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If not for Ashraff LTTE would have achieved Eelam – Zuhair

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Ashraff memorial meeting in Sammanthurai

Former President J R Jayewardene had, in 1987, merged the Eastern and Northern Provinces under Indian pressure. Then leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) late M.H.M. Ashraff and the Muslims in the country had opposed the merger. They didn’t want to be governed by another minority. Because of the forced merger, new demands of a separate council for Muslims emerged at that time. If not for the SLMC led by Marhoom Ashraff, the LTTE would have achieved its Eelam dream. Eastern Muslims thereby paid a heavy price at the hands of the LTTE in 1989-90 for not supporting the division of the country, President’s Counsel M. M. Zuhair, former Member of Parliament said at the 20th Ashraff memorial meeting held recently at the Abdul Majeed Hall, Sammanthurai, in the Ampara District.

Speaking further, Zuhair said the Muslims of Sri Lanka or the SLMC and its then leader Ashraff never supported separatism or the 30-year LTTE struggle to establish ‘Eelam’. Ashraff and the Muslims were opposed to the division of the country. It was the United Nations that created the first racially based state of ‘Israel’ seven decades ago in multi- ethnic Palestine. There is no place for other races in today’s Israel. It is today a land only for one race. Muslims of Sri Lanka did not want the country divided or to see the creation of a state for one race. Nevertheless Ashraff saw devolution of power as the political answer to the LTTE!  Devolution is the only way today to win over the peace!

The meeting presided by Professor Rameez Abdullah was addressed by Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP M.A. Sumanthiran PC, former MP and Chairman Sammanthurai Pradeshiya Sabha A.M.M. Naushad and Deshamanya Irshad A. Cader. The meeting was organised by the Humanitarian Welfare Council of Sammanthurai and the Deshamanya Irshad A. Cader Welfare Forum of Sammanthurai.

The two major communities, Zuhair said have had their own problems. The failed ‘Christian’ coup of 1961 was an attempt to topple the government unlawfully. In 1971, the then JVP led Sinhala youth rebellion to overawe the government ended in failure. In 1988-9 another Marxist inspired major uprising of Sinhala youth to topple the government through criminal force also ended in failure. Meanwhile the 30-year LTTE war to establish a separate state was also defeated. Muslims were the only community that did not have any role in any of these terrorising events. Ashraff’s patriotic role during the 30 year war will never be forgotten. He was however never opposed to the genuine aspirations of the Tamil people of the country.

Zuhair said M.P. Sumanthiran referred to the need for the unity of the Tamil, Muslim and Sinhala people particularly in the East. Muslims will strongly support such moves. But the Tamil demand for merger had always been the major obstacle to this unity.

Genuine concerns have now emerged regarding the preservation of historical archaeological sites in the country. In Pakistan Taxila and other archaeological sites are protected by the government and the people of Pakistan. In Afghanistan, we tend to forget that the Bamiyan Buddha statues were protected by the Muslims there for over a thousand years. These sites also bring them tourist income.

 The time has come for Muslims in the East to publicly come forward to protect these sites from destruction. This is also a national duty which is also supported by the Holy Quran.  Sura 6 Verse 108 states ‘(Oh believers) Revile not, those whom they worship instead of Allah…’. The reference is to objects of worship. There is a clear Quranic prohibition, apart from the country’s laws, against permitting any form of vandalizing of objects, idols or places of such worship. Of course, archaeological sites are no longer places of worship. It is a national duty by all to protect these sites from damage or destruction, he said.

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COPE meets online for first time in its history

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by Saman Indrajith

The Parliamentary watchdog committee – COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises) created a history by meeting online for the first time ever on Thursday.

The COPE had Secretaries of three Ministries joining in with its committee meeting through online (ZOOM) becoming the second parliamentary committee holding an online meeting in the country.

Thursday evening’s COPE meeting chaired by its chairman Prof. Charitha Herath connected online with Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Dr) H. S. Munasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Industries W. A. Chulananda Perera and, Secretary to the Ministry of Public Services, Provincial Councils and Local Government J. J. Ratnasiri via zoom technology.

The Environmental Audit Report on water pollution of the Kelani River was brought before the committee and the meeting held between the Chairman Prof. Herath, Ministers and Members of Parliament and secretaries and other officials continued without any technical hitches.

Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake said that facilities have been provided to hold meetings and discussions using online technology in two committee rooms in Parliament.

He said that Parliamentary officials had been working relentlessly for months to install the requisite technological tools and that the efforts have borne fruit and future Parliamentary meetings could be held online as a result.

The Committee on High Posts under the chairmanship of Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena also held a discussion with the new Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Kenya, who was living in Kampala, using online technology recently.

 

 

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Legatum Prosperity Index highlights SL’s development of education and healthcare sectors

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During the past decade

One of the key highlights of this year’s Legatum Prosperity Index was the improvement in Sri Lanka’s education and healthcare sectors over the past decade. These improvements were key to increase in prosperity within Sri Lanka, it was noted.

The London-based think-tank Legatum Institute launched the 14th Legatum Prosperity Index on November 17 2020.

The event commenced with the welcome address by the Chair of the Legatum Institute, Alan McCormick. 

Addressing the audience, the Chief Executive Officer of the Legatum Institute, The Baroness Stroud said that according to the Legatum Index, the global prosperity was at its highest level ever with 147 countries seeing their prosperity rise over the last decade.

Speaking at the launch, the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in the UK, Saroja Sirisena said that the end of the terrorist conflict in 2009 and the ensuing peace dividend, led Sri Lanka to achieve steady progress within the last decade.

She highlighted that the universal free education and healthcare policies of the country over seven decades are the pillars on which prosperity is built.

Director of Policy of the Legatum Institute, Dr. Stephen Brien explained to the audience as to how the Legatum Index is used to measure prosperity across the world.

The event was also addressed by the Founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation in Africa, Dr. Mo Ibrahim, Biologist and Writer, Matt Ridley and Ambassador of Georgia in the UK Sophie Katsarava.

Legatum Prosperity Index is a global index that analyses the performance of 167 nations across 65 policy-focused elements, measured by almost 300 country level indicators and it is the only global index that measures national prosperity based on institutional, economic and social wellbeing.

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Quick Snacks and Party Recipes from North India with Sapna Mehra

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The Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre (SVCC), High Commission of India, Colombo, will be holding an online cookery demonstration on ‘Snack Time: Quick Snacks and Party Recipes from North India’ on December 5 at 11.00 am on its FACEBOOK page https://www.facebook.com/ICCRSriLanka.

This festival season, the Cultural Centre will present a virtual cookery demonstration by Sapna Mehra. Cooking has been a passionate hobby of Sapna since her childhood days. Growing up in a large family of 17 members, she was very keen on bringing variety to the dining table, and that’s when her cooking journey began, preparing simple wraps, and snacks.

She now specializes in cooking dishes from a variety of cuisines. Originally from Bangalore, she has lived in many cities across India and Sri Lanka, and at present resides in Delhi.

She has a Postgraduate degree in Marketing and has over 12 years work experience in the professional field.

All are cordially invited to attend. For more details, contact the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre on telephone No: 2684698 or Email: iccrcolombo2@gmail.com

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