Category Archives: Indian Ocean politics

A Testing Issue: The Nadesalingam Murugappan Asylum Claim

ONE = Simon Benson & Rosie Lewis, in The Australian, 4 September 2019, where the title runs “Tamil asylum case sets path for 6000 others”

Scott Morrison has vowed to send home more than 6000 illegal immigrants who have had their refugee claims rejected, as he brushed off Labor attempts to drag his religious faith into the debate over the deportation of a Sri Lankan family. The Australian revealed on Wednesday that those 6000 asylum-seekers are engaged in similar legal ­appeals to that of the Tamil family who will learn today whether their ­eleventh-hour Federal Court bid to prevent their ­deportation has succeeded.

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The Political Paths We Sri Lankans Face

“Friday Forum” in Resurrected Form  Savitri Goonesekere, Chandra Jayaratne et al in Island, 3 September 2019, Presidential Elections And The Peoples’ Options”

In a few months’ time this country will once again make decisions on the political leadership that will guide the destinies of the nation. This is a pivotal point in regard to the direction and manner in which our country will develop in the near future.

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Decline in Tourism and the Blame Game: Where Sinhala Buddhist Extremism is a Major Ingredient?

Hilal Suhail in Facebook

If you have invested in Sri Lanka’s tourism and hospitality industry, then it would serve you well to keep up with the international media coverage of Sri Lanka in recent weeks. The island nation’s reputation has taken a massive beating and it’s unlikely tourism will pick up any time soon. There is no point blaming the foreign media and claiming there is some conspiracy against Sri Lanka, and puff pieces promoting tourism by the Ministry of Tourism and other social media campaigns are pointless and won’t convince many outsiders to take the risk in visiting.

The international media is highlighting the terrible actions of some in the Sinhalese majority, and the violence and discrimination unleashed by Buddhist extremists for decades. The Easter bombings aren’t being solely blamed on Muslim extremists by the international media, they are focusing on the incompetent Sri Lankan police and military who failed to prevent the attacks, despite possessing intelligence beforehand to do so, and also for having caused a situation in Sri Lanka where religious and ethnic minorities are not protected.

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Shavendra Silva Appointment in USA’s Gunsights

Rajeewa Jayaweera, in Island, 23 August 2019, with this title “Howls against Gen. Silva’s appointment”

The appointment of Lieutenant-General Shavendra Silva as the 23rd Commander of the Sri Lankan Army by President Sirisena has resulted in howls of protests from leading members of the so-called international community including the UNHRC Chief. In the home front, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has condemned war time Divisional Commander Gen. Silva’s appointment. Nevertheless, they wholeheartedly supported wartime army commander Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka’s bid for the Presidency in 2010. TNA spokesperson MA Sumanthiran MP tweeted, the appointment “was a serious affront to the Tamil people.” Sumanthiran forgets the election of his leader who recognized LTTE Supremo Prabhakaran as the sole representative of Tamil people, as Leader of Opposition in the Parliament. It was an equally serious affront to the Sinhalese people. People refrain from giving voice to their feelings on the subject due to the charade called reconciliation.

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UN Aid Workers in the Crucible of War, 1989-92: William Clarance’s Fascinating Account

Michael Roberts, in SOUTH ASIA¸ Sept 2008, 31: 394-96 reviewing Ethnic Warfare in Sri Lanka and the UN Crisis (London: Pluto Press, and Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2007), 296 pp.

This is an unusual book and essential reading for those interested in the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. William Clarance was head of UNHCR’s relief mission in Sri Lanka from 1989 to 1992. He kept a diary and has waited until he had left the arena of international administration before recounting his riveting experiences in the field. 

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The Presidency Stakes: Assessing Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Rajeewa Jayaweera, in Sunday Island, 18 August 2019, where the title reads “The Gotabaya Rajapaksa quandary”

On August 11, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) or Pohottuwa held its inaugural convention at the Sugathadasa Stadium. Former President and current Leader of Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR), who minutes earlier had been declared leader of the SLPP formally announced its Presidential candidate. As expected, it was MR’s younger brother, a former soldier and onetime Defense Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa (GR). Amidst thunderous applause and fireworks, GR declared, “I love my country, I am proud of my country.” Outlining his vision for the country, he pledged; “I will not allow anyone to interfere with the sovereignty of Sri Lanka” and “I will protect you and your children.”

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Terrorist Suspects Arrested … Three Items of Interest

ONE: Item in Daily News, 17 August 2017, entitled CID Director: 12 hard core terrorists, 63 suspects detained”

CID Director SSP Shani Abeysekara yesterday disclosed that 63 suspects are currently held in custody over their links to Easter Sunday terrorist attacks, including 12 hard core terrorists. He said among them are about 4 to 5 suicide attackers who had not detonated their bombs on the Easter Sunday.

Army Chief Mahesh Senanayake cannot claim he had no knowledge about the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ), the CID Director argued yesterday. Abeysekara told the media at a press briefing held at the CID yesterday that Army Intelligence officials had attended the initial investigations when CID sleuths initially discovered a haul of explosives of the NTJ in Wanathawilluwa on January 17, 2019.

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