8 June, 2023


Yahapālanaya Year 3

By Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

As it enters Year 3, the Yahapalana government’s crisis-management option seems to be a return to the worst follies of Mrs. Bandaranaike and JR Jayewardene. It is planning to restore the Criminal Justice Commission, frame the Rajapaksas (including Gotabhaya) and remove their civic rights. This is combination of a Felixian instrument, the CJC, and a JR move, the removal of civic rights.

One recalls that the two most honorable men in the 1970 parliament, Dr. SA Wickremasingha and Sarath Muttetuwegama, both Communists, crossed the floor of the House in 1972 in protest against the CJC because it was outside the existing courts system and was retroactive in character. It was the use of the CJC as a tool of victimization (one of the victims was Prof Razeen Sally’s father) that gave a vengeful edge to the UNP Opposition’s drive in 1977. Similarly, the removal of Mrs. Bandaranaike’s civic rights in 1980 left President Jayewardene scrambling for a democratic opposition figure with the national legitimacy to stabilize the situation by the mid-1980s. On the advice of the US ambassador Prof Howard Wriggins, he restored Mrs. B’s civic rights in early 1986 but it was too late to restore stability, as social discontent had overflowed the bounds of the system and of peaceful protest. The same errors are being contemplated by a far more ramshackle regime this time around, and will result in far more dramatic blowback.

In his book on Norway’s peace efforts, Mark Salter quoted a senior western diplomat as profiling the Rajapaksas and Mahinda Rajapaksa in particular, as follows:

“Mahinda is super-political: charming, cunning, funny, smart, but a complex personality in many ways. …But one should never, ever, underestimate him. If he is insulted, if someone tries to kill his brothers for example, then that’s personal. And he means it. And that’s what led him to the conclusion ‘I reached out my hand to Prabhakaran in 2005, then he tried to kill my brother. So OK, now I will show him’. That was basically the line he pursued.”

(‘An assessment of the Rajapaksa brothers from a senior western diplomat’, To End a Civil War, Mark Salter, p 283)

By this assessment, Mahinda Rajapaksa is not the kind of guy you want to back up against a wall—especially not if the economic and electoral ground, the ground of public opinion, is already shifting under you. Those who are threatening Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family with jail and/or the removal of civic rights through a CJC are making the same mistake as did Prabhakaran, while not being as strong as Prabhakaran.

The Yahapalana regime has a pro-imperialist rightwing headed by the Prime Minister and supported by an Old Boys network, a few politicians, a score of civil society ideologues, and some foreign embassies, agencies and capitals

While the rock hefting lads and ladies in the Green Goon camp at Hambantota recalled us to the authoritarian violence that has characterized the UNP from 1947 (Rohana Wijeweera’s father was paralyzed by UNP violence at the ’47 election) through the 1977 regime, nothing symbolizes the contradictions of the Yahapalana regime as much as the report produced by the Task Force that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe chose to appoint on a subject of the greatest importance. That act, that choice and its output and outcome, provide the clearest evidence of the nature and dynamics of this regime, the attitude of its rightwing to the most important problem facing the country (interethnic reconciliation) as well as the most significant historical fact of our lifetimes and the island’s contemporary history (the Thirty Years War).

So we had the world’s tallest Christmas tree which wasn’t a Christmas tree. Then we had the Volkswagen factory which wasn’t a Volkswagen factory. Now we have the Reconciliation Task Force report –in effect the Saravanamuttu report–which is not a report for reconciliation.

I say this with reason. The report itself provides the evidence and the argument. Two numbered paragraphs in the executive summary of conclusions and recommendations state that the Sri Lankan armed forces testified in favor of the government’s reconciliation initiatives while being heavily against the accountability component –the re-opening of wounds through special courts and the investigation of war crimes allegations– and staunchly defending its conduct of and in the war. The military had held that such an approach would be counterproductive and actually widen the gap between the communities. A third numbered paragraph in the executive summary of the report’s conclusions and recommendations also states that the Sinhala community was opposed to the accountability architecture and special judicial mechanisms.

So what does this mean? It means that in the teeth of strongly contrary argumentation and urging by a victorious, large Sri Lankan military as well as the Sinhala majority which constitutes almost two thirds of the Sri Lankan people, the Task Force appointed by the Prime Minister made recommendations for Special Courts and a Special Prosecutor’s office, with foreign participation as judges and prosecutors, and further urged that our laws be revised to include international law and that our military be prosecuted for crimes against international law, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, which may have been committed during the war.

The Reconciliation Task Force Report recommends, in effect, nothing less than the internationally supervised legal lynching of the Sri Lankan armed forces and its wartime political leadership. The Task Force seems to have believed that such was its sacred task! The morally grotesque recommendations of this Task Force reveal the degeneracy of the so-called civil society intelligentsia that comprises and undergirds it.

Some “reconciliation” this, which rides roughshod over the sentiments of the vast majority of the citizens of a country, as noted even by the Report itself! Some Reconciliation Task Force, which gives short shrift to the views of a popular, all-volunteer armed forces which never overthrew democracy but protected it against all totalitarian comers, South and North, Right and Left, won a war waged by the world’s only terrorist movement powerful enough to have a navy and an air arm, rid the country of the scourge of separatist terrorism, re-unified its territory and restored peace!

One might have thought that reconciliation would involve limiting oneself to those proposals that all communities agree with, or fashioning some proposals that stood at a midpoint between the contending views of communities while understanding as Lord Soulbury did that in a democracy one cannot stand at the exact midpoint between a large majority and a fairly small minority. The Reconciliation Task Force has done neither. Instead the Task Force’s idea of reconciliation between ethnic communities in Sri Lanka is to produce recommendations which virtually echoes those of Zaid al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Thus the Task Force’s idea of reconciliation is to erect Special Courts and a Special Prosecutor’s Office to try the armed forces for its conduct during the last stages of the war. The last stages are the stage of strategic counteroffensive, when after thirty years the Sri Lankan military was poised to win the war and went on to do so. This ‘last stage’ of the war and its outcome are to be celebrated for millennia, not subject to investigation.

The Reconciliation Task Force wishes to have an Office of a Special Prosecutor to prosecute a legitimate, constitutional military of a practicing democracy. It wishes to prosecute those who fought against a fascist terrorist enemy, a totalitarian enemy that eliminated all dissent within its ranks and within Tamil politics, a terrorist enemy that slaughtered women and children asleep in the so-called border villages and exploded bombs on commuter trains and buses.

Given the composition of the Task Force, it is hardly surprising that it made the recommendations it did. The Secretary is Dr. Pakiyasothy Saravanamuttu who has hardly distinguished himself by his sage-like detachment during Sri Lanka’s conflict and its aftermath. His track record is one of conspicuous lobbying in Geneva (unsuccessfully on my watch) for an international inquiry into the war and its closing stages. A few months ago he authored an article in the English–language Lankan press which argued that public opinion polls show that the Sinhala voter will divide in such a manner that they will note vote in quite the way they did on Jan 8th 2015 for the Yahapalana ticket, and that therefore the minority voters, especially the Northern and Eastern voters must be actively incentivized to turn out at least as massively as on Jan 8th 2015 to vote YES at a referendum on the Constitution, by promising them an oversize autonomy package in the new Constitution.

It is someone with these obvious minoritarian biases who was picked by the PM as the Secretary of the Task Force on Reconciliation.

What is even more of a travesty is the composition of the Reconciliation Task Force. In sharp contrast to the LLRC, not a single member has held positions of responsibility in the Sri Lankan state and distinguished himself or herself in the service of the country. Still more glaringly, of the 11 members, six, i.e. a majority, belong to the ethnic/ethno-religious minorities. In other words, recommendations of reconciliation between the constituent communities of Sri Lanka were sought from a task force that far from being an accurate representation of the composition of the country whose communities it seeks to reconcile, actually inverts the actual composition of our society and is comprised of a majority drawn from the minorities. Any person who did not know the demographics of Sri Lankan, would conclude, looking at the task force on reconciliation, that Sri Lanka had a (slim) majority of Tamils and Muslims and a (large) minority of Sinhalese! GG Ponnambalam called for 50:50 and it was rejected both the DS Senanayake and Lord Soulbury. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has obviously gone further than that which PGG Ponnambalam demanded for the island’s combined minorities, and appointed a committee that accords more than 50:50 to the combined minorities!

The Reconciliation Task Force was appointed by the Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and its hideous report was presented to former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga in the presence of Minister of External Affairs Mangala Samaraweera. This then is the troika that seeks to persecute and punish the Sri Lankan military for winning its war of liberation, blacken the name of the anti-fascist, anti-separatist Sinhalese community which fought to keep the country together, whitewash the Tigers by accepting allegations of war crimes, and impose the vision and perspective of minoritarianism on Sri Lanka.

2017 is the year to begin the national liberation struggle to take our country back from this clique. It has already begun, aptly enough in the Deep South, the Ruhuna, days ago.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 4

    Crispy DJ! If the grand (or great grand?) son of late P. Saravanamuttu, who, a darling of then ruling Sudda, was to succeed in his heinous effort, mother Lanka will curse him.

    • 14

      It’s elementary my dear Dr Jayatilleka,

      You can do away with all your wordy hoopla.

      It’s utterly simple.

      Sirisena and Ranil even in their bungling ham-fisted way want to do something good for the country. People can fault their methods (now there’s freedom to do that) but not their motives.

      Even an Einstein like you should know, Rajapakse’s motives. Whether he is in it for the country or for himself and his family.

      Motives! Dear Doctor Jayatilleka.

      • 11

        DJ could do lot more to the poor country, if God allowed him a healthy head.Unfortunatley, his abusive nature seems giving no chances to change himself. Psychology proves you can change a lot, if you could see your own failures closely as you can. In DJ s case, he is walking away from getting to know his own problems. I am puzzeled when it comes to search for the reasoning as to why the kind of the learnt men behave so.

        We can just ingnore if anything akin came from a person of the Nature – Wimal Weerawanse ( everyone knows his education and background), no means easy if the signs are that deep in terms of learnt men too. It is simply sad.

        • 9

          Dan Fernando

          “We can just ingnore if anything akin came from a person of the Nature – Wimal Weerawanse “

          Read what this war monger agreed with Wimal Sangili Karruppan Weerawansa:

          Throughout the meeting was the rising chant from the crowd, “Mahinda! Mahinda! Apata Oney Mahinda! (“We want Mahinda!”)”. So Wimal was probably right when he said to rapturous applause “Mahinda is not a name, Mahinda is a country!”

          The Rising: Nugegoda Feb 18th
          February 19, 2015

          Tell about Dayan (the war monger) when he agreed with Wimal Sangili Karruppan Weerawansa.

    • 11

      Sounds like the Swan song before the Chop. Poor man trying hard to stop the chop while his pay master doing the
      Dana at the Mahavihare asking for mercy in the act BRIBING THE SANGHA WITH HIS ILL GOTTEN WEALTH.

      There should be a constitution written by the Mahasangha TO REJECT WEALTH , AND DONATIONS FROM THIEVES WHO AMASSED WEALTH THROUGH IMMORAL WAYS(. Stolen from the state and individuals)
      Should be REJECTED from even those in Power.



    • 10

      max moron

      Whats the matter with you. Have you given up on thug Gnanasara?

      I do not under stand why this war monger wants to drop names such as Dr. SA Wickremasingha and Sarath Muttetuwegama.

      My Elders knew Sarath Muttetuwegama personally as well as politically for a long time.

      What is the compulsion for this war monger to drag a good politician’s name into his rant?

    • 5

      DJ’s uncritical worshipping of the criminal clan from Hambantota is epic. Borderline embarrassing.


      • 3

        As I know political analysts in general should criticise everyone without being biased to any parties. But this particular self-proclaimed appearantly does an one-sided job. Anyways you cant expect real professionals in politics and external affairs of the srilanka.

      • 1

        Ben Hurling

        “Borderline embarrassing.”

        Well he agreed with Wimal Sangili Karruppan Weerawansa that “Mahinda was not a name, Mahinda is a country!”

        This is Mahinda’s La La Land where only his b***s carriers are permitted to live, loot, …..

        What do you have to say about this war monger?

    • 3

      Max I thought you woudl have been met with injuries yesterday. You guys had been really busy with Namal Baby in Hambantota on the 7 th right ?

      You guys even joined Maharaja at the time, he was about to introduce Casinos to the country – today as if you are too brainwashed, you behave supporting them further.
      For your inforamtion, Yoshita Rajaapshe had withrawn 500 million of US dollars from his Dubai Bank account abusing his trip to Australia for so called Penis elongation operation. Govt has confirmed that they have recieved the information directly from Dubai Bank… so it is true that over Billions of money is deposited in the acocunts of Yoshita, his Mum and others. Maharaja has to cut his throat in the days to come.
      Wait and see, Delayed is not forgotten.

  • 5

    “..as social discontent had overflowed the bounds of the system and of peaceful protest”

    Thank you, Prof. Dayan, for pointing out that the violence of the eighties was a result, I now think, of the lack of political alternative and the supression of protest. So it was JR who was responsible for the entire catastrophe that followed. This fact is usually lost in the analysis.

    The current government, however, is streets ahead of JR and the backward days of the 1980s. As the name Yakapalanaya suggests, we are much more free than then, maybe too free. Look at the protests. No supression here. I mean there
    may be the odd tear gas or two, but that’s all. They have to use all those tear gas canisters they ordered, after all, otherwise they would be accused of ‘hoarding’ or wasting government money.

    Wait patiently for 5 years more, and things will surely change.

    “The same errors are being contemplated by a far more ramshackle regime this time around, and will result in far more dramatic blowback.”

    I don’t think it will be so bad, really, I mean can it get worse than this?

    “2017 is the year to begin the national liberation struggle to take our country back from this clique. It has already begun, aptly enough in the Deep South, the Ruhuna, days ago.”

    Why struggle? Wait five years, no struggle, it will be very easy. The longer the wait, the bigger the landslide. Ask JR. If the country sinks in the mean time at least be grateful we have the freedom to talk about it.

    • 4


      “Thank you, Prof. Dayan,”

      Professor ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  • 3

    Not for a moment condoning state sponsored violence, but if Rohana Wijeweera’s father was paralyzed by UNP violence at the ’47 election, what did he do to actually receive the harsh treatment?

    I see an imbalance in your article DJ; both sides of the coin must be bared; not only one side.

    Special courts are necessary; given the horrendous track record of our own courts and the judiciary.

    Can a sitting President of this country use his official status to get even with another, using the State machinery?

    QUOTE “… if someone tries to kill his brothers for example, then that’s personal. And he means it. And that’s what led him to the conclusion ‘I reached out my hand to Prabhakaran in 2005, then he tried to kill my brother. So OK, now I will show him” – END QUOTE.

  • 9

    The major problem with Yahapalanaya entering the 3 year is DJ’s hope of getting another perky appointment is getting further and further beyond his reach. :(

  • 12

    Again DJ has come with an article totally critical of RW’s actions and governance. This is government headed by Maithre as President and he has conveniently avoided reference to him. He very well knows RW will never look at him for any position in the present government and perhaps May he he has hopes to achieve something through Maithre! Whilst still promoting MR expecting a return to power. What level of professionalism.

  • 11

    How about a paragraph as to why MR’s government failed and brought about this government?

    At least the present government is trying to do something to bring the communities back together.

    • 5


      Please wait, the Nugegoda man is expected to arrive any time now.

    • 6


      This is DJ, either on a paranoid trip or on a mission to negatively spin the Reconciliation Task Force report in favor of his erstwhile masters. So don’t hold your breath about that paragraph you request from him about “why MR’s government failed and brought about this government”.

      Will never happen.

      So what else is new???

  • 9

    In your words, Who is Mahinda Rajapakse?
    He is a man who take revenge if he is insulted by anyone or anyone try to hurt his family members. According to you he took revenge against Lasantha by killing him because he told the truth about Mahinda’s corruption, revenage against Sarath Fonseka because be contested against him, and he killed Pirabharan and over 100,000 innocent Tamils. All these he did for his personal reasons and nothing to do with terrorism, security of the people and Nation. What should be the punishment for a murderer? Not taking the civic rights, should be hanged? What will happen if you allow him without any punishment. He will go with his revenge taking plan. That is to murder MMaithiri, Ranil, Chandrika, Sampanthan & Rauf etc. He will massacre 16 million people who voted against him, Destroy all the mosques, Tamples and Churches.

    • 7

      You may be right except lanken voter eligibles are just 15.5 millions from the last records.

      Correct, Rajapakshe is number revengeful, highly dangerous leader sadly the mother lanka ever produced.

      • 6

        Thanks for correcting the figures. It should be 6.2 million.

  • 2

    DJ, time to start count down the days to get back to the UN. I think MR shouldn’t blink to appoint you this time as you have done enough, particularly the meeting you attended in the company of Weerawansa in Nugegoda. Even then you claimed the agitation has started it is matter of time before MR take over the parliament. And, then we saw not much happened in the parliamentary election. During the presidential election you gave some predictions, all turned out to be your wishful predictions, not backed by any sorts of rationales.

    This time your prediction might become true, the reason being, during 2016, RW-MS Govt. has also doing the same thing MR did, selling lands to China. MR was able to do it quietly because he has had the white van service on then. But this mob doesn’t have such service yet want to do the same. Also, of late, kind of patriotism you have which doesn’t let you to distinguish the rights from wrongs has gotten to MS as well, resulting he doesn’t want war zeros being produced in courts without his knowledge. So, the people who voted for them in the last election have become disillusioned and would abstain from voting which should be enough for MR to win an election. The current regime in 2016, didn’t do much other than playing into MR hands in every issue it handled. Regarding Hambantota issue, maybe the intentions would have been pure, but solution proposing has long term consequence to SL, and it will be politically suicidal for MS-RW. It is a godsend for MR wouldn’t have asked for any better. The stupidity of this Govt. would make MR yet again a hero rescuing the mother land.

  • 8

    Another meaningless article not worth the paper it is written on by a political stooge of the great MARA. Cloud nine thinking in fairyland by the feather brained political scientist. Dont waste your time reading this crap.

  • 0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 0

    Thero De Silva can’t forget FRB because Thero is now representing the FRB on the old Royal’s games at UNHRC. FRB got shot by that gun. That is why Thero loses his sleep thinking the revival of “Civic Rights”. He is purposely confusing readers by mixing unrelated things hoping that will save him at Lankawe.
    There is a plan to restore Civic Rights punishment. Unrelated to that, Task force of Manouri Muttetuwegama, not Saravanamuttu ‘s is recommending for Hybrid court for war crime. Anybody convicted of war crime is not going to be Civic Right removed. By international standard and of the severity it will be life time. Further Civic Rights is not being initiated by, UN, UNHRC, HC Prince Zeid, Sampanthar, Kumar, any Diaspora organization or even by the proposed Foreign Judges, the parties interested in war crime investigation.

    Lasantha, Thajuddin and other muder cases are suppressed by Ranil can attract Capital Punishment.

    Civic Rights is being considered because of the $18 Billions. Lanka has no law to repossess the properties. Apply anything like that on a personal property retrospectively is hard because most of the judges will not corporate. But in the past civic rights removal is successfully implemented.
    At UNHRC Lankawe is the minority. It is 20 million against 6 Billion. Thero successfully implemented minority rule in 2009. Thero will not be able to stop majority decision to prevail in UNHRC.

    After murdering 300,000-500,000 Tamils for 70 years, Thero is making a rousing a racist speech to distract UNHRC attention. But Ex UNSG Ban ki Moon said expert panel report is not going anywhere. Especially Thero’s Campaign against Civic Right Removal will do nothing. But if Special Task Force for Reconciliation Mechanism is not taken seriously locally, UNHRC will be pushed to take action externally.

  • 0

    Mr D, dream on. MR cannot win. He is popular with Sinhalese people but Tamils and Muslims will never vote for him. So with his crooked brother in this mix, he will lose. The people want a brave stand up man like Gotabaya not Basil. Namal baba needs to eat humble pie and come down to earth without thinking he was the anointed Prince heir apparent.

    Here are the local government results. UNP first; SLFP third; MR group second. UNP will get a landslide and all you guys will get a lot of face palm.

  • 1

    Civic rights- he is loosing himself,one time untouchable,the king,this disgrace man wants his name in the school syllabus,he came to power with the help of VP,exec PZ to ordinary MP,

    Next election he has to go further rurals where people don’t have access to net or electricity,and media only rely on Appuhammies.

    But this guy die hard talking about Xmas tree and failure,

    Hope 2017 may a good start for our Lanka(all Sri lankans not by percentage,but all citizens but lot of corruption murder wella sudda Kallu suddha big under world by whom?)

  • 1

    MR and Co are now history, even the Chinese have dumped them for good and rightly so, guess they have figured out that RW and M3 are much safer bet considering the many international challenges MR will have to face should he ever get elected again.

    So it’s safe to assume that the White Van era will never return atleast for the foreseeable future

Leave A Comment

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