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Bathiudeen to appeal to Supreme Court against Court of Appeal decision against him over destruction of Kallaru

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

MP Rishad Bathiudeen on Saturday told the PCoI investigating the Easter Sunday attacks that he would appeal to the Supreme Court against the decision of the Court of Appeal regarding the deforestation of the Kallaru forest reserve.

Justice Janak de Silva and Justice Nissanka Bandula Karunaratne who delivered the verdict on the destruction of the forest are also members of the PCoI.

Bathiudeen made this statement when a Commissioner asked him how many Sinhala people he had resettled when he was the Minister of Resettlement.

Bathiudeen said that more 200,000 Tamils had been resettled and he looked at taking steps to resettle businessmen including Sinhala bakery owners in the Eastern Province.

Bathiudeen said: “There were only 2% Sinhalese population in the Northern Province and there were 5% Muslims. During the war Sinhalese and Muslims were made to leave.”

After defeating the LTTE in 2009, the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration commenced resettlement under the supervision of the current National Organizer of SLPP Basil Rajapaksa, Bathiudeen said.

“As the Chairman of the Vanni District Committee, I gave my fullest support to it. 5,000 Sinhalese were resettled in Kalabogaswewa, Namalgama. Almost 75, 100 year old large trees were cut down to resettle these people,” he said.

MP Bathiudeen said that no one had filed a petition against the above matter and Vijaya village in Kallaru houses had also been built for Sinhala people.

“The trees in Kallaru have not been cut down to resettle Internally Displaced Persons (IDP). We will challenge the Wilpattu verdict in the Supreme Court.”



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Keheliya, seven others further remanded till 28th June

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The Maligakanda Magistrate’s Court today [14] ordered that former Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella and seven others be further remanded until June 28 by over the import of substandard human Immunoglobulin vials.

 

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President launches Public Learning and Education Platform for Sri Lankan Youth

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe officially launched www.publiclearn.lk a new education platform aimed at transforming Sri Lanka’s learning landscape at the Chamber Hall of the Presidential Secretariat, on Thursday [13]

Public Learn is a platform that guides users to free courses from the world’s top universities. .

Emphasizing the importance of adapting to a knowledge-intensive society, the President highlighted Sri Lanka’s strong educational results despite various systemic flaws. He noted that the new platform would enhance the education system’s effectiveness and stressed that Sri Lanka must swiftly advance in digitization to drive the new economic transformation.

President Wickremesinghe highlighted that the Public Learn platform serves as a crucial tool for enabling many Sri Lankans to advance personally and transform their nation. He reflected on Sri Lanka’s historical learning journey in three phases: first, during the era of Arahath Mahinda and the Pirivena system; second, with the introduction of the British public school system; and now, with the advent of digital education platforms like Public Learn, marking the third phase. He emphasized the importance of leveraging digital technology and knowledge to propel Sri Lanka forward in the digital economy, underscoring the need for continuous adaptation and innovation.

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Easter Sunday carnage: ‘Another probe nothing but an exercise in futility’

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Rev. Father Cyril Gamini

‘Implement PCoI recommendations at least now’

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Catholic Church yesterday (14) reiterated its longstanding demand that the recommendations made by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (P CoI) into 2019 Easter Sunday attacks be implemented.

Rev. Father Cyril Gamini Fernando said so when The Island sought the Catholic Church’s reaction to the appointment by President Ranil Wickremesinghe a new committee of inquiry to investigate the actions and responses of the country’s intelligence and security authorities following the intelligence warning received from India.

The committee is headed by retired Judge Ms. A. N. J. de Alwis. Rev. Fernando said that the government should implement the recommendations made by the PCoI headed by Supreme Court judge Janak de Silva. He said another inquiry would be nothing but an exercise in futility as the PCoI conducted an in-depth investigation into the Easter attacks, including the failure on the part of the intelligence apparatus to act on foreign intelligence as well neutralise the growing threat posed by extremist elements.

Rev. Fr. Fernando questioned the rationale behind re-examining the conduct of State Intelligence Service (SIS) and Chief of National Intelligence (CNI) as the Supreme Court in January last year ordered Senior DIG Nilantha Jayewardena and retired DIG Sisira Mendis, who headed the SIS and functioned as CNI, respectively, to pay compensation to the tune of Rs 75 mn and Rs 10 mn.

“What is there to investigate again?” Rev Fernando asked, urging the government to go through the PCoI recommendations in respect of politicians and security officials.

In addition to the PCoI report, the report of the Parliamentary Select Committee and a Special Investigation Committee of three members appointed by the then President Maithriapla Sirisena probed the Easter carnage, Rev Fernando said, adding that if those in parliament were still interested in justice and fair play should look into that matter.

Rev. Fernando urged the government to examine how successive leaders had responded to PCoI findings. When President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed a committee consisting of six MPs to look into the PCoI report and its findings soon after justice Janak de Silva handed over his report on Feb 1, 2021 it became clear that the powers that be would resort to old tactics. Nearly two years after President Rajapaksa’s ouster, the situation remained the same, Rev. Fernando said, adding that the Church wouldn’t give up its fight for justice.

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