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  • Justice for Hejaaz
    Frequently Asked Questions on Hejaaz Hizbullah Who is Hejaaz? Hejaaz Hizbullah is a prominent young lawyer and activist. After a stellar career at S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia and the Sri Lanka Law College—where he excelled in debating, moot court and represented Sri Lanka’s senior men’s waterpolo team—Hejaaz took oaths as a lawyer and joined the Attorney General’s Department. Since leaving the Department, he gained prominence as a bold and effective lawyer, taking on controversial commercial and constitutional cases. Besides his regular work, he also appeared pro bono in a number of cases involving minority rights and constitutional law, the most notable of which was his appearance for an Election Commissioner in the ‘Constitutional Coup’ case in October 2018. Hejaaz was also involved in activism...
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  • ‘‘ස්වාධිනව කටයුතු කරන් බෑ: තනතුරින් යනවා‘‘
    (විනීතා එම් ගමගේ)

    පාරිභෝගික සේවා අධිකාරියේ අධ්‍යක්ෂ ජනරාල් තුෂාන් ගුණවර්ධන මහතා සිය තනතුරෙන් ඉල්ලා අස් වීමට තීරණය කර ඇත.

    සිය ඉල්ලා අස්වීමේ ලිපිය පාරිභෝගික සේවා පිළිබඳ රාජ්‍ය අමාත්‍ය ලසන්ත අලගියවන්න මහතාට ලබන අඟහරුවාදා භාරදීමට තීරණය කළ බව තුෂාන් ගුණවර්ධන මහතා ලංකාදීපයට පැවැසීය.

    දිගින් දිගටම එල්ලවන දේශපාලන...
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  • 76 individuals including Christian and Catholic priests call for the release of Hejaaz
    In a public petition signed by 75 individuals including Christian and Catholic priests, they have called upon members of the Human Rights Council and all members of the international community to urge the Sri Lankan government to release Attorney-at-law Hejaaz Hizbullah forthwith. They also urge the international community to call upon the government to desist from deploying the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) against Hizbullah. The public petition states the 26th August 2021 marks the 500th day of Hejaaz Hizbullah’s incarceration. Among the Christian and Catholic priests signing the public petition were  Bishop Duleep de Chickera, the 14th Anglican Bishop of Colombo,  former General Secretary of National Christian Council Rev. Dr. Jayasiri T. Peiris, Rev. Fr. M. Sathivel, Rev. Andrew Devadason, Rev, Marc Billimoria, Rev. Fr. Nandana...
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  • හිජාස් – අහ්නාෆ් නිදහස් කොට ප්‍රජාතන්ත්‍රවාදය සුරක්ෂිත කරන්න ! – විශ්වවිද්‍යාල ආචාර්ය – මහාචාර්යවරුන් 96 දෙනෙක් අවධාරණය කරති !
    යුක්තිය පසිඳලීම සඳහා කටයුතු කරන ආයතන පද්ධතිය පිළිබඳ ඇති විශ්වාසය තහවුරු කිරීම සඳහා ආණ්ඩුව කටයුතු කළ යුතු බවත්, අත්තනෝමතික ලෙස රඳවාගෙන සිටින හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා සහ අහ්නාෆ් ජසීම් නිදහස් කිරීම එහිදී තීරණාත්මක කරුණක් බවත් විශ්වවිද්‍යාල ආචාර්යවරුන් ප්‍රමුඛ ශාස්ත්‍රීය ප්‍රජාව අවධාරණය කර සිටී.
    මෙවැනි ප්‍රජාතන්ත්‍ර විරෝධී...
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  • හිජාස්ගේ නඩුව මාධ්‍යවේදීන්ට තහනම් කරයි !
    අත්අඩංගුවට ගෙන, රඳවා තබාගෙන සිටින නීතිඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලාට එරෙහි නඩුව පසුගිය 15 වැනිදා පුත්තලම මහාධිකරණයේදී පැවැති අවස්ථාවේදී මාධ්‍යවේදීන්ට එම නඩුව ආවරණය කිරීමට අවස්ථාව ලබා දී නැත.
    නිරෝධායන නීති නිසා වැඩි පිරිසක් අධිකරණ ශාලාව තුළට ගත නොහැකි බව පවසමින් මෙසේ මාධ්‍යවේදීන්ට ඊට ඇතුළු වීම පොලිසිය විසින් වළකනු ලැබ තිබේ.
    ඒ...
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  • Fmr STF Commandant Lattif appointed to SLC disciplinary committee
    Former STF Commandant Senior DIG (Rtd.)M.R. Lattif has been appointed to the disciplinary committee of the Sri Lanka Cricket Board. The SLC Executive Committee has appointed Lattif to the five-member committee headed by Ajith Weerasinghe. The other members of the committee are, Niroshan Perera, Nalinda Ilangakoon and Anura Chandrasiri.(DSB) https://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/Fmr-STF-Commandant-Lattif-appointed-to-SLC-disciplinary-committee/108-215300   Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.
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  • ’’අනාෆ් ජසීම්’’ මුදාහරින්නැයි ගොනු කළ පෙත්සමට විරෝධතා ගොනු කරන්න සති දෙකක්
    අත්අඩංගුවට ගෙන මාස 10 ක් තිස්සේ කිසිදු අධිකරණයකට ඉදිරිපත් නෙකර පොලිස් රැදවුම්බාරයේ රදවා තබා සිටින මුස්ලිම් ජාතික කවියකු වන අනාෆ් ජසීම් වහාම මුදාහරින ලෙස ඉල්ලා ගොනු කළ මූලික අයිතිවාසිකම් පෙත්සම සම්බන්ධයෙන් සීමිත විරෝධතා සති දෙකක් ඇතුළත ගොනු කරන්නැයි ශ්‍රේෂ්ඨාධිකරණය අද (06) නීතිපතිවරයාට නියෝග කළේය. සාහිත්‍යය නිර්මාණ හරහා...
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  • Contact Grama Niladhari to ensure your name in 2021 Electoral Register
    The Elections Commission requested people to contact the respective Grama Niladharis to include and ensure the name in the 2021 Electoral Register.

    It said the people could also check the inclusion of their names with the respective Grama Niladhari or to make alterations to the residences.

    "Only if your name isn't in the 2020 Register or if you want to change your residence, contact Grama Niladhari," the Elections Commission said.

    Also, people can check their name availability by visiting the Elections Commission website (www.elections.gov.lk). https://eservices.elections.gov.lk/myVoterRegistration01.aspx https://www.dailymirror.lk/latest_news/Contact-Grama-Niladhari-to-ensure-your-name-in-2021-Electoral-Register/342-215488 (Chaturanga Samarawickrama)     Please enable JavaScript to view the...
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  • නීතිඥ සංගමයෙන් ජනපතිට ලිපියක්
    (ඩයනා උදයංගනී සහ මනෝප්‍රිය ගුණසේකර) හිටපු පාර්ලිමේන්තු මන්ත්‍රී දුමින්ද සිල්වා මහතාට ජනාධිපති පොදු සමාව ලබාදීමේ දී ව්‍යවස්ථාව අනුව ලබාගත යුතු වාර්තා, උපදෙස් හා නිර්දේශ ලබාගත්තේ ද යන්න රටට හෙළි කරන්නැයි ජනාධිපතිවරයාගෙන් ඉල්ලා සිටින බව ශ්‍රී ලංකා නීතීඥ සංගමය නිවේදනයක් නිකුත් කරමින් කියා සිටී. ජනාධිපතිවරයාට එවැනි සමාවක්...
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  • “දුමින්ද සිල්වාට ජනාධිපති සමාව දීම අනුමත කරන්න බෑ’’
    හිටපු පාර්ලිමේන්තු මන්ත්‍රී දුමින්ද සිල්වා මහතාට ජනාධිපති සමාව ලබාදීමෙන් නීතියේ ආධිපත්‍යයට බලපෑමක් වන බවට ඇමරිකාවේ ශ්‍රී ලංකා තානාපතිනී ඇලයිනා බී. ටෙප්ලිට්ස් මහත්මිය ටුවිටර් පණිවුඩයක් නිකුත් කරමින් පවසා තිබේ. මිනීමැරුමක් සම්බන්ධයෙන් 2018 වසරේ ශ්‍රේෂ්ඨාධිකරණයෙන් දඩුවම් ලබාදුන් පුද්ගලයකු නිදහස් කිරීම අනුමත කළ නොහැකි...
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To Burn Or To Bury? The Deadly Question

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To burn or to bury? That has become the bedeviling Covid-19 question in Sri Lanka with no respect for the dead and no empathy for those who are left to mourn. According to WHO guidelines, Covid-19 victim’s bodies are not infectious, unless other complications are involved – such as hemorrhagic fevers (Ebola, Marburg) or cholera. In general, dead bodies themselves are not infectious, but body fluids are and they secrete even after death. So, there is universal insistence on and compliance with the protocols for handing dead bodies, not only by funeral workers but also by families. But the question, whether cremation or burial, is a redundant question and it has been unnecessarily overwrought. But only in Sri Lanka, and chiefly by the  government itself.

For perspective, there have been public protests against cremating Covid-19 victims in Kerala and in West Bengal. So, one can argue either way if being argumentative is the be all and end all of patriotism. To their credit, the Indian federal and state governments have allowed both cremation and burial, leaving it to the family but with all hazmat protocols and precautions.
In Sri Lanka, it gets ridiculous. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has apparently asked the Maldivian government if Maldives could help by providing burial funerals for Sri Lankan Muslims who die from Covid-19 infection. That would be a first for any country. Already four UN Special Rapporteurs, not counting the ones at UNHRC, have called on Sri Lanka not to ban Muslim burials but allow them in accordance with WHO guidelines. Is Sri Lanka on course to run afoul of every UN Rapporteur? And why?

Fear Mongering

The fear mongering, not the prudent concern, about groundwater contamination is another fallopian nonsense. As with Caesarian sterilization, as with the Millennium Compact (which the US has now revoked), the government has dug itself another hole while banning graves for Covid-19 victims. If it is feared that graves will contaminate groundwater, it is fair to ask, what about contamination from sceptic tanks? Sanitary flows, landfill leachate, open defecation are potential pathogen carriers, but not necessarily of the coronavirus. Are drones going to be flown around to catch people answering the nature’s call in the most natural way?

Whether burial or cremation, there are safety protocols to be followed even in normal circumstances. There should be a sense of proportion. If a thousand non-infected, non-Covid-19, bodies are cremated at one location, over one week, and not far from a residential area, no one is going to be amused. In fact, there will be hellish fury. Even a hundred bodies will cause concerns, petitions, and protests. Similarly, if a thousand bodies are buried in a very short period, in a small cemetery, and close to wells or surface waterbodies, that would be a matter for grave concern. No one is talking about mass burials or mass cremations in Sri Lanka. The numbers are small, but the shouting is deafening.

Until late October, even while the burial debate was already in full flames, the total number of Covid-19 deaths was still under 20. Even if all of them were buried in one cemetery, that should not have been a matter for concern. The current death total is 160 and rising. But not all of Covid-19 victims are Muslims, or Christians, requiring a burial. They are a minority in life, in Sri Lanka, and so in death. And not all burials are going to be at the same location. In fact, it will not be a good idea to select a central location for all burials. So, if burials are allowed to take place the way they have been for centuries, the sky will not fall and the ground water is not going to be poisoned.

Proportionality and risk assessment are among the key considerations that guide the selection and location of public facilities, and that includes cemeteries and crematoriums. While cemeteries and crematoriums serve a spiritual purpose, their operations and maintenance come under more mundane considerations like public safety and environmental protection.

The Environmental Agency in England has addressed these matters in the context of Covid-19 and the potential risks from increased burials. Notably, the agency has waived the normal permit requirement for local authorities or cemetery operators undertaking new cemetery development or expanding existing cemeteries to accommodate the increased burials during Covid19. It has only provided guidelines for addressing groundwater risks for new cemeteries, but risks due to the increased number of burials, not due to Covid-19. The Agency is not concerned about Covid-19 infection in burials, but only the number of burials relative to their locations.

England alone has had over 57,000 people die due to Covid-19 so far, and the vast majority of them have been buried. Sri Lanka’s death toll is 160, and a majority of them are cremated. What higher risk would Sri Lanka face by allowing a few dozens of Covid-19 burials at most, than what England and all other countries allowing vastly larger number of burials are facing and dealing with? How did Sri Lanka, and this government particularly, get into such a grave hole, while protesting burials?  

A cabal government?

According to the National People’s Power (NPP) MP Dr Harini Amarasuriya, “a cabal of state officials and their close associates in the business community have been making important government decisions bypassing the prime minister and the cabinet of ministers.” This has been evident for quite some time, and what is also clear is that there is more than one cabal, and that the cabals have got the ear of the President and isolated him from everyone else –  including cabinet of ministers (which is not saying much), even the Rajapaksa family, and most of all its political godfather – the Prime Minister himself.

The cabals are not limited to state officials and business eople, and include professionals who use their trade union muscle to compensate for their professional inadequacies. The GMOA is the most notorious villain of the piece, but it may not be the only one. In the upshot, the government is unnecessarily complicating matters more than what they already are and they may invariably have to be. The government has become its own arsonist, setting up more fires without putting down any. And letting crisis after crisis to crop up with no end in sight. The burn or bury question is one such crisis. Avoidable and unnecessary.

The latest manifestations of this cabal power are the ultra vires sacking of the national Medical Council, a statutory body established in 1926, and the upcoming electrocution of the Public Utilities Commission, another statutory body . Before these was the eruption out of nowhere of prison riots which were ministerially attributed to hidden hands; but there are no hidden hands, only the government’s bloodied hands. And in the most bizarre topping to this cabal state of governance, three government ministers, two of them medical professionals, have been publicly partaking in homemade potions of a purportedly Covid-19 vaccine or cure. All of this and more in the middle of a global pandemic and economic shutdowns.

Not surprisingly, the economy shrank by a whopping 16.3% in Q-2 of 2020, recovering to grow by 1.5% in Q-3, and contracting overall by 5.3% for the first nine months. Hardly the situation for making rosy projections for 2021. And Covid-19 is not letting up at all. It keeps its infections climbing with apparent vengeance after lying low, or undetected, till early October. Infections and deaths have since multiplied ten times and are at the fearsome inflection point for a potentially exponential breakout. This is not a call for panic, but for signs that the government understands what the stakes are and what it takes to get things under control. The signs are anything but!

https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/to-burn-or-to-bury-the-deadly-question/

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