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Govt. Analyst’s findings reveal Dutch monk committed suicide

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by Suresh Perera

The mysterious death of Ven. Olande Jinarathana Thera was finally unraveled last week with the Government Analyst determining that the Dutch monk had committed suicide.

There were no toxic substances found in his body, a senior official said. “The final toxicology report ruled out death due to poisoning”.

The bhikku’s stomach contents were examined for traces of chloroform, drugs or any other toxic substances in his blood, but there was none, he noted.

“Coupled with the two earlier reports, it can now be conclusively established that the monk took his own life”, the official said.

Government Analyst Department officers visited the Polgasduwa island hermitage at the time and examined the Dutch monk’s hut, the piece of rope and the stone found tied to one of his legs.

There was speculation that the bhikku was killed after his body was fished out of the Ratgama lagoon in early December last year.

Claims that the foreign monk was killed and his body thrown to the lagoon have been proven baseless as the outcome of the toxicology report points to suicide, the official stressed.

Moreover, there was no tangible reason to have killed a monk in a hermitage, who had no property, money or wealth, he remarked.

He said that during the on-site investigation, it came to light that the bhikku lived in morbid fear of the possibility of contracting Covid-19 as he went around begging for alms and could infect others.

The monk was basically a loner who kept to himself. However, to the selected few he associated with, he had spoken of the Corona threat and his concern for devotees who offered alms to him, the official said.

There were also claims that the bhikku was in a disturbed state of mind after the Covid-19 outbreak over the safety of others in case he was infected, he asserted.

A special police team, which investigated the death of the monk, earlier surmised that he had committed suicide. The autopsy also revealed there was no sand in his lungs, which indicated that he had been alive at the time he was in the lagoon.

Investigations were conducted under the direction of senior DIG Rohan Silva in charge of the Southern province.



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JVP accuses EC of conspiring to delay LG polls

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By Saman Indrajith

JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, MP, has told Parliament that the Election Commission and its Chairman are collaborating with the government to postpone the local government elections.

Participating in the Third Reading stage debate on Budget 2023, on Friday, MP Dissanayake said that as local government bodies should be reconstituted before March 20 2023, the Election Commission had to publish a gazette calling nominations by late December or early January.

“The EC has the authority to do so. It has sought the Attorney General’s opinion on some matters. There is no need at all for it to seek the AG’s advice,” he said.

“This is a conspiracy. The Elections Commission can publish the gazette even tomorrow. It is clear that the Elections Commission is collaborating with the government,” he said.

Dissnayake said that Election Commissioner Nimal Punchihewa’s impartiality was in question. “We know where Punchihewa worked before and at what party office. We know the governments and persons he has worked with closely. He is not an independent person.”

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Diana wants bars open 24/7

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By Saman Indrajith

State Tourism Minister Diana Gamage says liquor outlets should be kept open longer if the country wants to boost tourism.Participating in the Third Reading stage debate on Budget 2023 on Friday, State Minister Gamage said: “We have to keep these places open 24/7. I have spoken about it many times. Liquor is the highest tax earner in the country. In this paradise, we are closing bars after 11pm. Foreigners in hotels can’t get any alcohol if they need, because all the places are closed.

We need to keep this country open 24 hours. Like Singapore and other countries, people must have entertainment.”

“I talk about the night life, and when I talked about that earlier many criticized it and saw it as a big sin. That is ones who are incapable of understanding it,” she said.

“What we call night life is actually a night economy. All the countries in the world have developed because of night economy. These countries get 70 percent of their income from the nigh economy. They only get 30 percent during the day time. We have to develop a night economy in this country. That will earn 70 percent of the income. Only that can develop this country.

“We can do that. And also our museum, that closes at 5 pm. In other countries, museums earn most during night. It must be opened 24/7.  This night economy is essential for a country’s economy. People must have places to spend their money.”

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SJB asks govt. to introduce political reforms fast

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By Saman Indrajith

Chief Opposition Whip Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella has asked the government when it will introduce the political reforms demanded by the international community.

Speaking in Parliament on Saturday, Kiriella said that when the Opposition parties met the members of the Colombo-based diplomatic community during the Aragalaya protests, the latter had demanded that Sri Lanka implement political and economic reforms to receive foreign assistance to get out of the prevailing crisis. “That was six months ago. We have been asking the government repeatedly to inform this House whether it has implemented those reforms.

“The riginal plan was to establish an interim government for six months to restore the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. It was stated that an election would be held after six months. Now, what has happened? The politicians who are responsible for the crisis are still in power.

“Foreign Minister Al Sabry met USAID Administrator Samantha Power on Friday. Samantha Power called for the same political and economic reforms again. The international community is asking for the same.”

Leader of the House, Minister Susil Premjayantha said that political reforms were being implemented. “It is as part of the political reforms we are setting up a National Council, Sectoral Oversight Committees and three other committees. Counter terrorism act is in the pipeline. It will be taken up within couple of weeks. We passed several bills with your support. There were nine amendments to be introduced to the criminal law,” he said.

Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa: “The bills and amendments that have been passed are not enough as far as the international community and we are concerned. The biggest request is to allow the people of this country for a new mandate. Allow the people to express their will. Give them a chance to establish a new government or to maintain the same government now they have.”

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