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  • ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ කොරෝනා වසංගතය, 'මුස්ලිම් ප්‍රජාවට එරෙහි වෙනස්කම්', ත්‍රස්ත විරෝධී නීතිය සහ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා
    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 
    Bills from 2019 presidential  election not paid
    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
    Rights group and activists accuse gov't of forcing cremation of Muslim COVID-19 victims in disregard to WHO guidelines. The forced cremation of two COVID-19 infected Muslims in Sri Lanka has sent shock waves among the minority community, which accused the authorities of violating Islamic burial rites. Bishrul Hafi Mohammed Joonus, a 73-year- old  man from the capital Colombo who died of COVID-19, was the second Muslim to have been cremated in the Indian Ocean island nation, which has registered 151 cases so far. Bishrul's son Fayaz Joonus, 46, said his father who had a kidney...
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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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      00:50 GMT - Death toll in New York state surpasses 1,000 More than 1,000 people have died from the coronavirus outbreak in New York state, according to a tally by The Associated Press  (AP) news agency. On Sunday evening, New York City said its toll had risen to 776. The total number of statewide deaths is not expected to be released until Monday, but with at least 250 additional deaths recorded outside the city as of Sunday morning, the state's total fatalities was at least 1,026, AP said. 00:30 GMT - China reports 31 new cases in mainland The number of COVID-19 infections in China continues to slow with health authorities in Beijing reporting 31 new cases at the end of Sunday. The figure includes one locally transmitted infection and marks a drop from the 45 cases reported a day earlier. There were no new cases for a sixth consecutive...
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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...
    Read More...
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Rajapaksas are playing the Racist card - TNA

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All the political parties affiliated to the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) representing the Tamil community especially in the North and East, have pledged their full support to New Democratic Front Presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa. Five days ahead of the election, the Daily Mirror interviewed TNA MP and leading lawyer M. A. Sumanthiran who explained the reasons for the decision to support Premadasa and why the Tamil community would resist the return of Rajapaksas to power. Excerpts;

 

Q The Gotabaya Rajapaksa camp alleged that there are translation differences among Sinhala, Tamil and English versions of Sajith Premadasa’s manifesto with regard to the solution on ethnic issue. What is your view?

There are no differences. Sajith has agreed for the same constitutional process that has now reached the draft stage. One cannot conclude without knowing the manifesto and the journey of its process. So in that process there are two interim reports and this is how the words have been used. In Sinhala the word ‘Ekeeya’ is being used. In Tamil and English the equivalent words for unitary is not used. So ‘Ekeeya’ is used in the sense where it is one country. And there is a definition is given. In the interim report also it is clearly explained and a definition has been given. So the definition is not unitary neither federal. It merely says it’s one undivided and indivisible country in which powers of governance are in the centre and province as laid down in the Constitution. You don’t have to give it a label of any sort. India is not described as a unitary or federal state. Many countries in the world don’t describe these terms. We in Sri Lanka did not describe it until 1972. Soulbury Constitution never mentioned about unitary neither did it say federal. So you can have your own terms. The word Ekeeya denotes one, and just in case it is misunderstood as unitary that has been defined in the draft. But that doesn’t conclude as federal. What we wanted to do was to resolve the issue rather than hanging on with empty labels. I agree on the content and that we managed to do. And if you were to have some consensus, we had to annul that label. But we agreed to used the word ‘Ekeeya’ in Sinhala as literary meaning of that word only means one, nothing else. And Mahinda Rajapaksa should know this as his representatives were in the steering committee. We had long discussions on this. And now to come up with this statement as if he has discovered something new, is  a move  to deliberately mislead the people.

 

"If Gotabaya wins, our worry is that the process might not only be stopped but the land that have been released might be taken again"

 

Q So do you mean that Mahinda Rajapaksa is not telling the truth...

He is playing a racist card and trying to excite the people by showing that deliberate misleading is taking place. In fact, over a period of three and-a-half to four years, these have been discussed and consensus was reached. And it was in writing and has been made public. So Mr. Rajapaksa is deliberately trying to whip up the Sinhala nationalistic feelings against the others.

Q You have decided to support NDF Presidential Candidate Sajith Premadasa. Do you think this is the view and the decision of the entire Tamil community you represent?

Yes. When the election results come, you would see it. It is both ways. We have listened carefully to the sentiments of our people in making that decision and our people also carefully heed our advice when they vote. So it is a two-way process.

Q What about the divisions in the Tamil political arena?

There are no divisions in the Tamil political circuit. The TNA represents the Tamil people and nobody else does. We have 16 MPs out of 18 Tamil members representing the North and East. Even the other two; namely Douglas Devananda and Vijayakala Maheswaran were not elected for one seat. They came in through the highest number of floating votes. Therefore no one can say that there is disunity and there are others outside. We represent the Tamil people and there are others who were not elected. You won’t see this kind of unity in any other community in the country. So we have been given the mandate by the Tamil people, not anybody else. But we do consult with the others and we never stand against unity. We discuss with other political formations all the time but responsibility of making decisions eventually rest in our hands.

 

"we must first settle the issues and do the Constitutional reforms. And if that is done then, we will certainly invite the diaspora to come and invest"

 

Q Before 2015 the Nothern people complained that their lands have not been returned and in 2015 the govt said most of the lands were returned to their original owners. Do you agree with this and are you satisfied with the government policy on this issue?

A lot of lands have been returned. Government claims that 90 percent of private lands have been returned. It may not be 90 percent but about 80 percent. That is a huge achievement. Because at the end of 2013, the then government had stopped the process of releasing lands. And it had issued notice to acquire the remaining lands. But that process was stalled and more lands were released and there are still more to be released. But large portions have been released to the people’s for occupation. And that is a big triumph for us.

Q Do you believe if Sajith Premadasa is elected, the process would be continued?

Yes, it should continue because the process is still underway now. But if Gotabaya wins, our worry is that the process might not only be stopped but the land that have been released might be taken again.

Q There were some complaints by the Nothern people that there were heavy military presence in the peninsula. How do you react to these complaints?

For the past four years to five years, we have not seen heavy military presence. They are in the barracks. They hardly come out. That is in Jaffna. But in Vanni and a few other places, there were more prominent military presence. However, over the period of time it has been downsized.

Q There are also fears circulated specially in the South with regard to the opening the Palali airport for international flights attributing political reasons for it. What is your view?

We used to have flights from Palai to India up to the early 1980s. They were stopped because of the hostilities. Now that the way is over the flights should have started long time ago. Infact Mahinda Rajapaksas time when the Indian consulate in Jaffna was opened Minster S. M. Krishna came and at the opening ceremony he mentioned this that we must start the flights again. So it is high time that we started it.

 

"There are no divisions in the Tamil political circuit. The TNA represents the Tamil people and nobody else does. We have 16 MPs out of 18 Tamil members representing the North and East"

 

Q What about the issue of disappearances in the North? This has not being solved?
The disappearances issue is one that has been dragged on most without any result. But the Office of Missing Person was established, moneys were allocated and work has started but the progress has been very very slow leading the relatives being disillusioned. But the disappearance issue itself is a difficult issue and ten years on when there is no signs of anybody, how does one resolve it. Of course there should be investigation in each case. The relatives must know what happened to that person, so that this office is supposed to do. They still don’t seemed to have got their act together for various reason.

Q It is not only in the North and East but we saw there were alleged abductions and disappearances took place in South even in Colombo as well. There is an ongoing case of 11 Tamil students who were abducted. There were allegations of the involvement of Navy as well. What is your view?

Yes that has been found out as some people in the Navy did it for ransom. And the CID investigated and provided reports to the Magistrate. And there again there is evidence of interference in the processes. I saw that seven person had been indicted for the disappearance  of journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda. But that is taking too much time because of kind of people who are involved in it.

Q But President promoted, a very senior Naval officer who is alleged to be involved in the incident?

Yes this happened when he comes under pressure to give into their side. But if it under Rajapaksa there won’t be that flip-flop and that all will be all in one direction that it will happen.

 

" In fact, over a period of three and-a-half to four years, these have been discussed and consensus was reached. And it was in writing and has been made public. So Mr. Rajapaksa is deliberately trying to whip up the Sinhala nationalistic feelings against the others"

 

Q There were hopes specially under last governments that the Tamils in the foreign countries would come back to Sri Lanka and invest and develop specially the North and East. What have you got to say about this?

That hasn’t happened to the levels we expected. But there seemed to be good reasons for that. People are still very apprehensive that the political situation here has not been estabilised. So if there is a political solution, a new constitution something like that, then I think that will give them adequate confidence to come back and invest.

Q If Sajith Premadasa, the candidate you support wins would you invite the Tamil community to come back to Sri Lanka?

No, we must first settle the issues and do the Constitutional reforms. And if that is done then, we will certainly invite the diaspora to come and invest.

 

http://www.dailymirror.lk/opinion/Rajapaksas-are-playing-the-Racist-card-TNA/231-177590

 

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