…absence of reference to Easter Sunday carnage worrisome
By Shamindra Ferdinando
Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said that overall perception of post-war Sri Lanka would change if those who had moved an accountability resolution in Geneva five years ago on unsubstantiated accusations examined Lord Naseby’s disclosure pertaining to 2009 when Sri Lankan military brought the war to a successful end.
Minister Gunawardena told The Island that continuing refusal or reluctance on the part of those reportedly concerned about genuine post-war reconciliation process to review the Geneva resolution after Lord Naseby exposed the truth cleared Sri Lanka of war crimes was puzzling.
On one hand unsubstantiated reports, claims, analysis and accusations had been accepted by a section of the international community but accurate wartime British diplomatic dispatches from Colombo were continued to be hidden and disregarded, the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) leader said.
Responding to questions, Minister Gunawardena pointed out that Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) should have never intruded in the constitution making process. The Minister was referring to 2016 Geneva statement on constitution making process undertaken by the previous yahapalana administration. Interested parties exploited unproved war crimes accusations to create an environment conducive to pave the way for a new Constitution tailor made to serve their agenda, Minister Gunawardena alleged. In spite of those propagated lies being exposed by Lord Naseby, an attempt was being made to sustain the despicable strategy.
Commenting on the recent statement issued by the self-appointed Sri Lanka Core Group in Geneva, Minister Gunawardena said that reference to Attorney-at-law Hejaaz Hizbullah taken into custody over his alleged involvement with those responsible for THE heinous 2019 Easter Sunday attacks was quite disturbing. A concerned Minister said that the Geneva statement made no reference why Hejaaz Hizbullah was taken in nearly a year after suicide bombings claimed the lives of approximately 270 men, women and children. Blasts wounded over 400 persons. “Hejaaz Hizbullah matter is now before the country’s highest court,” Minister Gunawardena said adding that “the National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ) responsible for Easter Sunday massacre posed quite a threat to Sri Lanka. Members of the Core Group comprising the UK, Canada, Germany, North Macedonia and Montenegro couldn’t be unaware of the NTJ threat.
The Minister pointed out how the Attorney General compared the role played by Hejaaz Hizbullah to that of the late British passport holder Anton Balasingham, the LTTE theoretician.
Balasingham passed away in Dec 2006 in the UK. His Australian born wife, who brazenly promoted LTTE terrorism and went to the extent of handing over cyanide capsules to women LTTE cadres lives in the UK.
Minister Gunawardena said that those who had been routinely critical of the government of Sri Lanka in respect of accountability issues et al conveniently forgot Sri Lanka’s post-war efforts to address grievances of the Tamil community. In spite of knowing that the one-time LTTE mouthpiece TNA was certain to comfortably secure the Northern Provincial Council, the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa conducted the election believing the regional administration would work for the people. Instead, they propagated lies abroad at the expense of genuine post-war reconciliation, the minister said.
Minister Gunawardena said that he recently briefed the cabinet of ministers regarding the UK statement.
Responding to another query, the Foreign Minister alleged that some interested parties were making an effort to sustain pressure on the country on the basis of bogus war crimes accusations.
Full implementation of 13A: NFF vows to torpedo Ranil’s move, asks Dinesh, Mahinda to disclose their stance
By Shamindra Ferdinando
The National Freedom Front (NFF), a constituent member of Nidahas Janatha Sandhanaya (NJS), has declared that it would oppose President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s bid to fully implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. The patriotic people were ready to defeat such plans, even at the expense of their lives, the party has vowed.
The breakaway JVP faction consists of six MPs, including former minister Wimal Weerawansa. The NJS is contesting the Local Government polls, scheduled for March 09, under the ‘Helicopter’ symbol.
NFF spokesperson, MP Jayantha Samaraweera, on Monday (30), told the media that his party was ready to lead a campaign against the UNP leader’s move to do away with constitutional safeguards meant to ensure Sri Lanka’s unitary status. The Lawmaker addressed the media at the NFF main office, at Pitakotte.
Having declared his intention to fully implement the controversial constitutional amendment at the Thai Pongal celebrations, in Jaffna, on January 15, President Wickremesinghe reiterated his commitment to the Eelam project during the party leaders’ meeting at the Presidential Secretariat, the former State Minister said.
Lawmaker Samaraweera asked Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, and twice President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had flanked President Wickremesinghe, at the party leaders’ meeting, to disclose their stand on 13th Amendment.
The Nidahas Janatha Sandhanaya, consisting of NFF, Democratic Left Front, Communist Party, Lanka Samasamaja Pakshaya, Pivuthuru Hela Urumaya, Vijayadharani Jathika Sabhawa, Yuthukama, Sri Lanka Freedom Party, Nidahasa Janatha Sabhawa, Jana Jaya Peramuna, Sri Lanka Mahajana Pakshaya and Nidahas Janatha Peramuna, has yet to disclose its position on this issue.
MP Samaraweera attacked the President, close on the heels of NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa, who is also the Chairman of the Uththara Lanka Sabhagaya (ULS), questioning the legitimacy of the move. Lawmaker Weerawansa addressed this issue at a meeting held at the BMICH, on January 26, to discuss ways and means to thwart the move to privatize the CEB.
The ULS consisting of seven political parties, and groups, is aligned with the NJS.
Referring to the circumstances UNP leader Wickremesinghe re-entered Parliament, through the National List, nearly a year after the last General Election, former Minister Weerawansa emphasized the President didn’t have a mandate to fully implement the 13th Amendment. How could the UNP leader abolish Sri Lanka’s unitary status, having received an opportunity to complete Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s remainder of five-year term, won at the Nov. 2019 Presidential Election.
The MP challenged their erstwhile comrades, in the JVP, to state their position on the 13th Amendment. Alleging that the JVP had been conveniently silent on the issue at hand, MP Samaraweera asked whether the current leadership would take up Wickremesinghe’s challenge.
In addition to Weerawansa and Samaraweera, Yuthukama leader Gevindu Cumaratunga, MP, has declared opposition to the President’s move, at the party leaders’ meeting.
Of the SLPP parliamentary group, retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera is the only MP to publicly oppose Wickremesinghe’s proposal.
Political sources said that the NJS, as a group contesting the forthcoming LG polls, was yet to deliberate this issue and take a stand. They said that consensus was required without further delay as the President’s proposal would be a major issue at the forthcoming election.
PHU, too, opposes land, police powers to PCs
A lawyers’ group, aligned with Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU), yesterday (31) said that President Ranil Wickremesinghe couldn’t unilaterally decide on the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.
Attorneys-at-Law Pasan Gunasekera and Bhupathi Kahathuduwa, in a statement issued, explained why police and land powers, in terms of the controversial amendment, shouldn’t be granted to Provincial Councils. Abolition of current constitutional safeguard would undermine Sri Lanka’s unitary status thereby paved the way for a new conflict.
Bangladesh FM to deliver LK memorial lecture
Bangladesh Foreign Minister, Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen, will deliver the Lakshman Kadirgamar memorial lecture at Block 3, Jasmine Hall, BMICH, on February 03, at 6 pm.
The LTTE assassinated the then Foreign Minister, Kadirgamar, on Aug. 12, 2005.
FM Momen will deliver the annual lecture on the invitation of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies.
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