eaten due to contamination created by the greed of a few who decided to park a burning ship in our territorial waters to get the insurance money then make the fire worse by trying to douse a chemical fire with water. Food Agriculture has been dealt a death blow by banning chemical fertilizers which the farmers of country have relied on for close to a hundred years. Decline is yields followed by the total abandonment of farming is looming. All this while a few greedy buffoons import dried out Chinese excrement as fertilizer. There are a few characteristics of our rulers that can be seen by now. 1. Arrogance. 2 Stupidity and foolishness combined with a total lack of education. 3. Absolutely unbridled Greed for money by hook or Crook. Where does that leave the population? It leaves them to curse their way thru life and to pay for their monumental sins of electing their Apey Kattiya to power.

  • 19
    1

    It is the MEDIA mafia to be blamed for today mess.
    :
    Please listen to the questions and see quality of the questions raised by these journos.
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRzXvJLM9Uo&list=TLPQMTUwNjIwMjHWg5GCj7kZcg&index=3

    Not only PINGUTHTHARAYA of Abhayarama temple, but also Media Prostitutes misled the nation.
    :

    • 14
      0

      This country is now in a mess.
      .
      Had they listened to us, nothing would have gone that far.
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoF4bO0P2Bw

      I believe, people will realize it next time. The term RAJAPAKSHE will be the most hateful term in a month now. I ll bet you guy. That they each deserve…
      .
      They returned to power to get exonerated from ongoing CRIME investigations.

    • 15
      2

      L.M,
      You are absolutely right. The media (for example Chamuditha) are out to promote themselves, just like the politicians. Look at the shameless way the guy promotes fake Covid cures and Hooniyang .

      • 7
        2

        My dear OC
        They fish in muddy waters. How shameless these men sh6 be?

        • 9
          5

          It is not difficult to find the masterminds, if you analyse it correctly.
          A). Who gained by this bomb blasts
          1. Gota- who campaigned that security is under threat and won
          2. Mahinda – who failed to become PM by constitutional coup in October 2018, succeeded.
          3 China – by displacing western friendly government and installing their lackeys.
          B) Who facilitated the operation
          1. Sirisena – China roped him in with promise of second term, and he blocked investigation and arrest of bombers.
          2. Muslim members of military intelligence who brain washed bombers to kill Catholics instead of Buddhists.
          3. Muslim politicians, businessmen and professionals providing financial and logistical support to bombers.
          NB; Ranil W and Ruwan W are culpable, knowing about it but wanted it to happen in order to take pressure off UNHCR.

          • 5
            11

            Here comes super detective Inspector Jacques Clouseau with his unbeatable theories.
            He forgot two more: V Pirapakaran (now in hiding in China for 12 years) and Rohana Wijeweera (guiding the JVP from Pakistan)

            • 8
              1

              Hi SJ,
              Good morning.
              No doubt you seem to be better informed.
              Please be a sport and could you please enlighten us too? Yearning to learn the truth
              Do not tell us it is the SL citizens who benefitted out of all this regrettable, Easter episode?

              • 1
                5

                M
                Thanks
                I am sufficiently well informed to not make wild guesses.
                As for the two suspects I named, I trust that you have a sense of humor.

                • 4
                  1

                  Sivasegaram, you do not have the mental capacity to understand these matters.

      • 3
        0

        Old Codger,
        .
        Chamuditha and Chapa Bandara are two journos that do the job for mlechcha Rajapakshes.
        :
        Just listen to the QUESTIONIS of both – western conspiracy, western country wait to invade srilanka and involve in local issues, UNPrs work for their western agendas, Ravana- Heladiva history above any meaningful facts. Helawedakama above Vaccination…. these men would not have any other topics other than few terms that make their stories palatable to ” targeted fans”:

        Fake therapies similar to that of Madagaskar and Hooniyang are part and parcel of JUNTA regime of doublepakshes.

        Former ROYAL ASTROLOGER spilled the beans .. to Sannsagala- revealing that MaRa would not LEAVE home without wearing over 30-40 talishments on his body… can you imagine the picture of GALTHANNA WITCH mann.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5hW8pr7KUA…. I dont see any difference between that uneducated Gurunannase and MaRa by their performances. However, entire society is made to welcome all these further.

  • 15
    1

    The country and people are mislead by Sri Lankan politicians, Sri Lankan religious leaders, and Sri Lankan Military leaders throughout the period between the so called independence and it might go for many decades. These people shout loudly they are the patriots of this island, patriots of Buddhism, patriots of rule of law and patriots of equality. Unfortunately, people do not ask questions themselves and believe only what was shouted by these fake patriots.
    A simple question. How come Rajapaksa family who are patriots to this island became patriots of USA?

    • 3
      1

      Ajith.
      “How come Rajapaksa family who are patriots to this island became patriots of USA?”
      Why? What is so enamouring in the USA life than Sri Lanka to escape when not in power?
      The freedom and lifestyle in the USA, which is useful when you have money/wealth taken away from SL by way of 10% to 25% commission and robbed by inflated invoicing, which they cannot use in SL if they continue to live in this island.
      Keep the Islanders backward and downtrodden with vernacular education, so that they may not be enlightened of the happenings of the BROS INC!
      When they are in Power, use tax payers money, and not your own! Simple.

  • 9
    1

    Some websites and tamil news papers are reporting that the RAJAFUCKSAS government is planing to talk to TNA re-new constitution but really they want to talk TO TNA AND TRY TO PLEASE THEM GET EU-TO KEEP THE GSP NOT WITHDRAWN.
    IF TNA HAS SOME SELF RESPECT THEY MAKE IT A PRE-CONDITION TO GER ALL TAMIL POLITICAL PRISONERS HELD UNDER PTA REALESED BEFORE SITTING(shitting)ON THE TABLE IN FRONT OF RJAJAPAKYAS TO DISCUSS ABOUT FUTURE OF GSP-PTA AND NEW CONSTIPATION(not constitution)AS FAR AS TAMILS ARE CONCERN.HOPE THIS TIME AROUND MAHINDAYA AND GOTHAYA WILL NOT APPLY THEIR USUAL CONDOM THEORY ON TNA AND TAMIL ISSUES.

    • 6
      1

      There is nothing wrong with talking Rajapaksas or Sajith or Ranil and TNA but TNA should not give support to any one unless they implement constitutionally what they agreed on Devolution of Power and other issues and it cannot be changed by any Central government without the consent of two third of the people of devolved unit.

  • 7
    0

    Greed and corruption are now the hallmark of governance.
    The illegally elected president and slavish parliament stand out in the international scene and foreign governments are aware.
    The police decide who will be or not be, given bail, by choosing/not choosing the PTA as the law behind an arrest. This is a unique process – in a “democracy”.
    This does not happen in democratic nations.
    The “Chinatown” (existing in many other world cities) created in Colombo is unique in that it will be like another state. This does not happen elsewhere.

  • 14
    1

    All this is history about the Muslim community and the aftermath of the Easter Sunday tragedy. But I find a paradox here in that in spite of the repercussions to the Muslim people at large, even as at 2021 – two years later, eight Muslim MPs sided with the Government to pass the 20A, against their own party whip, to give more power to the person or persons obliquely accused by innuendo. Something is amiss because that Community has not in anyway found fault with the “Eight”.

    • 2
      0

      … Something is amiss because that Community has not in anyway, found fault with the “Eight”…..
      I was hoping that the above will draw some useful comments from the AUTHOR DR.AA or our CT readership. Still I hope for that, as I am indeed confused as to why everything is discussed except the “Eight” by all concerned.

  • 14
    2

    “The country moves on”. Those are the crucial words in this article. the country moved on after 70,000 Sinhalese youths were killed during the JVP riots, after 40,000 Tamils were killed in Mullivaikal. So, it can move on after 300 people were killed during the EasterBombs. Life is cheap in Sinhala-Buddhist Lanka. The writer fears for the Muslims. Their leaders had it good, always playing a double game. The leader votes one way, the members vote the other. They must learn to adopt national policies that are good for everyone than live for themselves.

    • 4
      7

      “Their leaders had it good, always playing a double game.”
      C, which narrowly ethnic leader did not have it so good?

  • 6
    1

    In tribal law, the leader chooses at his will, the punishment for perceived crimes and to whom punishment is meted out. Any justice system based on modern western civilisation is not nationalistic enough for “apey kattiyer” and cannot easily be “nidos koter nidahas” like in tribal law..

  • 4
    1

    The PTA is tool for Gota,he will keep it with him until his days,he won’t much worry about that much of GSP+ worst things comes he will parachute his adopted country not only his son now he got US grandchild as well,Ranil is on the way uncle Sam is there this crook knows how the job done,but he may realizing how the US treating the immigrants,and what’s the treatment for fellow citizens in blessed land no like other,the Aluthgama was to reminds the Muslims of Tamils fate,he got 20A with the help of muslims ministers,but no choice go with the devil.
    Looks like we are not good at to govern ourselves,but looks like we got choice for Chinese.it’s so convenient his office is just behind the another unwanted expensive project of port city,hambatota air port is to store the paddy,we build the Hambatota port and given to our Savior,we may pay for compensation for the wreckage of the ship.owner.our thaddias will do anything for dollars.

  • 2
    1

    Ajith.
    “How come Rajapaksa family who are patriots to this island became patriots of USA?”
    Why? What is so enamouring in the USA life than Sri Lanka to escape when not in power?
    The freedom and lifestyle in the USA, which is useful when you have money/wealth taken away from SL by way of 10% to 25% commission and robbed by inflated invoicing, which they cannot use in SL if they continue to live in this island.
    Keep the Islanders backward and downtrodden with vernacular education, so that they may not be enlightened of the happenings of the BROS INC!
    When they are in Power, use tax payers money, and not your own! Simple.

  • 2
    6

    AA,
    “Currently, because of continuous discrimination and injustice, politically as well as administratively, both minorities feel that they are being deliberately left out of the growth equation.”
    —-
    What evidences you have to make the above mentioned statement?
    —-
    On the contrary, Tamil farmers in the North will be better off with the ban/reduction of import of agricultural produce. Think of the great time they had during 1970-77. Tea plantations are running as usual and hence Tamils working in plantations will have no negative effect. Muslims in the East who engage in rice cultivation and other farming activities will be ok.
    If GSP is withdrawn, probably the Tamils and Muslims working in garment industries in the North and East might get affected. If that happens, blame EU.

  • 6
    9

    Gentlemen,

    Today in Saudi Arabia a young arab who protested against the government as a teenager has been executed. Mustafa al-Darwish, 26 was executed today.

    Thank god, Muslims in Sri Lanka are living in this blessed land and can complain about what seems like first world problems. Like calling mandatory cremations during a pandemic as “severest punishment” and “economic turmoil”.

    While their arab brethren are taking the sword to their neck, Muslims in blessed Sri Lanka have the luxury of white washing their own murderous assailants who killed 350 Christians in 2019.

    • 4
      0

      RSP

      What a load of RUBBISH man.

      Saudi is a Monarchy and the rulers do what they want. How come you have forgotten the Brutal Murder of Khashshogi in the Saudi Consulate in Turkey?

      In Democratic Sri Lanka, convicted Murderers and Criminals are released from Prison and made MPs and Ministers. That is perfectly Okay for you, eh?

      Mandatory Cremation? Is there any Democratic country in the world where there is what you call Mandatory Cremation?

      Can you give One example of Muslims “white washing their own murderous assailants who killed 350 Christians in 2019.”

  • 4
    0

    Political , religious or family connections does not make every Muslim guilty in the bombing. It has to be proved that they knew of the bombing, and assisted in the operation.

    Just harassing the Muslims because they had a remote connection to Saharan is not acceptable.

    I wish the Cardinal took a more broader and dispassionate view. True , he is deeply hurt by the bombing which killed hundreds of innocent victims. But we should not therefore harass other innocent citizens.

    We must always strive to live with open minds and be fair. I personally think Islam is a religion which limits its followers, but we must not act like them

  • 3
    0

    RSP, I guess you never heard of Dr. Shaffi, the poet Jazeem and many others who are toiling in prison without any charges, but may know of Darwish. What is your point. Are we talking about countries or people. This happens in veterans when they sustain memory losses due to repeated head banging. Hope you can walk and pee straight. By the way your beloved politician Ranjith accused Rajapaksas of being worse compared to MS/RW. You have any answer for him.

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