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Victory against terror belongs to all Sri Lankans: PM

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By Saman Indrajith

None of those who fought to defeat terrorism had any intention to harm civilians, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa told Parliament yesterday.

Making a special statement to mark the 12th anniversary of the conclusion of the war, the Prime Minister said: “None including former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the then Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, former Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda or former Air Force Commander Roshan Goonetillake led their men to the field to commit genocide.

“Our valiant troops fought with a group of terrorists who used children, mothers and fathers as a human shield. Our objective was to protect those innocents while fighting the terrorists. That was one of the most difficult challenges any military chief would face, but our military leaders bravely faced that challenge and accomplished their mission.

“We made the world’s best fighters out of children of families of common men. They fought valiantly and defeated the most ruthless terrorist outfit in the world then. After the war we did our utmost to provide for the war heroes and their family members by increasing their salaries and allowances and looking after their welfare.

“I still recall the day 12 years back how people all over the country took to the streets waving the national flag to mark the end of the war that ravaged this country for 30 years.

It is not a victory for one community against another. That was a victory of the entire nation. We saved the lives of over 400,000 people used as a human shield by the terrorists.

With that victory we ended that miserable practice that those people used to leave their homes, fields and cattle once or twice a year to streets of jungles only clutching their clothes and food as the LTTE carried out massacres. We ended the era where people of the north lived the life of displaced persons.

The victory enabled people of the East who had lived around 20 years in refugee shelters to return to their villages. That victory ended the fear of people living in remote areas who were frightened that the LTTE might come at night and smash their infants on the floor.”

It was on this day 12 years back that we ushered in peace. That victory ended the period where parents guarded schools for the safety of their children, fearing terrorist attacks.

This victory belongs to all communities.

 

 

 



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Avishka and Sadeera power Jaffna Kings to nine wicket win

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Half tons by Avishka Fernando and Sadeera Samarawickrema powered Jaffna Kings to a nine wicket win over Dambulla Aura in the 3rd match of the LPL2022  at MRICS Hambanthota on Wednesday (07)

Dambulla Aura 121/9 in 20 overs (Jordan Cox 43; Maheesh Theekshana 3/20, Vijayakanth Vijaskanth 3/24, James Fuller 2/16, Zaman Khan 1/28)

Jaffna Kings 122/1 in 15.4 overs (Avishka Fernando 51 , Sadeera Samarawickrema 62 not out; Noor Ahamed 1/28)

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Govt. says selling state assets only way to build reserves and prevent crippling shortages

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

Cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardena yesterday (06) said Sri Lanka wouldn’t be in a position to be part of the international trading system unless it boosted its foreign reserves by selling some of its assets. Gunawardena, who also holds media and transport portfolios said so at yesterday’s post-Cabinet press briefing.

Responding to a query about the government’s decision to divest vital national assets, the Minister said that if Sri Lanka did not shore up its reserves to the tune of over three billion dollars, international companies would not accept the letters of credit given by Sri Lankan banks.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his capacity as the Finance Minister, has proposed privatising of several state enterprises including Sri Lanka Insurance and Sri Lanka Telecom.

“Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga sold a number of state owned enterprises. If we don’t increase our reserves, to over three billion USD soon, we will have problems importing fuel, and other essential items. Last week, Fitch again reduced our rating. No matter who governs Sri Lanka, they will all face the same problem. We need to build our reserves,” the Minister said.

Minister Gunawardane said that the need of the hour was to sell some assets and boost Sri Lanka’s reserves.

“China, India, Vietnam, and Malaysia are attracting a lot of investors. Only we have failed to do so, and we need to think why this is. Even our entrepreneurs are leaving for other countries. We need to change the way we think, if we want to attract investors to Sri Lanka,” he said.

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Ven Siridhamma, Mudalige granted bail; latter re-arrested

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Convenor of Bhikku Balamandalaya affiliated Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) Ven. Galwewa Siridhamma Thera leaving Court yesterday (06) after Kaduwela Magistrate Chanima Wijebandara granted him bail. The Thera was held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act for causing damages to public property during a protest opposite the Education Ministry, over three months back. The Magistrate ordered the Thera released after the police failed to identify the monk at an identification parade. However, IUSF Convenor Wasanatha Mudalige, who was also released by the Magistrate, after the police couldn’t identify him, was taken into custody in connection with some other case.

Pics by Kamal Bogoda

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