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    Image copyrightTWITTER/ JUSTICE FOR HEJAAZ අදින් මාස කිහිපයකට පෙර ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ශ්‍රේෂ්ඨාධිකරණය ඉදිරියේ පැවති විභාගයකදී තරුණ නීතිඥවරයෙක් පෑ වාග් පෙළහර එහි සිටි බොහෝ දෙනාගේ සිත් ඇදගැනීමට සමත්විය. රට පුරා මහත් ආන්දෝලනයකට ලක් වූ ඒ නඩු විභාගයේදී ඔහු මතු කළ තර්ක කෙතරම් අවධානයට ලක් වූයේ ද යත් ඔහුගේ මිතුරන් මතු නොව, අධිකරණයේ දී ඔහුගේ ප්‍රතිවාදීන් වූ සගයින්...
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  • NEC Chairman continuing as one-man commission: Hoole
    August, September dates  discussed for polls 
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    My US citizenship oath nothing to  be ashamed of
    National Elections Commission (NEC) member Ratnajeevan H. Hoole has not been in good terms with NEC Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya in recent times and this has been evident in statements Hoole has made to the media. In an interview with Dailymirror, Hoole opens up on his issues with Deshapriya, concerns over the proposed dates for the parliamentary election and several other matters. Excerpts:

    Q  There was a lot of debate with regard to the postponed parliamentary poll and now the NEC has picked June 20 to hold the election. Why June 20?
    Many have asked why we chose the President’s birthday. I was not aware it is his birth date. Superstition is suggested because...
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  • Sri Lanka’s Muslim Coronavirus Victims Deserve Honorable Religious Funeral
    While Sri Lankan government remains adamant on cremating bodies of Muslim coronavirus victims, despite an earlier decision to allow burials, doctors worldwide have come out with scientific facts to prove that   burials, now taking place in more than 180 countries worldwide, do not cause any harm to anyone.

    Burial for Muslim corona virus dead victims, according to World Health Organization guidelines and local funeral laws, was agreed all over the world  

    In a 16 minute video Dr Feroze M Mubarak, COVID-19 Practice Strategy Lead, Clinical Director, SAS North & Central London on scientific facts-Cremation of Covid 19 infected bodies, has explained clearly why in the case of Muslims, Christians and Jews burial should be permitted.

    https://youtu.be/NQQxvmgRp08   However here in Sri Lanka the government,...
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  • Respect Burial Rights; Stop Hate Speech Against Muslims: UN Tells Gota
    The United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief has urged President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to follow WHO guidelines on the disposal of deceased persons.

    Writing to the President, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion said: We would like to encourage your Excellency’s Government to reconsider the provisions in the MoH Guideline by taking into account of the key considerations provided by WHO Guideline for the disposal of the bodies of human beings deceased from the COVID-19, and revise the circular accordingly. In view of the challenges posed by the pandemic it is important that the Government avoids any unnecessary measures that are likely to raise tension and are running contrary to the respect of the fundamental human rights of the persons belonging to different communities that exist in Sri Lanka....
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  • Anguish as Sri Lanka forces Muslims to cremate COVID-19 victims
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  • ආදරණීය සිිංහල මිතුරන්ගෙන් කරන ‌ඉල්ලීම
      ඊයේ දින ‌කොරෝනා නිසා මරණයට පත් වූ මීගමුවේ පුද්ගලයාගේ මිනිය භූමිදානය කිරීමට කළ උත්සාහයන් අසාර්ථක වීම ගැනත් ඒ පිළිබඳව රවූෆ් හැකීම් වැනි ‌අය නිකුත් කළ මාධ්‍ය නිවේදනය ගැනත් විවිධ අදහස් සමාජ මාධ්‍යය ඔස්සේ ඉදිරිපත් ‌වෙමින් පවතී. ඒ අය නීතියට පටහැනිව කිසිවක් ඉල්ලුුුුවේ නැත. ‌‌‌‌ලෝක ‌‌‌සෙ‍ෳඛ්‍ය සංවිධානයේ මාර්ගෝපදේශය සහ ඒ අනුව...
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  • Iran urges US to free Iranian prisoners amid coronavirus pandemic
    Iran's government has urged the United States to release Iranians held in US jails on sanctions-related issues due to fears about the coronavirus outbreak. Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused Washington of holding a number of Iranians in its prisons and said under these circumstances they should be set free. Meanwhile, the death toll in Iran from the coronavirus rose to 2,378 on Friday, a jump of 144. Iran is one of the worst hit countries in the world. Zarif also referred to a report by The Guardian newspaper about Sirous Asgari, a science professor, who it said was still being...
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  • Palestinian groups cancel mass Gaza rallies due to coronavirus
    Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip have cancelled mass rallies planned for next week along the border with Israel amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus in the densely-populated territory, organisers said on Saturday. The rallies were called for March 30 to mark the second anniversary of the so-called "Great March of Return" which had prompted weekly protests by Palestinians seeking to regain access to land, now in Israel, from which their ancestors were forced to flee during the Nakba, the Palestinian exodus, in 1947-48.
    They also mark Palestinian Land Day which commemorates the events of March 30, 1976, when Israeli police shot and killed six Palestinian citizens of Israel as they protested against the Israeli government's expropriation of land. "We call upon our people not to go to...
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  • Sri Lanka pardons soldier who killed Tamil civilians
    Sri Lanka's president on Thursday pardoned and released an army officer sentenced to death for slitting the throats of Tamil civilians, including four children, during the island's bloody ethnic war. Staff Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake was to be hanged for the December 2000 killing in a case held up by previous Sri Lankan governments as an example of rare accountability over abuses during the conflict. A court convicted him of murdering eight members of the Tamil minority, including a five-year-old and three teenagers after a 13-year trial. They were killed as they returned to their bombed homes to salvage what was left of their belongings and their bodies were found buried in a cesspit near an army camp at Mirusuvil on the Jaffna peninsula. The Supreme Court unanimously rejected the officer's appeal and upheld the death penalty last year. But...
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Will Sri Lanka elect A president by default?

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  • When ITAK, after a prolonged silence, decided to support Sajith in their last party meeting in Vavuniya, one of the mothers representing the families of disappeared tried to throw a slipper at the TNA Leader Sampathan

 

“We see only Muslim villages have been developed, but not the Tamil villages. The only way for Catholic and Hindu villages to get developed is to vote for Gota.” -Namal Rajapaksa in Mannar.


“We have to act against Muslims. We Tamil youth have to think and act.” - leaflet by Kiran youth front for SLPP.


Mannar voters who are living in Puttalam are banned to come in hired private buses to cast their votes – Assistant Election Commissioner, Mannar.


If Muslims do not vote for Gota they will get it properly – Ali Sabri, PC


Whatever the reason given, in 2005 the vast majority of the Tamils from the North and East and even in Colombo did not go to the polling booths to exercise their franchise. The result, as they say, is history. Yet it is imperative for that history to now be reflected upon seriously. The President who got elected partly due to the decision taken by Tamils not to exercise their franchise ruled over the entire country for the next 10 years, with grave effects for all. On the eve of another Presidential election, where some are calling for new boycotts or putting up candidates deliberately to draw votes from the main contenders, the lessons of the 2005 boycott are particularly worth considering.


We have only five more days before we know, what fate lies ahead for minorities in this country. In every campaign platform in the north and east, what I see is racism and hatemongering centred around minorities. Divide and rule has been the norm of Sinhala Governments since independence, but in this election it has reached a level we have never witnessed before.


The frontline campaigners of SLPP, especially in the north and east, are collecting voters for Gota through outright hate mongering. Their campaigns are all about asking people not to support Sajith because Muslims are with them, or to support Gota because he will put the Muslims in their place. In areas where Karuna, Pillaiyan et al are campaigning, venom is being spit against the Muslims, with appeals to Tamils to vote for Gota if they want to keep the Muslims under control. The irony is that the very same pro-SLPP forces have successfully gotten Hisbullah to use the same language to woo the extremist Muslims against the Tamils and even Sinhalese!


Such tactics are made possible this time in large part because the “Yahapalana” Government failed to deliver on the reforms it promised and left so many in desperate plight as a result.  In the north and east, war-affected communities are being urged not to cast their votes, and being told that whether it is Sajith or Gota, neither is going to solve their issues. When ITAK, after a prolonged silence, decided to support Sajith in their last party meeting in Vavuniya, one of the mothers representing the families of disappeared tried to throw a slipper at the TNA Leader Sampanthan.


On another front, the Muslims are either ridiculed or threatened about the negative consequences of voting for Sajith and the NDF – warnings often given by their own community’s scare mongers.  One of the ongoing scare tactics, to keep voters away, is the confusion created around the dress code of Muslim women. There was a request apparently from the police that the Muslim women wearing the burkha and the nikkab can create panic at the booths thus banning it is vital for a peaceful election. One wonders why this is an issue to begin with, because Muslim women before the Easter Sunday suicide bombings did go to the polling stations, stood in lines and removed their face cover to reveal their identities before voting. They did so during every election without any issues. Given the recent harassment they faced based on their attire in places like Government buildings and public transportation these women, especially those Muslim women living in the areas that were attacked by mobs after the Easter Sunday bombings are really frightened and may not turn up in the same numbers as before.


The October 26th coup in 2018 was a nerve-wracking reminder – especially to the 6,217,162 voters who rejected MR – that the Rajapaksas are willing to bulldoze our most basic democratic institutions to regain what they unexpectedly lost in 2015. Defeating that backdoor entry of MR was possible only because the minority parties – TNA, SLMC, ACMC, and TPA – stuck together and defended democracy. Now the SLPP is trying proactively to stop that minority grouping from helping Sajith get elected. This the SLPP is doing by pitching the Tamils against Muslims. Knowing well that the war-affected minorities will never deliberately wish to bring back to power those whom they blame most for the large-scale atrocities they endured, their tactic seems to be to prevent anti-Gota voters from going to the polling booth by persuading minorities voters that there is no use in electing any Sinhala leader.


The third tactic is to hoodwink the voters who will never mark 1 or X to Gota by getting them to spoil their vote. One group allied to Gotabhaya’s campaign in Batticaloa has told a group of Tamil women to put three Xs to fully exercise their preferential votes knowing that these women will never vote for their candidate.  To begin with almost 2 foot long ballot paper and 35 candidates itself is creating confusion and then the preferential vote of marking 1 to 3 and the option of using X or 1 to 3 is compounding the confusion.


The minorities; Tamils and Muslims are not really convinced by what the candidates are promising and have little enthusiasm to go to the polling station attracted by their policies or manifestos. However, they should drag themselves to the polling booths on November 16 to exercise their right of franchise to participate in electing one or preventing another as citizens of this country whether the one is to be elected is a greater or lesser evil, their ballots should be counted.


*Shreen Abdul Saroor is a human rights activist and founder member of Women’s Action Network.

 

It’s reported that ITAK officials emerging from a meeting in Vavuniya saw slippers being thrown at them by members of families whose loved ones had gone missing

http://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/Will-Sri-Lanka-elect-A-president-by-default/131-177615

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