… stresses need for new law to govern intelligence agencies
By Rathindra Kuruwita
Police spokesman, DIG Ajith Rohana, on Saturday, told the PCoI probing the Easter Sunday attacks that the power to issue detention orders for suspects arrested on terrorism-related activities should be given to a DIG instead of a court of law. He said that there was a dire need for a new law governing the activities of intelligence agencies.
Giving evidence before the PCoI for the third day, the Police Spokesman said that suspects arrested for terrorism, related offences should be questioned at least for six months. Rohana, who was on the committee that provided inputs for the Counter Terrorism Act (CTA) proposed by the previous administration, was called before the PCoI to ascertain his opinions on the existing laws on terrorism and religious extremism and the steps that should be taken to curb such activities.
The representative of the Attorney General’s Department that led the evidence asked Rohana what the most important aspects to be considered were when extending detention orders for terror suspects.
“Usually, we go before a Magistrate to get detention orders or to get an extension. My personal opinion is that a DIG must be given the power to extend detention orders. There is no problem with establishing a supervisory body to monitor this. A Magistrate who operates in an area where terrorism or religious extremism is rife is somewhat unsafe. Pressure can be exerted on the Magistrate. But since the investigators are trained, armed and are in camps they have no such worries. The Magistrate or the Human Rights Commission can see the suspects once a month.”
The police spokesman added that authorising a DIG to extend detention orders would be helpful to investigators.
Chairman of the PCoI then asked DIG Rohana for his proposals on granting bail for those arrested for terrorist activities. “I don’t think such a person should be granted bail before a year has elapsed. If bail is granted before a year, the AG’s advice must be sought. If a suspect is to be given bail after a year, a high court should do that. I am making these suggestions based on the complexity of terrorism these days.”
The Chairman asked, “There have been instances where politicians contact policemen regarding bail for suspects. Doesn’t this obstruct justice?”
The DIG said: Certainly, politicians do such things, and don’t think about the impact of such action on the country. According to the Penal Code, preventing the enactment of justice and hiding evidence are offences.
Chairman: “Tell me, based on your experience, who should be entrusted with investigating a group of extremists in a particular area? The police station there or officers from a central location?”
“Even now this is being done by the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID.) There is a DIG in charge of the TID. I think such investigations must be directed centrally but sub divisions must be established provincially. We also need laws governing intelligence operations, this is a good way to strengthen these mechanisms,” DIG Rohana said.
Scotland Police to stop training Lankan cops
reporting from London
Concerns over the human rights record in Sri Lanka has led to the halt of the police training contract between the Sri Lanka and Scottish Police, Chief Constable Iain Livingstone of the Scotland Police confirmed.
He said they have written to the British High Commission in Colombo to inform the Sri Lanka government that they are no longer planning to renew the training contract with Sri Lanka’s police force due to end in March next year.
The British Foreign Office reported last week that Sri Lanka’s human rights situation deteriorated during the first half of 2021.
The report said: “Security forces increased their surveillance and intimidation of human rights activists and their use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, with a number of arbitrary arrests.
The government proposed new regulations with powers to arrest and send individuals to rehabilitation centres to be ‘de-radicalised’ with no judicial oversight or requirement for further process.”
News of Scotland’s Police not renewing the contract was welcomed by critics of Sri Lanka including Mercedes Villalba who is a Scottish Labour politician who has been a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for North East Scotland since May 2021.
British MPs and MSPs jointly sent a letter to the Scotland Police and the British High Commission in Sri Lanka a few weeks ago requesting them to stop the training programme.
Villalba was one of the signatories and after this announcement, she said “I have been pleased to support the campaigners and thank them for their tireless efforts in securing the commitment from the chief constable. I also want to thank Police Scotland for being responsive to the real concerns which were expressed about Sri Lanka’s record of human rights violations.”
Talking about the decision to stop training, Chief Constable Livingstone said that a review must be done to accurately reflect the current security and human rights issues in the region, which have changed since the initial deployment after the end of the Civil War in 2010.
“We remain of course committed to supporting the international development of policing services right across the world so that we can enhance and enable human rights and we can underline the values that we hold dear in Police Scotland of integrity, fairness and respect. Those values will always be at the heart of the work we deliver in Scotland and at the heart of everything we do internationally”, he added.
Interfaith Week celebrated in London
Sujeeva Nivunhella reporting from London
A Pooja to celebrate Interfaith Week was organized here last week with the advice and guidance of Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala Nayake Thera, head of the London Buddhist Vihara and the Chief Sangha Nayake of Great Britain.
This annual event begins on Remembrance Sunday, a memorial day observed in Commonwealth countries since the end of the World War I to remember armed forces personnel who died in the line of duty. This tradition was inaugurated by King George V in 1919.
Adhering to the country’s Covid guidelines, this year’s celebration was held using Zoom technology on the theme “Altruism in each religion”.
Ven. Seelawimala welcomed everyone who joined the session. Notable participants of the event were Ven. Thawalama Bandula Thera, Ven. Kalugamuwe Kassapa Thera from London Buddhist Vihara, Dr Harriet Crabtree – Director of Interfaith Network, UK, Ranjish Kashyap, General Secretary/Director Hindu Council,UK, Dr. Pujya Samaniji Pratibha Pragya, who is a Jain nun from Harrow, Rev Gyoro Nagase, Japanese monk, London Peace Pagoda, Battersea, Dr Desmond Bidulph – Chairman of Buddhist Society and Charanjith and Ajith Singh MBE, Hounslow Friends of Faith, who represented the Sikhs.
All present chanted prayers according to their own faiths to eradicate human suffering, to have peace and especially to see an end to the pandemic situation in the world.
A pre-recorded video of Devotional Songs by London Buddhist Vihara Dhamma School Children was played at the event.
Interfaith Network – UK was founded in 1987 with representatives from the Buddhist, Bahai, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Islam, Sikh and Zoroastrian communities,
National and local interfaith bodies, academic institutions and educational bodies concerned with inter-religious issues are affiliated to the organization. Then head of the London Buddhist Vihara late, Ven. Dr. Medagama Vajiragnana Nayaka Thera was actively involved in forming the Network and was a founding member.
Frankfurt Consulate massive white elephant, alleges Lankan living there
Foreign office looking at closing some overseas mission due to financial constraints
by Harischandra Gunaratna
Sri Lanka’s Consulate in Frankfurt has turned out to be a white elephant although the Sri Lankan government spends a whopping Rs. 200 million per year for its operations, Azad Shaukatally, a businessman and a Sri Lankan expatriate in Frankfurt told the Sunday Island.
“Over the years, this consulate has not contributed anything tangible to the country. All that has happened is successive governments appointing political loyalists to head the Mission. None of them have done anything concrete to promote business between the two countries,” he said.
According to him, the Mission could have contributed a great deal by promoting Sri Lankan exports and tourism as Frankfurt is the business hub of Germany.
“What actually happens is, the Consulate in Frankfurt simply replicates several tasks performed by the Embassy in Berlin and that’s it. But it cost the country exorbitantly without the knowledge of the authorities. This is sheer waste of national resources and it needs to be brought to an end,” Shaukatally said.
When the Sunday Island contacted the Foreign Ministry on the matter, its Acting Director General Sugeeshwara Gunaratna said: “The Foreign Ministry regularly evaluates individual performance of each Sri Lankan mission abroad, and constructively engages with them from time to time on specific issues or matters which are mutually beneficial in promotion of Sri Lanka’s bilateral and multilateral relations with the host country and various international organizations while ensuring best interests of the people of Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan citizens living abroad.”
He said that any decisions related to opening of new missions or closure of particular Missions/Posts abroad including the Consulate General in Frankfurt would be taken after wider consultation with relevant stakeholders based on the relevance of each Mission/Post in promotion of Sri Lanka’s relations abroad.
“Under the current financial constraints, the Foreign Ministry is in the process of closing down some of the Sri Lankan Missions/Posts abroad after obtaining the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers. However, no final decision, has so far, been taken with regard to the Missions/Posts which would be closed down in the near future,” Gunaratna said.
Scotland Police to stop training Lankan cops
Interfaith Week celebrated in London
The Sandahiru event – celebrating failure
7-billion-rupee diamond heist; Madush splls the beans before being shot
The Burghers of Ceylon/Sri Lanka- Reminiscences and Anecdotes
Unfit, unprofessional, fat Sri Lankans
news6 days ago
Treasury loses USD 18 mn as minister blocks CCD probe into generator fraud
Features6 days ago
ONE NIGHT IN BANGKOK
news1 day ago
SL defenceless, warn experts
news5 days ago
Cash-strapped govt. seeks Indian lifeline: Basil to visit New Delhi
news4 days ago
New Kelani Bridge to be declared open today by President and PM
news2 days ago
Church welcomes Prez’s promise to move against those named in Easter Sunday PCoI
Sports6 days ago
Marvelous Madugalle completes 200 Test matches
Features1 day ago
Rising farce of Family Power