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  • එක රටක් එක නීතියක් ගැසට්ටුවට කතෝලික රදගුරු සමුළුවෙන් නිවේදනයක්
    එක රටක්, එක නීතියක් සඳහා වූ ජනාධිපති කාර්ය සාධක බලකාය’ පත්කිරීමට අදාළ ගැසට් නිවේදනය අවලංගු කළ යුතු යැයි ශ්‍රී ලංකා කතෝලික රදගුරු සමුළුව නිවේදනයක් නිකුත් කරමින් පවසයි. එම ජනාධිපති කාර්ය සාධක බලකායේ මුල් පුටුවට පත්කළ අයගේ අතීත වාර්තා කිසිවක් අවධානයට ලක්නොකිරීම නිසා තුවාලවලට අපහාසයක් කර තිබෙන බව ද එම නිවේදනයේ සඳහන් වේ. ශ්‍රී...
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  • REGARDING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE FOR ONE COUNTRY, ONE LAW
    Ref: ACJU/NGS/2021/239 29th of October 2021 We are shocked and dismayed by the establishment of the ‘Presidential Task Force for One Country, One Law’ under the leadership of a controversial individual. This topic has been in public discussion in the recent past. We, the citizens of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, have been living for many centuries as one country and one Nation, with our individual, cultural, religious laws and identities under the protection of one Sri Lankan constitution. We express our disappointment on the appointment of a controversial individual for a responsible position, who is known for inciting disharmony within different religious and ethnic communities, especially hurting the religious sentiments of the Muslim community, in spite of the presence of many legal and religious leaders who are...
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  • Sri Lanka 'One Country - One Law' | Inside Story
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aPxn5Wfk-4     Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.
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  • Appointing PTF headed by Gnanasara Thera: CPA urges Govt. to revoke gazette
    The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) yesterday urged the government to immediately rescind the relevant Gazette notification to appoint a Presidential Task Force (PTF) mandated to implement the ‘One Country, One Law’ concept, chaired by Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera. Issuing a statement the CPA stated that it was deeply shocked and disturbed by the appointment of the latest PTF mandated to implement the ‘One Country, One Law’ concept, including the drafting of a law to give effect to it, headed by Gnanasara Thero. The CPA stated appointment of the Task Force at a time of unprecedented economic hardships and unraveling of government policies raises a plethora of questions including the compounding of a culture of governance by task forces, the promotion of divisive Buddhist clergy linked to incitement of violence and attacks...
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  • Suspect tells Magistrate he was tortured to implicate Hejaaz Hizbullah
    The Coordinator of Save the Pearls organization Mohamed Sulthan has informed the Fort Magistrate's Court that he was tortured in order to implicate Attorney-at-law Hejaaz Hizbullah. Making a statement in person and through his lawyer,  Sulthan informed the Court of the torture and named three officers of the Terrorist Investigations Department as his torturers. He was arrested for allegedly teaching extremism at a Madrasa school. He made these revelations on the first day he was produced before Colombo Fort Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage after the completion of 18 months detention period. On his production, suspect Sultan informed the Magistrate through his Counsel that he had been severely assaulted and tortured  by TID officers following his arrest 18 months ago. On being asked by Court if he knew the names of the officers,...
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  • ‘‘තමන් වැරැදිකාරයන් නොවෙයි නම් පරීක්ෂණවලට ඉඩ දෙන්න‘‘
    (පුෂ්පකුමාර මල්ලවආරච්චි) තමන් මේ කුමන්ත්‍රණය පිටිපස්සේ හිටියේ නැත්නම් වැරදිකාරයන් නෙවෙයි නම් පරීක්ෂණ කරන්න ඉඩ දෙන්න ඕනෑ. බය වෙන්න ඕන නැහැ. ජනාධිපති කොමිසම් වාර්තාව පැහැදිලිව කියා තියෙන දේවල් තෝර තෝර ඉන්නේ ඇයි. මේ අයට මොකක් හරි හංගන්න තියෙනවා. රහසක් තියෙනවා  යැයි මැල්කම් කාදිනල් රංජිත් අගරදගුරු තුමෝ පවසති. පාස්කුදා ප්‍රහාරය...
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  • Those who used it to capture power won’t stay long: Cardinal
    Those who used the Easter Sunday mayhem to come to power will not be able to stay in power for long if they are a part of it, Archbishop of Colombo His Eminence Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said yesterday. Cardinal Ranjith who was speaking at a service held to mark the 30th month since the gruesome suicide attack said it has become a curse as no one can live happily today while many are unable to earn a living. "It looks like Sri Lanka is suffering from that curse since the Easter Sunday bomb attack as no one can live happily earning whatever they can while those who are in power find it difficult to run the country. Those who came to power using the Easter Sunday attacks will not be able to hold on to power for long," Cardinal Ranjith said. "We sometimes wonder whether those who rule the country today are also stakeholders of the Easter Sunday...
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  • බොදු බල සේනා සංවිධානය විසින් 2021.09.20 දිනයේදී නිකුත් කරන ලද මාධ්‍යය නිවේදනය පිළිබඳවයි
    යොමු අංකය : ACJU/NGS/2021/210

    2021 සැප්තැම්බර් මස 22 වෙනිදා

    මෑතකදී පවත්වන ලද මාධ්‍යය සාකච්ඡාවකදී රාජකීය පණ්ඩිත ඥානසාර හිමියන් විසින් සිදුකරනු ලැබූ ආගමික අපහාසය සම්බන්ධයෙන් බොදු බල සේනා සංවිධානය විසින් නිකුත් කොට ඇති මාධ්‍යය නිවේදනය පිළිබඳව අප ඉමහත් විමතියට පත්ව ඇත්තෙමු. එහිදී ගලගොඩඅත්තේ ඥානසාර හිමියන් විසින් සැබැවින්ම බරපතළ...
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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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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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