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Manifesto: no mention of Amendment 19 or Amendment 20

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Pray Sri Lanka pray as five judges deliberate on the country’s future 

by Pro Bono   

Nowhere in the Manifesto has Gota said that he is repealing 19A and introducing 20A to the Constitution. It appears that he has a penchant for being economical with the truth.     

 Gota obtained a two thirds majority by deceiving the people; he posed off as the leader of the anti-MCC Movement. With his ill-gotten majority, he is attempting to push-through 20A for which he does not have the people’s mandate; he would sup with the devil to achieve his ends. 

Terrorist suspect released 

In the meantime, one of the prime Islamic-terrorist suspects in the ‘Easter bombing has been released from custody, purportedly due to lack of evidence 

The country is on tenterhooks while five judges from the Supreme Court, sit in judgment on 39 petitions challenging one of the most controversial amendments to the Constitution ever proposed.  The case promises to be a landmark in Sri Lanka’s political, judicial and cultural history as Sri Lanka’s very existence as a sovereign Nation State may depend on the judicial determination made. 

 

Government MPs plan to vote against party lines  

Analysts say that a popular Government, in a matter of months, has succeeded in making itself most unpopular by attempting to bulldoze the proposed 20th Amendment through Parliament, with its two thirds majority. 

 Many, within the Government ranks, are opposed to some very controversial aspects in the proposed Amendment; the people are demanding from their representatives to openly vote against party lines if the Amendment are voted on in Parliament; they say that those representatives voting against party lines have the people’s support.     

 The opposition, which only yesterday looked so hopelessly disunited and deflated, has suddenly got a second wind as a result of the proposed Amendment. 

 Strangely, with the massive opposition to 20A, its ‘author’ can be found; Ali Sabry has disclaimed ownership, forcing Gota to claim it as his own! 

 

 Fast becoming a political joke 

Gota, described by some as a good administrator, has made some serious and embarrassing gaffes, described in certain circles as ‘military buffoonery’. He is fast becoming a political joke and critics cite these instances to make their point: They point out that out of the blues he issued an illegal gazette on Sept. 10, 2020 to give ownership of State land to those squatting  on such land in total violation of an existing statute which is about  ‘Recovering State Land’ from squatters; the gazette was to override a Statute.  

He was caught with his pants down, furtively withdrawing the illegal gazette on getting wind that it would be torn to shreds in a court of law by anyone challenging the illegal gazette. 

Critics also point out to Gota megalomaniacally making ex cathedra type statements and insisting that words flowing from his mouth are like pearls of wisdom having the validity of government circulars.  

 They also refer to his frivolous use of the gazette as when a gazette was published regularizing coconut sales based on caliper and measuring-tape readings.   

 

Popularity plummets to an all time low 

Some analysts say that within 11 months his popularity rating has plummeted from a 70 percent to a low of 48 percent.  

 His present popularity rating is not entirely due to his non-ending gaffes; Gota secured his victory and his two thirds majority in Parliament by deceiving the people of Sri Lanka; he posed off as Sri Lanka’s flag bearer against the MCC, the most burning issue facing the country  

When the people realized his deception and called his bluff, he ingloriously fell from his pedestal and found it difficult playing a geo-political charade. 

 

Playing the role of house-negro 

Soon, he was collaborating with the Americans on the MCC Plan to take-over Sri Lanka.   

Today, with Trump going down with COVID, Gota’s actions evoke memories of Malcolm X and his explicit description of ‘House Negros’.  

 

Sri Lanka fulfills conditions precedent for MCC Land investment 

Much of Gota’s executive actions are based on ‘Conditions precedent for MCC land investment’, the conditions that Sri Lanka is mandated to fulfill, before the Americans condescend to ink the MCC Agreement.  

 In fact, it is being alleged that the so-called ‘bastard’ Amendment 20 was in fact impregnated by the Americans.  

 

Et tu Gota 

Embarrassed by the faux pas of his younger sibling, Mahinda attempted to rescue Gota from the trap that he was walking into setting up a committee to study and report on the draft of the proposed Amendment.  

 When this report was submitted to the cabinet, Gota, either resenting challenges to his authority or prompted by the Americans, consigned the report to the ‘waste-paper basket’.  

 

Government has no mandate from the people to repeal or make amendments 

News from the grapevine is that the Americans are following the Supreme Court proceedings with great interest.  

 Although it is being parroted that Gota had included in his Manifesto that the 19th Amendment would be repealed and a 20th Amendment would be introduced, many voters are bewildered as they are unable to find any mention of this in the Manifesto 

 Analysts say that if such a pledge is not in the Manifesto, it would mean that the people have not given Gota a mandate to repeal 19A nor bring in 20A.  

 It would follow therefore that in addition to a two thirds majority in Parliament, the bill would require the peoples’ consent at a referendum. 

 

Eelamists strategy for a UDI- Dual citizenship 

The proposed 20A includes a section which calls for the repealing of Article 91 (1)(d) (x111) of the present Constitution that debars a foreign citizen from holding political office. 

 If this barrier is removed, the path is cleared for the Americans to capture political power in the Provincial Councils in the North and the East of Sri Lanka through their diaspora-Eelamists having dual citizenship.  

 The Eelam diaspora in the US and other Western countries are awaiting the ‘starting-gate’ to be opened with the passing of 20A.    

Some votaries of Eelam and mercenaries of the US argue that contending for political office and representing people in a political chamber is a right of any citizen of Sri Lanka; they choose to ignore the crux of the counter argument which is not about rights and duties but ‘National Security’. This is the yardstick applied to many rights (for instance ‘The Right to Information’ is denied) when there is a lurking danger to National Security.   

 And to quote Gota from his own Election Manifesto, his priority number One is National Security. It does not require a rocket scientist to understand that dual-citizenship is a major threat to National Security.  

 The danger to our National Security can be perceived given the oath, taken by Rudra Kumaran, Emmanuel, Basil, Hoole and others.    

“I, ……., hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform non-combatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”   

 

The unfolding American scenario 

The scenario to be considered is this:  

On dual citizens being granted political rights, the diaspora Eelamists capture political power in the North and the East by controlling the Provincial Councils and all other lesser units in those provinces. 

The Americans, (see the MCC document) demand that all State Land – 83 percent of the country – be privatized. (As per the MCC document, the success of the MCC project will be measured by the amount of State Land privatized).  

 

The dual citizens buy up all State Land in the North and the East 

The US demands for itself the corridor of 1.2 million acres between Trinco and Colombo that will separate and demarcate the North from the South. (See the MCC document; This is where the electrified railway line would run). 

Wigneswaran, who worked on a USAID project on retirement, makes statements to stir up memories of a separate Tamil State; this is a forerunner to a UDI (Unilateral Declaration of Independence). 

The MCC document re Privatization of State Land runs into flak {Land (Special Provisions) Bill}. 

Gota comes to America’s rescue by issuing an illegal gazette to ‘privatize’ State Land to squatters et al; an open sesame for any one (squatter or otherwise) to register their names as owners of State Land, as per that gazette. 

When land is thus privatized it no longer comes under the control of the Government (the Centre), but that control is automatically devolved to the local provinces and councils. (Without much fuss Amendment 13 has been implemented, circumventing the legal and other barriers). 

Now that these State lands have been privatized it can be sold to any citizen, diaspora or otherwise.  

Gota is caught out and he is forced to withdraw the illegal gazette.  

With Gota’s moves frustrated, MCC partner India steps in; Modi threatens Mahinda, in a  Zoom Conference, to not impede any measures Gota may take to implement 13A which relates to devolving land and Land power to the North and the East. 

When all land in the North and the East are owned by the diaspora Eelamists, when the Councils in those provinces are controlled by the diaspora Eelamists, when there is a definite border separating the North from the South as is the Trinco-Colombo Corridor of the US, the Eelamists have a strong case to Unilaterally Declare Independence. 

If Sri Lanka expresses its opposition to the UDI, and attempts sending troops to the affected area, US troops manning the Colombo-Trincomalee Corridor would prevent that.  UDI is then a done deal, a fait accompli. 

Modi does a Wigneswaran in India. He has awakened the South Indians to their once Greater Eelam dream. The saga of greater Eelam is perhaps not over; the Balkanization of Sri Lanka will catalyze the Balkanization of India.  

With the diaspora Eelamists controlling Eelam, Eelam would be America’s 53rd State; the 53rd State of the US has scope for expansion when ‘Greater Eelam is annexed to Eelam.  

 

Strong statement by Bar Association 

The Bar Association has come out of its slumber and has done a copious study of the 20th Amendment. That, is a good sign. They have decried that dual citizenship should not be allowed under any circumstances. That is a legal opinion of great import. 

 

The clock begins to tick 

On May 9, 2019, Gammanpila castigated the US in open Parliament for attempting to exert undue influence on ten judges who were under training in the US; this was telecast by Adaderana News channel; see the link given below. http://www.adaderana.lk/news/55005/us-exerted-influenced-on-sl-judiciary-gammanpila?fbclid=IwAR1gR44V9Gb9EEiK6tIhB8cfYrAo-Zv0F22EcM5eMfZuDSj3jPEUkB1SPE0 

 

 Today, three of those judges referred to by Gammanpila, are hearing the petitions on the 20th Amendment.  

 It is a trying time for Sri Lanka and the future of the country hangs on a thread; it hinges on the judicial determination that will be made by the five-member bench. 

 Sri Lankans of all ethnicities and faith, you are exhorted to pray for your country and the bench of judges hearing the petitions. They need your prayers and blessings. Pray that they be granted wisdom and strength of character to act righteously to protect our beloved country.



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Features

Pernicious, ubiquitous strikes

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Railway strike

Local news on most TV channels is almost wholly about on-going strikes and preparations plus controversy on the to-be-held presidential election come October.

Political news is centered on this election. Chief protagonist, the present Prez, has said the election will be held at the correct time this year. UNP side-kicks and a maverick have countered this by saying it need not be held since at the present juncture it is best to postpone change by two years. The present incumbent has a further one year to serve according to the Constitution said the bright spark, who filed an application in the Supreme Court was roundly dismissed by it, with an implied but unsaid upbraiding for wasting the time of the Apex Court.

People surmised filing a case was with the approval of the Prez or his Secretariat if not actual promotion, but RW dismissed that suspicion; “I firmly believe that the President’s term is five years, and I support the Election Commission’s steps to hold the Presidential Election in 2024.”  So there! Three cheers! The Prez is on the side of the people who want an election. It is correct constitutionally too.

Political platforms are raucous with praise of their chosen candidates, with photographs of VIPs who have recently changed loyalties in the forefront, some giving shocks to viewers. They seem to have turned 180 degrees or even 360, now championing a candidate they tore into with sharp barbs of ridicule and criticism. To serve themselves to continue in the most lucrative job in the island, they will turn cartwheels and leapfrog from one party to another. Such are most visible in the meetings held to promote Ranil W, as our next president.

Karadara kara strikes

Strikes of varied nature and kinds are rampant so much so that half the time news is telecast we see crowds marching or standing around with police facing them. These strikers are three quarter responsible for the chaos the country is in at this juncture when all should be contributing their might to pull the country out of the morass it was pushed into by its leaders. Cass has so many epithets to express her revulsion at these spectacles that are a shame to the country at large. Don’t those sick note presenters, continuously striking non academics, utterly disgraceful and unethical, nay immoral, teachers know the country is still in the economic doldrums and unless everyone pulls his/her weight we will remain down in the sludge of bankruptcy, notwithstanding IMF assistance and nations having shown leniency in our debt restricting process.

The trade unions demand monthly increases of Rs 25,000 and even more. Don’t they have an iota of sensibility in them to know this is no time for strikes whose demands cannot be met and the strikes making worse the parlous state of the country with lost man hours? Many a striker deliberately loses man hours of work when  supposedly working in their jobs: teachers sit chatting in staff rooms, tea breaks are more than an hour long; leave is taken at their whim and fancy, never mind completion of syllabuses or school exams; least of all consideration of the students in their hands.

Cass heard of students who had completed their university degrees not being able to get their certificates due to the prolonged strike of non-academic staff. Thus, employment and even accepting scholarships from overseas universities have been thwarted.

Train strikes came unannounced. Wednesday morning Cass received a call from weekly domestic help: “No trains running and so I cannot come.” She was expecting very urgent financial help. She wakes up on these days of work at 4.00 am; cooks for her family; walks a mile; boards the train and is in my flat at 7.30 am sharp. Now she is never sure whether she will have to turn back with no trains running. When health sector workers strike, and even doctors of the recent past have resorted to this deplorable ruse, it is a matter of life or death to some. A person called Mudalige was seen smilingly distributing leaflets while protest marching, the cause of which Cass could not catch nor fathom. He thinks himself a saviour; he is a destroyer.

A silver lining appeared. Cass watched on TV news Prez Ranil chairing a meeting with financial secretaries. They expressed their opinion strongly and clearly that salary increases were impossible to give and money printing was now taboo with the IMF overseeing matters financially. And the Prez concluded that it was not possible to give in to strikers. That gladdened the heart immensely. We hope he will be of the same opinion regarding MPs’ demand for tax free luxury limos and life-long insurance for them and theirs in addition to the pensions they now receive after just five years of warming comfortable chairs in the Chamber.

The Editor of The Island of Wednesday July 10, has in his style of sharp and spot-on comment, criticism, blame laying and solutions to be taken dealt with this common bane of Sri Lankan existence. (We don’t ‘live’ now, the word connoting security, justified happiness and fairness to all; rather do we merely exist). He writes under the title Strikes, demand and harsh reality and points out the fact that there are about 1.5 million public employees, working out to about one state worker for every 14 citizens. Preposterous! Only possible in SL, a land like no other where politicians and their chits are to be mostly blamed for this imbalance. Culling or weaning of public servants should be started. Then strikers will not go by instigators of strikes who plan to destabilize the country, but cling to their paying jobs.

How the Iron Lady broke the back of strikes

Cass recollected how newly appointed Conservative PM, Margaret Thatcher, manoeuvered to stop strikes of coal miners and earned the hypocoristic of ‘Iron Lady’.

Cass surfed the Internet to refresh her memory. In 1884 –85, UK coal miners’ strike was a major industrial action in an attempt to stop closure of pits that the government deemed uneconomic; the coal industry having been nationalised in 1947. Arthur Scargill was a name remembered as instigator and leader of strike action. Some minors worked and so, starting in Yorkshire and Midland, the back of the year long strike was shaken and the Conservative government went to work and allowed closure of most British collieries.  Margaret Thatcher was credited with breaking up the ‘most bitter industrial dispute in British history.’ The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) strategy was to cause a severe energy shortage that had won victory in the 1972 strike. Thatcher’s strategy was to build ample stocks of coal; to retain as many minors as possible; and to get the police to break up strikes, which were ruled illegal in September 1984; they ended a year later. Miners suffered but the country gained.

It was heartening to hear that the railway has been made an essential service. Station masters said they would go on striking. Drastic measures have to be adopted to stop such anti-national activities.

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Why human capital development is essential for Sri Lanka

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by S. D. Gamini Jayasooriya
Wayamba University
gaminij2025@gmail.com


The development of human capital is of immense importance for the economic development of Sri Lanka. Thus, investing in education and skills training raises the overall productivity and effectiveness of personnel, spurring innovation and economic growth. Analysing the current situation in Sri Lanka, human capital development can be seen to be of particular importance for creating a competitive economy.

Levels of Human Capital Development

Human capital development in Sri Lanka can be categorised into three main levels: school-leaving level, higher education, and tertiary levels.

School Level: The primary and secondary level of education are indispensable at the basic level. Promoting quality education for children creates a pool of educated human capital in society. Special attention should be paid to raising the level of education, revising curricula, and integrating the use of new technologies in education processes.

Higher Education: In particular, specific skills and knowledge are cultivated at universities and colleges. Improving funding, research and industry linkages in higher education institutions help to produce ready-made graduates to suit the global market demand.

Tertiary Level: Vocational training and technical education are crucial in preparation of people for the job market with relevant skills. Thus, increasing and enhancing vocational training centers would provide solutions for skill deficiencies in different sectors, making the population fit for the actual needs of the economy.

Sri Lankan Labor Market Overview 2023

The Sri Lankan labor market in 2023 has strengths and weaknesses as discussed below. Currently, unemployment trends are still elevated, especially within the youth bracket, while skills supply does not match the skills demand in the market. There is a lack of qualified workers in a number of fields including the IT, healthcare, and manufacturing industries.

A major part of the population is engaged in the informal economy and most of them may be in the low wage employment. This state of affairs requires proper human capital development policies and the enhancement of skill and formalization of the labor market.

Importance of a Skilled Workforce in Economic Development

Skilled workforce is one of the prerequisites for developing the economy of a particular country. Employment of specialized personnel leads to increased output, creativity, and effectiveness in many sectors. They can respond better to innovations in technology and fluctuations in the market thus promoting more economic growth and competition.

Human capital is also an element that enriches the stream of foreign investment. They are likely to be established in places where human capital is readily available to them in terms of skills. This can lead to the generation of employment, technology distribution and enhancement of the economy on a whole.

Recommendations

To enhance human capital development in Sri Lanka, several strategies should be implemented:

1. Improve Educational Infrastructure: Make sure that there is infrastructure development in schools, adequate provision for the needy student, and teachers are in a position to teach.

2. Strengthen Higher Education: Encourage partnerships between universities and industries to ensure the delivered curricula align with the market needs. Contribute towards the improvement of research and development.

3. Expand Vocational Training: Increase the number of vocational training centers and adjust the offered programs to suit the current employment market. Promote the actualization of vocational education as a worthwhile career.

4. Promote Lifelong Learning: Encourage continued learning through offered adult education and online classes.

5. Government and Private Sector Collaboration: Encourage government and private sector to work together and identify the areas that require skills and come up with relevant training needs.

Conclusion

That is why human capital investment must become a priority in Sri Lanka. Investing in education and skills training of the people at all levels will enable the development of a competent and versatile human resource pool. This will help spur economic development, encourage foreign direct investment, and build a stronger and more competitive economy. It is for this reason that the management of human capital should be done strategically to foster the future growth and stability of Sri Lanka.

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Sixty-five years after entry to university of Ceylon, Peradeniya

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University of Peradeniya

by HM NISSANKA WARAKAULLE

It was sixty five years ago, and that is very long time ago, on 29 June 1959 that a batch of 378 students from all parts of Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) entered the portals of the most beautiful university at that time, the University of Ceylon, situated in the salubrious surroundings in Peradeniya, just four miles from the historic city of Kandy, after having successfully passed the then University Entrance examination conducted by the university itself, to read for our varied degrees in Arts, Oriental Languages, Law, etc.

The atmosphere was filled with excitement and sometimes with dismal and gloomy feelings, varied feelings produced from a sense of uncertainty and new-found freedom. The drive through the campus from the Galaha Road junction through the picturesque setting, well maintained lawns and well-laid out flower beds (Sir Ivor Jennings and Mr. Shirley De Alwis together had done the selection of the trees and shrubs very meticulously to bring out the blending of colours), the imposing architectural marvels of Jayathilaka and Arunachalam Halls, the Arts Theatre, the Senate building, and Hilda Obeysekera Hall and the tree sheltered kissing bend and up the winding road to Marcus Fernando Hall( Mr. Shirley De Alwis had planned out the general scheme, landscaping which was his favourite and all other details), brought thoughts to one’s mind which were mixed with perplexity, bewilderment and abandonment. One was entering a make-believe land, very artificial but, at the same time, very fascinating.

There were two significant things in respect of our batch of 1959. Ours was the last all- English medium batch to enter the university. The second important thing is our batch was the first batch where all the students were admitted directly without a viva voce, as up to the previous batch the students were selected both directly and some after facing a viva voce.

Though sixty-five years have gone by, we have not forgotten the best experience we had during the three or four years we spent in the beautiful campus. It is sad that many of our batch mates are not with us now having left us and moved into another world and not being with us to reminisce the glorious time we spent as residential undergraduates.

To all those who entered the Peradeniya campus before us and to our batch, that university will remain in our minds as the one and only university in then Ceylon as the University of Ceylon, which had been established by the Ordinance No. 20 of 1942 and situated in Colombo. It was in the early nineteen fifties that the campus of the University of Ceylon was established in Peradeniya.

The single university continued until 1959. It was only in 1959 that two other universities were created, namely the Vidyodaya University (now known as the University of Sri Jayewardenepura) and the Vidyalankara University (now known as the University of Kelaniya) which were established by the Vidyodaya University and Vidyalankara University Act No. 45 of 1958.These two universities were created by upgrading the two famous Pirivenas (Vidyodaya and Vidyalanakara) that were functioning at that time.

That period we spent at Peradeniya was one of the most unforgettable periods of our lives. The friendships that we cultivated while in Peradeniya remain and will not be erased from our minds.

It would be of interest to those who followed us much later to read for their degrees how the undergraduates were selected in our time. We sat the University Entrance examination conducted by the University of Ceylon in four centres, namely, Colombo, Kandy, Jaffna and Galle with the Department of Examinations having nothing to do with it. Thank God! However, if any candidate wanted to obtain the Higher School Certificate (HSC) such candidate had to sit the extra paper at the same examination and if successful received the HSC certificate from the Department of Education.

The results of the examination were not sent either to the schools or the candidates’ homes. The results were published in the daily newspapers. As such, the results of our batch were published in the The Ceylon Daily News of Wednesday March 11, 1959. Thereafter, after a lapse of a certain period of time, the successful candidates received letters from the university informing of the date of commencement of sessions of the academic year, the Hall of residence allotted and the date to report at the allotted Hall.

There was also a document indicating what we had to take, such as a raincoat and cape, etc. and the things that should not be done in which there was one item which stated that ceiling walking was prohibited. This was a little puzzling to us, but we understood what it meant later when we were on the campus. All undergraduates who were privileged to be in Peradeniya at the commencement of the campus and may be about four batches after ours had the best of time in a university in Sri Lanka.

During that time all undergraduates resided in the halls of residence throughout their undergraduate carrier, even if a person’s residence was abutting the campus premises. All those who entered from schools in and around Kandy could have easily travelled from home. But the university rules and regulations did not permit us to do so. Anyway, when reminiscing, we think that it was good that all had to be resident within the campus as we would never have got that experience otherwise.

On the occasion of the EFC Ludowyke Centenary at Peradeniya in 2006, Prof. Yasmin Gooneratne, a distinguished alumnus stated thus:

“Of the terms most frequently heard in connection with the life that we experienced there, one is “A Golden Age”’ another is “Arcadia”. 2It was a magical time” says one classmate.” It was idyllic” says another. Our companions-some of them husbands, wives, or children who did not share the Peradeniya experience, and who now have to hear us talk about it ad infinitum, look skeptical. They don’t believe us.”

“Peradeniya? Three years in Paradise” a classmate said once. “And at the end of it, they even gave us a degree”

“It was as if all the intellectual brilliance in our country had been concentrated in one spot. If the university had been a stage, we students would have been witnesses to the performances of a stellar cast”

During our time in Peradeniya the halls of residence for males were Arunachalam, Jayathilaka, Marrs, Ramanathan and Marcus Fernando. The female undergraduates had as their halls, James Peiris, Sangamitta and Hilda Obeysekera (with Mrs. Cooke, Dr. (Mrs.) Ram Aluvihare and Miss Mathiaparanam as the respective Wardens). During our final year in 1961-62(third year in the case of those who had opted to do a special degree course), a new hall was opened, which had been named after D.R. Wijewardena close to the Kandy-Colombo railway line. With this building being opened, there was a change in respect of occupants of some halls. Ramanathan was converted into a women’s hall and James Peris was made a hall for male undergraduates. The newly opened Wijewardena Hall became a men’s hall. With this change, the male undergraduates who were in Ramanathan Hall were transferred to James Peiris and Wijewardena Halls. (To be continued)

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