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  • Anti-terrorism Bill will be changed
    The highly controversial Antiterrorism Bill is subject to amendments and changes in Parliament and as such no one should have any fear or feeling of threat from the proposed Bill, Justice Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said. The government is aware of concerns raised by the global and local community on certain provisions contained in the draft of the Anti-terrorism Bill and the Government is ready to alleviate them by discussion, compromise and flexibility, he added. Addressing a news conference at the Information Department auditorium, Minister Rajapakshe said the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) passed in 1979 under President J.R. Jayewardene’s rule as a temporary measure to counter the emerging separatist insurgency. The PTA has been misused and exploited by successive Governments since then for their personal and political...
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  • WhatsApp adds option to use the same account on multiple phones
    WhatsApp users are no longer restricted to using their account on just a single phone. Today, the Meta-owned messaging service is announcing that its multi-device feature — which previously allowed you to access and send messages from additional Android tablets, browsers, or computers alongside your primary phone — is expanding to support additional smartphones. “One WhatsApp account, now across multiple phones” is how the service describes the feature, which it says is rolling out to everyone in the coming weeks.
    Setting up a secondary phone to use with your WhatsApp account happens after doing a fresh install of the app. Except, rather than entering your phone number during setup and logging in as usual, you instead tap a new “link to existing account” option. This will generate a QR...
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  • CBK commends Dr. Shafi’s noble gesture of donating past salary to buy essential medicine
    Falsely accused by racist elements for alleged illegal sterilisation, Kurunegala Teaching Hospital doctor says racism will not take country or organisation forward except make poor people suffer more; calls on all to make Sri Lanka racism-free   Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga has commended Dr. Mohamed Shafi Shihabdeen over his gesture of donating the past salaries amounting to Rs. 2.6 million during his suspension and imprisonment on false charges to buy essential medicines. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga

    Dr. Mohamed Shafi Shihabdeen



    Following...
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  • Dr. Shafi donates arrears of his salary to purchase medicines for hospitals
    Dr. Shihabdeen Mohamed Shafi, the doctor at the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital has decided to donate arrears of his salary amounting over Rs. 2.67 million for the purchase of essential medicines for hospitals.

    Dr. Shafi who was on compulsory leave on charges of performing infertility surgery, has received a cheque of over Rs. 2.67 million salary arrears from the Health Ministry last week.

    The salary arrears include the basic salary, interim allowance, cost of living, and allowance in lieu of pension for the period of compulsory leave imposed on Dr. Sihabdeen.

    Dr. Shafi who was employed at the Kurunegala teaching hospital was arrested on May 25th, 2019, on charges of performing infertility surgery.
    On July 25, 2019, the Kurunegala Magistrate’s Court ordered that the doctor be released on bail.
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  • Govt. used Sinhala-Buddhist shield to its maximum benefit Ven. Galkande Dhammananda Thera
    This Govt. nurtured thug-like monks promoted them and deployed them in various  places Certain monks have severe psychological wounds If  society isn’t healed cases of domestic violence, harassment and child  abuse will be on the rise Reconciliation  was about having workshops, providing a report and earning dollars Accountability  has not been included in the Constitution or the Judicial system Terrorism  sprouts in a country that has no justice Ven. Galkande Dhammananda Thera who currently heads the Walpola Rahula Institute for Buddhist Studies has been addressing issues related to social justice and harmony while promoting an inclusive and plural society. Having gathered a wealth of experience during the height of war for instance and having encountered various incidents during his lifetime, Ven. Dhammananda Thera has...
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  • Health ministry to pay back-wages for Dr. Shafi before July 10
    The Ministry of Health today gave an undertaking before the Court of Appeal that the salary and allowances payable to Dr. Shafi  Shihabdeen will be paid before July 10 this year. The Ministry of Health gave this undertaking pursuant to a writ petition filed by Dr. Shafi  Shihabdeen, who was at the centre of the controversy surrounding the alleged sterilisation of female patients. The Director General of Establishment at the Ministry of Public Services had earlier informed the Court that the basic salary, interim allowance, cost of living and allowance in lieu of pension could be paid to Dr. Shafi Shihabdeen, for the compulsory leave period. Meanwhile, the petitioner expressed willingness to attend the preliminary inquiry before Director of Kurunegala Teaching Hospital Dr. Chandana Kendangamuwa. Taking into consideration the facts,...
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  • Sri Lanka court orders release of lawyer held for two years
    A Sri Lankan court has ordered the release on bail of a lawyer arrested over his alleged links to the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings and held for nearly two years on charges rights groups say lacked credible evidence. Hejaaz Hizbullah was arrested in April 2020 and accused of being linked to the attacks on churches and hotels that left 279 people dead. But after prosecutors failed to provide evidence of his involvement in the attacks, blamed on a local group, he was instead Read More...
  • Hejaaz Hizbullah leaves from remand custody
    Attorney-at-law Hejaaz Hizbullah today left from remand custody after fulfilling his bail conditions before Puttlalam High Court.

    He was incarcerated for 22 months for allegedly committing offences come under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.Last Monday (07), the Court of Appeal ordered to release Hizbullah on bail pursuant to a revision application filed on behalf him.Hizbullah was ordered to be released on a cash bail of Rs.100,000 with two sureties of Rs.500,000 by Puttlalam High Court Judge Kumari Abeyratne. He was further ordered to report to the DIG office of Puttalam Police Division every second and fourth Sunday of every month.An indictment under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Act has now been served on Hejaaz Hizbullah. According to the indictment, Hizbullah...
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  • හිජාස් ගෙදර යයි

    (නිමන්ති රණසිංහ සහ හිරාන් ප්‍රියංකර ජයසිංහ) ත්‍රස්තවාදය වැළැක්වීමේ පනත සහ සිවිල් හා දේශපාලන අයිතීන් පිළිබද ජාත්‍යන්තර සම්මුති පනත ප්‍රකාරව චෝදනා ලැබ වසර දෙකකට ආසන්න කාලයක් රක්ෂිත බන්ධනාගාර ගත කර සිටි නිතීඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා මහතා අභියාචනාධිකරණ නියෝගය ප්‍රකාරව ඇප මත මුදාහැරීමට පුත්තලම මහාධිකරණය අද (09)...
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  • Court of Appeal grants bail on Hejaaz Hizbullah
    The Court of Appeal today ordered to release Attorney-at-law Hejaaz Hizbullah on bail after nearly two years in detention and remand custody. Accordingly, the Court of Appeal directed the Puttalam High Court to release Hejaaz Hizbullah on bail with suitable bail conditions. The Court of Appeal two-judge-bench comprising Justice Menaka Wijesundera and Justice Neil Iddawala made this order taking into consideration a revision application filed on behalf of Hejaaz Hizbullah. The Attorney General did not raise objections to release Hizbullah on bail. On January 28, an application made by the defence requesting to release Attorney-at-law Hejaaz Hizbullah on bail was rejected by Puttalam High Court.   The High Court Judge Kumari Abeyrathne refused to grant bail citing that she has no jurisdiction to grant bail under the Prevention of Terrorism...
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Rathana At It Again; ACJU Is The Punching Bag For Everyone

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By Mass L. Usuf

Mass Usuf

Let this column begin with a Disclaimer. It is only an analysis and the writer is not holding a brief to defend or protect the All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulema (ACJU). The ACJU has been functioning as an organisation for nearly 100 years. It was established circa 1924. As such it is not just another mushroom religious body and it consists of erudite persons with Islamic scholarship. It is interesting to note that there is no priesthood as such in Islam. Therefore, overlordship of man over man, in any form, be it religious or otherwise, is never a part of the teachings of Islam.

The ACJU has been targeted in two different ways. Firstly, by some members within the Muslim community. The Muslim bashing is mostly aimed at its leader. In the generic sense no human is perfect. The varying values of imperfection applies to a Leader too. After all a Leader is also a human and logically, cannot be perfect. We have seen how leaders conduct themselves, the levels of efficiency, the extent of corruption and so on. Having said that, it is also important to highlight that every Leader carries certain responsibilities that defines a good leadership. Moreover, a leader is burdened with the task of delivering on the expectations of those who accept him as a leader. Anyway, this is a personal matter and outside the scope of this column.

The second attack is mounted against the organisation itself. This is mainly spearheaded by the extreme right politicians and racist elements with the support of monks in many instances. Their ‘offensives’, unfortunately so called, since they are indeed offensives, are not aimed at achieving some principled objective or to advocate a cause via rational argument. Far from these, the apparent aim is to intimidate, create a fear psychosis, hatred and through this inculcate violence.

ACJU Is Fair Game

Democratic institutions among others are based on the epithet ‘Equality’. This equality is in relation to the citizens of the country. When equality is offended or disturbed by whatever force, it naturally results in conflict. The force that is guilty of violating this principle will continue doing so and those who had been deprived of equality will struggle to reinstate it. The imbalance caused by this inequality reflects on all strata of societal life.

In this context, when examining the effect of the vitriolic diatribe against ACJU, the hallmarks of a divisive society is clearly exposed. In fact, no other religious organisation has been abused in this country in the way ACJU has been battered. Each offensive rains down on ACJU spurious, unsubstantiated and unfounded allegations. The ACJU has been accused at different times as extremists, supporters of terrorism, striving to make Sri Lanka a Muslim country, surreptitiously introducing sharia law and such other fanciful and highly imaginative allegations. These are well timed and choreographed with a careful selection of words and terminologies which appeal to the feelings of the people and combining these with phrases which can easily excite their sensitivities.

The recurrence of this exercise at intervals exposes one more thing and that is the character of the people who engage in this vanity. Such people are not patriots, true nationalists and in the context of monks, the impression is that they have deviated from the teachings of Buddha.

Free Entertainment


Without any prejudice compare the noise that was made by the media, politicians and monks over the statement of Mr. Harin Fernando, former Member of Parliament about His Eminence Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith. Even the Auxiliary Bishops of Colombo together with the Catholic Clergy of the Archdiocese of Colombo issued a statement expressing their grave concern.

Let us examine another perspective. Whether one likes it or not Mr. Mangala Samaraweera former Member of Parliament is one person who does not hypocritically mix words when he articulates his disgust towards the conduct of certain monks. Irrespective of the veracity of what he says about some notorious monks the media, politicians and monks all have a field day casting aspersion on him and defending the monks.

Empirical observation reveals that most of the times it is the ethno-nationalists, extreme right politicians and politically bankrupt monks who engage in this game. They are providing free entertainment to many who are able to differentiate the chaff from the grain. The danger is that the majority of the people buy into these accusations and develop within them indoctrinated fear. This fear can easily be transformed into developing hate and resulting violence.

Enter The Dragon

Recently Athuraliye Rathana Thero appears to have had a bout of verbal diarrhoea which figuratively stinks. According to the general perception of the public, the government is not interested in him and therefore, he has been marginalised. The talk of the town is that he has passed the political ‘expiry date’ and is now desperately struggling to maintain his presence in the arena. Given the political climate the best choice for him is to throw a few punches at the ACJU. After all, anything against the Muslims is fair game these days especially for the racist monks.

I am reminded of a scene in the picture ‘Enter the Dragon’ (I assume) where an opponent of Bruce Lee, in the tournament ring, holds a wooden board and breaks it with a karate stroke in a display of power. Bruce Lee calmly responded saying, “Wooden boards do not hit back”. Venerable Athuraliye Rathana Thero knows very well that his punching bag (ACJU) also will not hit back. Moreover, unlike for His Eminence The Cardinal and for certain monks there is no media, politicians and monks who would come forward to speak on behalf of ACJU.

Polowa Pelena Boru

The fourth precept (sila) in Buddhism involves falsehood “musāvāda,”. More broadly it encompasses all forms of wrongful or harmful speech. As explained by the respected venerables, this would mean speech that is harsh, untruthful, motivated by greed or hatred, or otherwise connected with harm. Misleading arguments, verbal bullying, incitements to violence, rage, outbursts, malicious ridicule, and poorly worded statements that cause pain without benefit.

The recent statements of Rathana Thero against the ACJU which are unfounded or unsubstantiated can be connected with most of the above extensions of the pali word, “musāvāda”. What lies? Or, in Sinhala the common adage, “Polowa pelena boru”. Worst of all coming from the mouth of a monk violating the precept that he utters; wonder how many times for a day. This time the accusation, among several others, is that the ACJU has advised all Muslims to boycott Sampath Bank. Liar! Liar! Pants On Fire. The ACJU had never given any such advice and promptly issued a statement refuting this heinous accusation. See ACJU letter below:




 


 

The Most Abused Sila

The extent to which the fourth sila is abused is abominable. Especially, in a country where the five precepts are repeated so many times each day over the radio, on TV, in the temples, in every junction of the roads. And, that too, when the utterers of such lowly abuse are the monks the abomination becomes simply unbearable. It is unpleasant and it is unbecoming of anyone who has enrobed himself to indulge in lies. The monks are supposed to be the paragons of virtue. It is them that the laity looks upon with veneration since they have adopted the path of the buddha. It is the monks who teach the lay people the way of the buddha. When they fail to stand up or do not put into practice what they preach it is disappointing. Of course, this does not include the respectable monks.

The curse of pseudo religious and racist rhetoric most of the times fuelled by a false sense of nationalism are the enemies of this country. They are a threat to national security. These deceivers have to be stopped and they can be stopped only by the civic minded citizens of this country. This means you and me. Thank God, there still remains a large contingent of those who detest the dramatics of these opportunistic and pretentious patriots.

Abandoning false speech

Abandoning divisive speech

Abandoning abusive speech

Abandoning idle chatter

“This is how one is made pure in four ways by verbal action.”

— Anguttara Nikaya 10.176

Is it not time that the law-abiding citizens make the voice of their dissatisfaction be heard over this continuing state of affairs? What moral values are we going to leave behind for our children?

https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/rathana-at-it-again-acju-is-the-punching-bag-for-everyone/

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