Thursday, March 23, 2023
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The latest news from the Joomla! Team

State Minister Piyal Nishantha contracts COVID-19

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Women and Child Development State Minister Piyal Nishantha tested COVID-19 positive, the State Minister confirmed.

Publishing a post on his official Facebook page, the State Minister said he has been infected with the virus and added that he would follow the instructions given by the health authorities.

“I also request those who came into contact with me in last few days, to take necessary steps and precaution as per the guideline given by health officials,” he said in the post.

He was confirmed to have been infected with the virus following a rapid antigen test.

Piyal Nishantha was also seen in the occasion held on January 14 to declare open Southeast Asia’s largest tyre manufacturing facility at Wagawatta in Horana, where President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and several Ministers and State Ministers were present.

Ministers Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Ramesh Pathirana, Mahinda Amaraweera, Wimal Weerawansa, State Minister Kanaka Herath and Defence Secretary, Gen.(Retd) Kamal Gunaratne were also among those present at the opening ceremony.

Meanwhile, State Minister Piyal Nishantha was also one of those parliamentarians who experimented and took a sip of the syrup at the Parliamentary complex on December 10, 2020, and the syrup that claimed to cure COVID-19. (Sheain Fernandopulle)


SL human rights situation seriously deteriorated under Gotabaya’s Govt.: Report shows

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Sri Lanka’s human rights situation has seriously deteriorated under the administration of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Human Rights Watch said in its World Report 2021.

Government security forces have increased intimidation and surveillance of human rights activists, victims of past abuses, lawyers, and journalists. Minority Muslim and Tamil communities have faced discrimination and threats. The government pushed through passage of a constitutional amendment that undermines judicial independence and weakens oversight institutions, such as the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka. In February, Sri Lanka withdrew its commitments to the 2015 United Nations Human Rights Council for truth-seeking, accountability, and reconciliation following the country’s long civil war.

“The Rajapaksa administration has quickly reversed human rights gains of the previous government, making minorities more insecure, victims of past abuses fearful, and critics wary of speaking out,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Even the limited progress on postwar reconciliation is being undone by a greater military role in governance and the government’s dismissal of its international commitments to truth and accountability.”

In the 761-page World Report 2021, its 31st edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 100 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive Director Kenneth Roth argues that the incoming United States administration should embed respect for human rights in its domestic and foreign policy in a way that is more likely to survive future US administrations that might be less committed to human rights. Roth emphasizes that even as the Trump administration mostly abandoned the protection of human rights, other governments stepped forward to champion rights. The Biden administration should seek to join, not supplant, this new collective effort.

President Rajapaksa has appointed people to senior positions, who, like himself, were implicated in war crimes during the civil war that ended in 2009, including the defense secretary, Kamal Gunaratne, and the chief of defense staff, Gen. Shavendra Silva. In February, the United States State Department announced that General Silva was ineligible to enter the US due to his alleged involvement in extrajudicial killings.

The Rajapaksa administration escalated surveillance and intimidation, targeting victims’ families and human rights defenders, as well as lawyers and journalists deemed critical of the government. These included victims and activists who engaged with the Human Rights Council.

After the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government did little to address false accusations on social media that Muslims were deliberately spreading the virus and calls to boycott Muslim businesses. In March, the government began requiring cremation of all Covid-19 victims, disregarding Islamic tradition, though cremation was not required for public health. Four UN human rights experts criticized these requirements as violating religious freedom.

The UN high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, accused the government of using Covid-19 to stifle freedom of expression after the authorities threatened to arrest anyone who “criticized” its handling of the pandemic. She condemned the pardon of one of the few soldiers ever convicted of serious abuses, and raised concerns about “appointments to key civilian roles of senior military officials allegedly involved in war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

The UN Human Rights Council will consider possible measures regarding Sri Lanka at its February-March 2021 session, including calls for an international accountability mechanism to pursue justice for past abuses.

“Concerned governments should do all they can to prevent Sri Lanka from returning to the ‘bad old days’ of rampant human rights violations,” Ganguly said. “Governments need to speak out against abuses and press for a UN Human Rights Council resolution that addresses accountability and the collection and preservation of evidence.”


Politics Behind Muslim Burial

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Dr. Ameer Ali

No scientist or epidemiologist anywhere in the world has so far proved with solid evidence that corona virus would spread from buried corona-killed corpses. Only in Sri Lanka a so-called committee of health experts belonging to the establishment, expressed an opinion that because of high water level in the ground that virus has the potential to spread, if those died from it are buried. Hence, they recommended indiscriminate cremation hitting directly at religious sensitivity of Muslims. No amount of protest from local Muslims or from Muslim organizations abroad, and not even advice from WHO to the contrary could convince President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his government to relent. The President maintains that unless the experts committee shows the green light he will not budge. This is the strongest demonstration yet of the one-country-one-law mantra.

In the meantime, the Muslim Minister of Justice fails to see the injustice committed to his community, and the Mufti or the chief shepherd preaches his herd how to bury the ashes after cremation. If you cannot change them join them appears to be the preferred course of action to these leaders. The community on the other hand is not prepared to listen.

The whole episode has nothing to do with science and epidemiology but with politics. The opinion expressed by the experts committee was manna from heaven to Buddhist supremacists who, since 2009 and especially after the Easter Massacre of 2019, are bent on seeking revenge on Muslim community. These supremacists are a pillar of strength to the Rajapaksa regime. Their ideology of a hegemonic Buddhist Sri Lanka dominates the thinking and philosophy of the professionals in President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Viyathmaga. It is that ideology which is the quintessence of today’s jathika chintanaya. Only a few days ago, when a rumour was spreading that the government was about to reconsider its decision to cremate Muslim bodies, an ageing Gunadasa Amarasekera, one of the architects of this ideology warned the government of relenting to Muslim demand. A couple of days ago Rev. Gnanasara in his usual anti-Muslim tone also reminded the law makers in the parliament of one-country-one-law.

There is no sign that the virus is going to disappear for at least another couple of years although its spread could be controlled through vaccination. Even then how cheaply and easily would Sri Lankans have access to that vaccine is unsure because of the country’s financial difficulties. Authorities are already opening the country for business, because Basil Rajapaksa feels that profit should not be allowed to suffer because of public health. Thus, based on pseudo-science and backed by jatika chintanaya cremation of Muslim bodies would continue under the pretext of an emergency. If the Mufti continues to preach his compromised solution of Islamically burying the ash, he could win the hearts and minds of the rulers but certainly not of his community.

The issue of cremating Muslim bodies and the proposed ban on cow slaughter are ideologically motivated and very soon one may expect Muslim personal laws also to fall under the ideology’s axe. It would be interesting how the Muslim Minister of justice would handle that issue when it comes before parliament. Meanwhile, the protagonists of this ideology would be watching closely at what their ‘predator’ friend China is doing to Uighur Muslims in Xinxiang. Leaked reports show how those Muslims are force fed with pig meat and their women shaved and the hair is used as raw material for manufacturing industrial products. Already the Chinese government has destroyed several mosques and Muslim burial places in the name of development. One could only hope that the situation in Sri Lanka would not descend to that barbaric level. Sri Lanka’s exceptionally successful management of multiculturalism before the colonial period was unique in the entire region of Asia.
However, what options do Muslims have to avoid further calamities? First of all, they should give up the idea that by going along with the ruling regime they could save their skin and survive peacefully under traumatic conditions. At the same time, there is no guarantee that they will have better prospects by joining the current opposition, because SJB and its parent UNP will also eventually fall prey to the current pernicious ideology to capture power. Therefore, Muslims and for that matter even Tamils should seek a third alternative. It should be an alternative that seeks to bring back democracy with all its innate qualities and preserve the country’s pluralist polity and culture. Thankfully, there is a significant cluster of saner and influential minds within the majority Sinhala Buddhists, including sections of the Sangha, who are wanting that to happen. It is the task of the Muslim intelligentsia to approach and join hands with them, introduce them to the community and work with them for a better Sri Lanka. It is not a change that is going to happen soon, but the foundations should be laid now for the future. The populist image of the current regime is bound to suffer in the face of looming economic disaster.

Muslim community is caught up in the current predicament because of its own ethnic politics. Both SLMC and ACMC should be dissolved forthwith and the community becomes part of a multi-ethnic, patriotic and democratic political party. If a ruling government is democratic, treats every community and citizen equally and protects the independence of judiciary, what does it matter whether Muslims and Tamils or for that matter even Sinhalese are represented in the legislature by their own men and women or by other community members? It is time to think afresh and outside the circle.


හිස්බුල්ලා පෙන්නලා බිල්ලා මවනවා

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(යොහාන් භාසුර)


ශානි අබේසේකර සහ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා වැනි පුද්ගලයන් පෙන්වා බිල්ලන් මවා ජාතිවාදය වපුරවමින් රට විනාශ නොකරන ලෙස සමඟ ජනබලවේග මන්ත්‍රී හරීන් ප්‍රනාන්දු මහතා පාර්ලිමේන්තු විවාදයට එක්වෙමින් පැවසීය.  එහිදී මන්ත්‍රී හරීන් ප්‍රනාන්දු මහතා වැඩිදුරටත් මෙසේ ද පැවසීය.

“ශානි අබේසේකර, හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා පෙන්වලා මේ රටේ බිල්ලො මවනවා වෙනුවට අලුත් ගමනක් යන්න ඕන නම් දේශපාලන වශයෙන් අපි සර් කියන්න කැමති මිනිස්සු ගන්න”

“ලංකාවට ගණිකා වෘත්තිය ගේන, අපේ ලංකාව තරම්වත් ආර්ථිකයක් නැති සංචාරකයො ගෙනල්ලා යාල වස්සලා. සීගිරිය පොළොන්නරුවට ගේන්න හදලා. මේ කරන විනාශයට විරුද්ධව ඔබතුමාලත් හිට ගනී කියලා හිතනවා”

“ගරු මුලාසනය හොඹවන මන්ත්‍රීතුමනි, අවාසනාවකට, එක රටක් එක නීතියක් කියන විට මට මතක් වෙන්නේ අපි වැස්ස දවසකට ත්‍රීවිල් එකක යනවා වගේ. කොයි වෙලාවෙ මොන වළේ වැටෙයිද? කොයි වෙලාවේ ත්‍රීවිල් එක නවතීද? කොයි වෙලාවේ අපිව තෙමෙයිද? හරියට තීන්දුවක් නොමැතිව විශ්වාසයක් නොමැතිව බලාගෙන ඉන්න අවදියක එක රටක් එක නීතියක් ගැනත් පුංචි ප්‍රශ්නයක් තියෙනවා”

“ජනාධිපති සමාව දෙන රැල්ලක් පටන් අරන්. ඔය රැල්ල එන්නෙ මොන පොල් පැළේ කන්නද කියලත් අපි හොඳට දන්නවා”

“මේ රටේ මිනිස්සු හිතුවේ අවුරුද්දක් යනකොට කොහොමද නීතිය කියලා ඇහුවම අතිවිශිෂ්ටයි සර් කියයි කියලා. අද මේ ලංකාවේ තියෙනවා අමුතු නීති රාශියක්. රාජපක්‍ෂ නීතිය, ගජමිතුරු නීතිය, කෝවිඩි නීතිය, දුප්පතුන්ගේ නීතිය, යුක්රේන් ජාතිකයන්ට දෙන නීතිය”

“සර් නෙවිඩාලෝ කියනවා. මේක යුක්රේන භාෂාවෙන් සර් ෆේල් කියන එක. ආපු පළමු ගුවන් යානයේම කෙල්ලො 18 දෙනෙක්ටම මාස තුනක වීසා දීලා. මේකට හේතුව තමයි දේශපාලනයේ ප්‍රාදේශීය සභාවකවත් හිටපු නැති කෙනෙක් ජනාධිපති වීම. සිස්ටම් වෙනස් කරන්න ආවට සිස්ටම් එක තේරෙන්නේ නෑ”

“අද රට පාලනය කරන්නේ කවුද? සර්ගේ සාපේ අපි කියන්නේ ‘ස’ සාපේ. පස්දෙනෙක් තමයි රට පාලනය කරන්නේ”

“උදයංග වීරතුංග, සංචාරක බුබුලේ ඉන්න ඕන කෙනා මාස් එකක් දාන්නෙ නැතුව මාධ්‍ය සාකච්ඡා තියෙනවා. හොඳ නළුවා විල්සන් කරූ හිරේ යනවා. ලැජ්ජයි, කැතයි...”

“අපිට ගැහුවා මහ බැකුවෙන් බිලියන 10 ක් ගැහුවා කියලා. එක ෂොට් එකෙන් සීනිවලින් ගැහුවා බිලියන 10 ක්. මහබැංකු හොරකම වෙනුවෙන් බිලියන 10 ක සංචිතයක් තියාගත්තා. එහෙම තිබුණා”

“මිනිස්සු 64,000 ක් එන්න බැරිව දුක්විදිනවා. හිතලා බලන්න, ටෙලිකොම් එකේ සන්නාම නාමය වෙනස් කරන්න බිලියන දෙකක් වියදම් කරනවා”

“මෙතුමන්ලා ජයග්‍රහණය කරන්න හදන්නෙ ජාතිවාදයෙන්මයි. මම හිටගන්නේ ජාතිකවාදයත් එක්ක. අලීස් අබී්‍ර මහත්තයා අධිකරණ ඇමති කළාට අලීස් අබී්‍ර මහත්තයා පිටින් තමයි ඔක්කෝම යන්නේ. ඔබතුමා මුස්ලිම් ජාතිකයෙක් නිසා ඔබතුමාලම පත්කළ ආණ්ඩුව ඔබතුමාට වටකරගෙන ගහනවා. අපි ගහන්නේ නෑ. අපිගාව තියෙන්නේ ජාතිකවාදයයි”

“හර්ෂණ රාජකරුණා මන්ත්‍රීතුමාගෙන් අහනවා ඔබේ ජාතිය මොකක්ද? ශ්‍රී ලාංකික, ආගම මොකක්ද? බුද්ධාගම. මගේ ජාතිය මොකක්ද? ශ්‍රී ලාංකික, ආගම රෝමානු කතෝලික, ඔබේ ජාතිය මොකක්ද? ශ්‍රී ලාංකික, ඔබ මුස්ලිම්. මේක දේශපාලනය කරගෙන තමන්ගේ බඩගෝස්තරය නිසා ජාතිවාදය අවුස්සමින් ඉන්නවා”

“හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා කියන්නේ ගල්කිස්ස සාන්ත තෝමස් විදුහලේ කීර්තිමත් ශිෂ්‍යයෙක්. ප්‍රධාන ශිෂ්‍යනායක. ශ්‍රී ලංකා වෝටර්පෝලෝ කණ්ඩායමට ක්‍රීඩා කළා. සාන්ත තෝමස් වෝටර්පෝලෝ කණ්ඩායමේ නායකයෙක්. මෙතන තෝමියන්ස්ලා ඉන්නවා එක්කෙනෙක් කථා කරන්නේ නෑ මොකද මුස්ලිම් නිසා”

“හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලට තියෙන චෝදනාව මොකක්ද? පුත්තලම පැත්තෙ පාසලකට ගිහිල්ලා මොනවද දේශනා කරයි කියලා. හැබැයි ඒ පාසලේ විදුහල්පතිගෙන්, ගුරුවරයෙක්ගෙන් හෝ ළමයකුගෙන්වත් සාක්‍ෂියක් අරන් නෑ”

“එතුමාව 8 වැනිදා උපාවියට ගේනවා. අපිට ආරංචියි අලුත් චෝදනාවක් දානවා කියලා. ත්‍රස්තවාදය වැළැක්වීමේ පනතින් ජනාධිපතිගේ අත්සනින් තමයි එතුමාව ඇතුළට ගත්තේ” යයිද හරීන් ප්‍රනාන්දු මහතා පැවසීය.


CID dont produce Hizbullah , say positive for Covid 19

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The Criminal Invesitgations Department which were scheduled to produce detained Attorney at Law Hejaaz Hizbullah this afternoon before the Fort magistrate , did not produce him and informed court that he had been tested positive for Covid 19.

Mr. Hizbullahs wife , attorneys and the Court were informed by officers of the CID that he would be produced today at 2. 00 PM at the Fort Magistrates court. Officers of the CID informed court staff that they intend producing Hizbullah following which Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage had made order that the case be taken up at 2. 00 PM today.

The news of production came after Mr. Romesh De Silva PC supported a writ application for lawyers access and made representations on behalf of Mr. Hizbullah.

Earlier a writ application was filed before the court of appeal seeking access to detainee Hejaaz Hizbullah for lawyers. Lawyers said they have had no access confidential to Mr. Hizbullah since the time of his arrest. Mr Romesh De Silva PC with Shanaka Cooray, Niran Anketell, Harith De Mel instructed by Sanath Wijeywardena appeared on behalf of the Petitioner in the writ case. Lawyers for Mr. Hizbullah awaited his production until they were informed of the renewed position of the CID.

The court staff informed journalists present at around 3.00PM that Mr. Hizbullah would not be produced. Mr. Hizbullah was arrested a year after the easter Sunday attack for allegedly having phone calls with an easter sunday terrorist.

Mr. Hizbullahs lawyes filed papers before court stating that the said terrorist was a client of Mr.Hizbullah whom he represented in two land matters.


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