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Alavi Moulana – trade unionist and humane activist

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Remembering a champion trade unionist. A man who always fought and lived for the coexistence among communities. This is the 88th birthday of former Governor of the Western Province and trade union leader, Alavi Moulana.

A great human being with high qualities, Alavi Moulana has rendered yeoman service as the Western Province Governor and senior vice president of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

Alavi Moulana was conferred the Jana Prasadini title, at the felicitation ceremony held under the patronage of former President Mahinda Rajapkasa.

Whatever position he held, he never forgot the working class community and always fought for their rights. Despite his status he was always in the forefront when it comes to staging protests to safeguard the rights of the working class. Seeing him participating in trade union activities at Lipton Circus or in front of the Fort Railway Station was a common sight to all.

He had a unique ability to build cordial rapport with people. When a dispute is reported at a workplace, the name of Moulana automatically pops to mind since he has a marvellous ability to overcome such tense situations, having an extraordinary ability to lead and organize people towards a set goal. He was a trilingual.

The veteran entered politics in 1948 as a trade unionist and went on to serve as a councillor in the Colombo Municipal Council, and later as a Cabinet Minister.

In 1994, he entered Parliament, was the Deputy Minister of Media and thereafter as a Cabinet Minister of Provincial Council and Local Government, and in 2001 was appointed as Cabinet Minister of Labour. He was appointed as the fifth Governor of the Western Province on 01 February 2002.

Moulana joined the SLFP in 1956 under the leadership of the late Premier S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, was the one time Senior Vice President of the party and the Senior Vice President of the Sri Lanka Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya. He was also an advisor to former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga on Muslim Affairs and had served as acting Governor for Sabaragamuwa Province in 2009.

We have not seen a May Day gathering without his presence. Alavi Moulana was very clever in joining rhyming words in his speech.

The crowd that thronged at his funeral was a clear indication how much he was loved by people, irrespective of race or religion. The vacuum created by his demise will be very difficult to be filled.

Although we had a relationship with Alavi Moulana’s family, I became closer to him when I went to invite him for a function at my first school as a teacher – Welithara Muslim Maha Vidyalaya, Balapitiya. I served there for almost seven years traveling up and down from Mount.Lavinia. Later, from 2002 to 2012 I served at St. Mary’s College, Dehiwala, and was able to invite him as the Chief Guest for a function and to the centenary celebration of the college. Our relationship grew well.

After the completion of my 10 years tenure at St. Mary’s College I tried to release myself from provincial school to a national school. Here again As Seyyed Alavi Moulana gave his fullest support for me to get my release and get to Royal College, where I serve now.

When my transfer was effected, I visited him to thank him and the words he uttered still echo in my ears. He said “People get their work done from us and they never see us after that. You have come to thank me for the work done. Maintain these qualities”. Today being the Senior Games Master / Assistant Principal at Royal College, I am really grateful to this great personality.

May almighty Allah bless him and grant him jannatul Firdous!

 

RIYAZ ALUHER



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Opinion

Nelum Kuluna poses danger to aircraft

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The top of Nelum Kuluna (Lotus Tower) stands 350 above sea level in the heart of Colombo City, as the air navigators of old would say, sticking out like a ’sore thumb’. It has to be lit up in accordance with the Aircraft Obstacle Lighting recommendations contained in Annex 14 of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Convention originally signed by Ceylon in 1944.

A free-standing tower of that height is required by international law to be lit up not only at night with red lights, but also with high visibility white strobe lights during the day.

Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be on always during the day. The authorities concerned must realise that the strobe lighting during the day is not for beauty but for air safety, especially these days, when the air quality and visibility are low during the day.

Have those in charge of the tower been briefed properly on the legal requirement and the use of proper lighting? In case of an accident, this certainly will have implications on insurance claims.

I wonder whether the ‘Regulator’, Civil Aviation Authority Sri Lanka would like to comment.

If not rectified, it will be just a matter of time an aircraft will be impaled by the Nelum Kuluna.

I M Nervy (Aviator)

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Opinion

Simple questions to Sirisena and Gotabaya

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If Sirisena had not been informed of the plans to explode bombs on 21st of April 2019, as he has claimed, shouldn’t he have taken immediate action to call for explanation from Nilantha Jayawardena, then head of State Intelligent Service (SIS), who had been notified several times about the impending attack by the Indian intelligence.

Sirisena and Jayawardena should be prosecuted for allowing a mass murder to take place. Further Sirisena should be made to explain his famous uttering, “I will reveal everything, if somebody tries to implicate me”.

Why did Gotabaya, who announced his candidature for presidency almost immediately after the Easter Sunday attack and promised to punish those who were involved in it, pay no attention to Nilantha Jayawardena’s failure in taking necessary action with regard to information he received, instead he was given a promotion?

President Ranil Wickremesinghe at a meeting with USAID Administrator Samantha Power on September 11, 2022 had said that Scotland Yard had been requested to review the reports and reach a final conclusion on claims that there was a hidden hand behind the bombings.

We do not need Scotland Yard, just get an honest set of Sri Lankan police officers to question Nilantha, Sirisena and Gotabaya to find the “hidden hand behind the bombings”

B Perera

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Opinion

Open letter to Sirisena

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Y you were in Singapore when the Easter Sunday attacks took place. You claimed that you had not been informed of the intelligence received by your intelligence officers. However, the Supreme Court has ordered you to pay Rs 100M as compensation to the victims of the terror attacks. The reasons for the decision are stated in the judgement.

Acting on a claim that there was a conspiracy to assassinate you and former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya you caused the interdiction and arrest of DIG Nalaka Silva, who was held in custody without bail for a long time.

In his testimony to the Presidential Commission  of Inquiry, Silva said that he had been interdicted while plans were in place to arrest Zaharan.

Due to the arrest of DIG Silva, Zaharan escaped arrest. Silva was never charged. Zaharan continued with his plans and the rest is history.

After the SC order you have been claiming that you have no money to pay the Rs 100M as compensation. You are asking for public help to pay compensation to Easter carnage victims. You even accepted some money collected by a person called Sudaththa Tilakasiri, who begged from people.

You have said publicly that you submitted your asset declarations. I suggest that you sell all your assets declared in the declarations before asking for funds from the public.

Hemal Perera

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