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Wanderings in the forests and estuaries of the North and East – Part 1

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by Junglewallah

The northern forests around Mankulam, situated some 200 miles from Colombo on the main Jaffna road, consist of tall trees and the undergrowth. These forests are densely populated by the sloth bear (Melursus ursinus), perhaps more so than any other area in Sri Lanka. A vigil by a water-hole during the dry months of July and August will show an average of five to 10 bears coming to drink at it before dusk – on occasions, even more.

Bears

The reason why bears are so numerous in this area is worth investigating. The prime reasons, I feel, are the presence of dense forest cover and an abundant supply of food favoured by bears.

I owe much of my experience and knowledge of this part of the country to the guidance of a famous Northern Province outdoorsman and shikari named S. C. Rasaratnam (known as Master throughout the Northern Province). He had been a much-respected schoolmaster from Hartley College, Point Pedro, who had retired from teaching and settled down in a little farm that he owned at Karupaddaimurippu on the Mankulam-Mullaitivu Road. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was a tiny hamlet situated about eight miles from Mankulam and was in the heart of the bear country.

Master was a person who was reluctant to talk about himself and his achievements. According to what I was able to extract painstakingly from him in evening discussions at his camp, he and his good friend, Brigadier C. P. Jayawardena, who was then an Assistant Conservator in the Forest Department, had been requested by Mr. D. S. Senanayake, sometime before Independence, to drive off the herds of elephants that were devastating the cultivated lands of the colonists in the newly opened out settlements in Minneriya and Hingurakgoda. Apparently the colonists were chiefly from Mr. Senanayake’s electorate, Mirigama, including his ancestral Botale, and there had been numerous instances where the elephants had destroyed their huts and killed the colonists.

The settlers were threatening to pull out and return home unless something was done to drive off the elephants. According to Master, Brigadier Jayawardena and he took on the commission of driving off the elephants; but except for saying that they were successful in keeping the colonists back, he was very reticent on how many animals had to be destroyed in order to drive off the predatory herds. It was during these early days, when Master as a youth was engaged in the assignment given to him by the Government, that he had acquired his knowledge and love for the wilds.

According to what Master stated, bears are extremely fond of the fruit of Polyalthia korinti (uluvinthai T; miwenna, ul kenda S). I have observed that it is found in profusion in the Mankulam area, more than in any other forests in Sri Lanka. Huber (1985) describes it as a treelet that is widely distributed, but specifies Mankulam as one of the type localities. In the Mankulam area the uluvinthai is found growing in thickets stretching over large areas of the forest. It is a tallish bush with fairly slender and fragile trunk and branches. The bushes afford thick cover for the bears, but the trunks or stems are not strong enough to support the weight of a man. There is little chance, therefore, of a threatened hunter or villager escaping an enraged bear by climbing one of these bushes.

The uluvinthai bush yields an abundant supply of sweet reddish berries in December and January. The ready supply of this berry, together with a fair profusion of palu (Manilkara hexandra,) which yields a sweet yellow berry in the drier months of the year, as well as the presence of out -cropping rocks containing caves. scattered throughout the forest and providing shelter to the animals, makes this area a virtual paradise for bears. Additionally, there are tracts of the forest where clayey soil is found, where termites build their nests in the form of hills. These termites afford yet another source of favoured food for bears.

The sloth bear has a fearsome reputation in our forests. It is an animal with poor eyesight and only slightly better hearing, but possessed of an excellent sense of smell. In the forests where it is found, if an unwary jungle villager is unfortunate enough to approach a bear down-wind (that is, where the wind is blowing from the bear towards the villager), the animal will not be able to get the scent of the man. Nor will it hear his footsteps, for the little sound the footfalls make will be drowned by the wind. The first thing that a bear with its poor eyesight sees is an intruding villager almost upon it. This-normally happens when the bear is grubbing for termites behind a tree or an ant -hill. In these circumstances, the animal thinks it is about to be attacked. Believing that offence is the best form of defence at close range, the bear launches an attack on the intruding villager with a view to protecting itself. With its fearsome claws and strong teeth it inflicts terrible wounds on the villager. Those who are fortunate enough not to succumb to their wounds are left fearfully maimed and scarred for life.

Victims of bear attacks are not uncommon in the remote forested parts of the Island, particularly in the Mankulam area. I have come across two such maimed persons in this area, one of whom had been reduced to being a cripple as a result of the bones of his legs having been reduced to almost splinters by the bear’s teeth. Until 1963 bears were regarded as vermin and could be shot throughout the year. In the Mankulam area they were profuse enough to be a threat to jungle villagers, who had to go into the forest to cut grass and firewood. The villagers in this area were, therefore, strongly supportive of the shooting of bears. The methods of getting to grips with bears with any degree of certainty were twofold.

First, during the dry season in July and August each year, when the kachan wind blows consistently as a dry land wind blowing towards the north-east, and parching the Wanni forests and drying all the water-holes, the customary mode of lying in wait for bear was over water- holes. The Mankulam area was almost devoid of rock water-holes (or kemas), which are normally found towards the coastal forests. Where the bear came to drink in Mankulam was in deep burrows in the dry sandy riverbeds, which it had dug itself, after scenting the underground water springs with its acute sense of smell. These deep holes went sometimes as much as eight feet into the river beds, and were called puval by the villagers in the area. They contained a small puddle of clear water at the bottom which dried up with the drought as time went on, requiring the animals to dig even deeper. It is of interest that the only animals in the forest, besides the bear, that actually dig for water are the elephants. I have observed them digging for water using their feet and trunk in the dry bed of the Akkarayan Aru, off Murukandy in the Mankulam area.

The customary method adopted by the Wanni villager of sitting up for bear and other game was on the bank of a dry river bed, with a barricade built upon four sides with enough dry branches and driftwood to conceal the hunter and his guide. The kachan wind during the drought blew consistently from the. south-west to the north-east. It is, in fact, the south-west monsoon which has shed its rain over the central hill country, and which blows as a dry-land wind over the north-east of the Island. On several occasions I have sat on the ground in complete safety. The hide is usually built with game paths approaching from the front and sides, and the hunter faces the wind blowing into his face. Any animals getting the human scent from behind, invariably flee from the hated scent, while those that come along the game paths in front and from the sides, unable to get the human scent, proceed unawares to the water to drink.

Whilst on the subject of the extraordinary powers of scent that bears have, I may relate an interesting experience I had in the company of Master. We had gone out to inspect a remote water-hole in the morning, where a hide had already been built a few days earlier. The drought was fierce, with the blistering kachan wind being able to dry even a sodden bath towel hanging out in the shade in a couple of hours. Whilst there had been a small puddle of water when the hide was built, the burrow was now bone dry at the bottom, and since it was the only water-hole for miles around, I was disappointed that I would not encounter any bears that evening. Master however, gave a smile, and told me that I need not worry. He knew of a trick that would attract bears that evening.

After an early lunch, we set off in a Land Rover with Master, the tracker and another villager. When we left, I noticed two large brass vessels of water in the back of the vehicle, which Master had got filled from his own well. On inquiring what this was for, Master told me the purpose. On sitting down at the hide about 4 pm he asked the tracker to empty the two containers of water into the bottom of the dry water-hole dug by the bears. He said that he had done this successfully before, and although the water would be immediately sucked into the bone dry sand, its scent being borne on the kachan wind and carried into the forest would be strong enough to bring the bears to what they thought would be a source of drinking water. Indeed, he proved correct, as before sunset, several bears came to the water- hole.

In retrospect, however verminous they might have been considered, shooting bears over water-holes when they come to drink, crazed with thirst, cannot be justified in any way on ethical grounds. In mitigation, I could only say that bears were so numerous in the area around Karupaddaimurippu that they were a positive threat to the jungle villager. In fact, the son of the headman of the neighbouring village called Manavalapattaimurippu was the victim of a bear attack and reduced to being a cripple. The destruction of bears was therefore something that the villagers pleaded for, and unless they were shot by hunters they were quite safe from the villagers as their skins had no commercial value whatsoever, unlike the skins of leopards.

In my experience a 12 bore shot-gun loaded with SG cartridge was not adequate to bring down a bear with certainty, and this was the weapon the normal jungle villager had at best. The villager therefore avoided having any encounter with a bear unless he was compelled to shoot in absolute self-defence, and even then the animal was seldom killed outright with a shot- gun charge. My experience is that a centre-fire rifle of .30/06 or larger calibre, using soft-nosed bullets is the safest weapon to use on bear.

The second mode of shooting bears in the Mankulam jungles, was not quite as certain as water-hole shooting, but certainly more exciting and risky. It consisted of tracking them in the uluvinthai thickets in December, which was the berry season. There were large tracts of forest around Karupaddaimurippu where these bushes grew in profusion. In fact, some sections were almost exclusively overgrown with these bushes, which in that area were about 10 feet high at the most, but the trunk and branches were quite slim and could not support the weight of a man and certainly not that of a bear. The bears’ technique of getting at the berries was to reach up and tear down a branch and then gulp them down. At the same time, these berries were favoured by the villagers as they were edible and sweet. It is in search of these berries and jungle bees honey that the villagers would come into conflict with bear and be attacked.



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A call for confidence in Rajavasala

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The government is highly cheerful about the defeat of the SJB’s vote of no confidence on Minister Gammanpila.

It was able to display its two-thirds power in Parliament. Those smaller parties that are aligned with the Pohottuva such as the SLFP and Wimal Weerawansa’s NFF and others remained fastened with Pohottuva power. The new message after the SJB’s defeat is that the people are wholly supportive of the increase in fuel prices. In fact, they have been voting to support the new fuel prices, and thus Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa does not have to do anything about it. Forget all that talk about how that price increase would not have happened if BR had been in the country, or that he would reduce it in a couple of days in office.

The record of no-confidence motions in our Parliament from 1948 is certainly different. Many such motions have been defeated, but the wider and deeper messages they carried have remained with the voters, who did what was necessary when the time for a larger national Vote of No-Confidence came their way.

This is the first big issue that Sajith Premadasa faced as leader of the SJB. There was somewhat of a challenge to him with the presence in Parliament of his former leader, and continuing UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, who did try a green twist to the motion by trying to amend it to read against the whole government. Such twists and turns in politics can only be expected when persons who are wholly defeated by the voters in an election, the entire party and himself included, enters the House through the backdoor of the National List.

What this no-confidence motion brought before the people is much more than the rise in fuel prices. Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, and the government’s flagrant misuse of quarantine regulations to forcibly grab and transport trade union, civil rights, and political critics and opponents to a lock down centre in the North, combined with the continuing protests by farmers without necessary fertiliser, there is a rising mood of public discontent with the advancing power of the Rajapaksas. Here are some of the real ‘confidence’’ issues facing the people.

Does Pohottuva think the public are wholly supportive of the presidential pardon to a murderer convicted by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court? What about the three others who were also convicted with the same person? Is the public cheerful about such a pardoned, but not freed of crime – person, being appointed to head a major state institution on housing development? Is housing to be a sector of increasing political manipulation, much more than it was when Wimal Weerawansa, as Minister of Housing and Common Amenities, was at play in that sector, with luxury housing for relatives?

By the way, Weerawansa was a loud and strong opponent to the no- confidence motion against Minister Gammanpila.

There is currently some confused thinking on the silent protest carried out by teachers on distant teaching through the internet. The vast numbers, in several thousands, who participated in the public call for action by the government on the long-standing teacher demands, did show the necessity for action.

The public who may be even critical of the trade union action by the teachers are certainly not supportive of them being called ‘kaalakanniyo’ – miserable, wretched – even by a Cabinet Minister, whatever rank or status he may hold. Minister Rambukwelle could have turned many teachers, who may have preferred to be silent about their dispute on income and rights, to openly join the related trade union action. The Minister’s subsequent reference to teachers as ‘divinities’ certainly had little impact, in a land where there are unholy divinities, too.

The increase in the size of protests today shows a rise in the mood of opposition to the government. The public reaction to the ugly and shameful show of force against citizen protesters by the Police, against court orders, too, seem to have pushed the Police somewhat into the background. But we cannot be sure of that.

There have been many transfers and promotions of key police personnel, and the vacancy in the highest police post is not far away. Will the future actions on police management by the Rajapaksa Handlers send a new message on Police Brutality? Will the suspects brought to show evidence and are shot down, show an increase in the coming months? This is where public confidence in the government’s role in fighting crime and keeping peace will be on display, as the Rajapaksa Handlers move to more Family Power and less People’s Power.

More than two years have passed since that Easter Sunday attack on three churches, the deaths of so many, many more injured, families destroyed, parents gone and children lost, and the government still has to show the people the truth about this massive crime. The Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, has now given a one-month deadline for the President and the government to answer several key issues about this crime, which were key electoral promises of the Pohottuva candidate who is now the President, and the SLPP government of today.

The answers to these issues raised will show the confidence in the Sri Lankan government by the people of this country, irrespective of ethnicity, religion or caste; and the confidence in this country by the international community.

The defeat of the no-confidence motion on Minister Gammanpila should not be the stuff of worry for the Opposition in Parliament and the SJB. It is certainly a call to spread the wider message of no-confidence in a government that has failed in living up to its promises to the people.

The government may remain happy with its two-thirds majority in Parliament. But it certainly needs much more than parliamentary numbers to retain and build the confidence among the people. This is the real task of the Rajapaksa Power today. It has to move away from a Rajapaksa Senakeliya or Carnival, and try and settle down to Rajapaksa Service to the people, and not to themselves. A true call for Confidence in the Rajavasala, from those away from the Rajapaksa pack and players.

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How rebirth takes place

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(from THE BUDDHA AND HIS TEACHINGS by Venerable Nārada Mahāthera)

“The pile of bones of (all the bodies of) one man
Who has alone one aeon lived
Would make a mountain’s height —
So said the mighty seer.”
— ITIVUT’TAKA

To the dying man at this critical stage, according to Abhidhamma philosophy, is presented a Kamma, Kamma Nimitta, or Gati Nimitta.

By Kamma is here meant some good or bad act done during his lifetime or immediately before his dying moment. It is a good or bad thought. If the dying person had committed one of the five heinous crimes (Garuka Kamma) such as parricide etc. or developed the Jhānas (Ecstasies), he would experience such a Kamma before his death. These are so powerful that they totally eclipse all other actions and appear very vividly before the mind’s eye. If he had done no such weighty action, he may take for his object of the dying thought-process a Kamma done immediately before death (Āsanna Kamma); which may be called a “Death Proximate Kamma.”

In the absence of a “Death-Proximate Kamma” a habitual good or bad act (Ācinna Kamma) is presented, such as the healing of the sick in the case of a good physician, or the teaching of the Dhamma in the case of a pious Bhikkhu, or stealing in the case of a thief. Failing all these, some casual trivial good or bad act (Katattā Kamma) becomes the object of the dying thought-process.

Kamma Nimitta

or “symbol,” means a mental reproduction of any sight, sound, smell, taste, touch or idea which was predominant at the time of some important activity, good or bad, such as a vision of knives or dying animals in the case of a butcher, of patients in the case of a physician, and of the object of worship in the case of a devotee, etc…

By Gati Nimitta, or “symbol of destiny” is meant some symbol of the place of future birth. This frequently presents itself to dying persons and stamps its gladness or gloom upon their features. When these indications of the future birth occur, if they are bad, they can at times be remedied. This is done by influencing the thoughts of the dying man. Such premonitory visions of destiny may be fire, forests, mountainous regions, a mother’s womb, celestial mansions, and the like.

Taking for the object a Kamma, or a Kamma symbol, or a symbol of destiny, a thought-process runs its course even if the death be an instantaneous one.

For the sake of convenience let us imagine that the dying person is to be reborn in the human kingdom and that the object is some good Kamma.

His Bhavanga consciousness is interrupted, vibrates for a thought-moment and passes away; after which the mind-door consciousness (manodvāravajjana) arises and passes away. Then comes the psychologically important stage –Javana process — which here runs only for five thought moments by reason of its weakness, instead of the normal seven. It lacks all reproductive power, its main function being the mere regulation of the new existence (abhinavakarana).

The object here being desirable, the consciousness he experiences is a moral one. The Tadālambana-consciousness which has for its function a registering or identifying for two moments of the object so perceived, may or may not follow. After this occurs the death-consciousness (cuticitta), the last thought moment to be experienced in this present life.

There is a misconception amongst some that the subsequent birth is conditioned by this last death-consciousness (cuticitta) which in itself has no special function to perform. What actually conditions rebirth is that which is experienced during the Javana process.

With the cessation of the decease-consciousness death actually occurs. Then no material qualities born of mind and food (cittaja and āhāraja) are produced. Only a series of material qualities born of heat (utuja) goes on till the corpse is reduced to dust.

Simultaneous with the arising of the rebirth consciousness there spring up the ‘body-decad,’ ‘sex-decad,’ and ‘base-decad’ (Kāya-bhāva-vatthu-dasaka).

According to Buddhism, therefore, sex is determined at the moment of conception and is conditioned by Kamma not by any fortuitous combination of sperm and ovum-cells.

The passing away of the consciousness of the past birth is the occasion for the arising of the new consciousness in the subsequent birth. However, nothing unchangeable or permanent is transmitted from the past to the present.

Just as the wheel rests on the ground only at one point, so, strictly speaking, we live only for one thought-moment. We are always in the present, and that present is ever slipping into the irrevocable past. Each momentary consciousness of this ever-changing life-process, on passing away, transmits its whole energy, all the indelibly recorded impressions on it, to its successor. Every fresh consciousness, therefore, consists of the potentialities of its predecessors together with something more. At death, the consciousness perishes, as in truth it perishes every moment, only to give birth to another in a rebirth. This renewed consciousness inherits all past experiences. As all impressions are indelibly recorded in the ever-changing palimpsest-like mind, and all potentialities are transmitted from life to life, irrespective of temporary disintegration, thus there may be reminiscence of past births or past incidents. Whereas if memory depended solely on brain cells, such reminiscence would be impossible.

“This new being which is the present manifestation of the stream of Kamma-energy is not the same as, and has no identity with, the previous one in its line — the aggregates that make up its composition being different from, having no identity with, those that make up the being of its predecessor. And yet it is not an entirely different being since it has the same stream of Kamma-energy, though modified perchance just by having shown itself in that manifestation, which is now making its presence known in the sense-perceptible world as the new being.

Death, according to Buddhism, is the cessation of the psycho-physical life of any one individual existence. It is the passing away of vitality (āyu), i.e., psychic and physical life (jīvitindriya), heat (usma) and consciousness (vinnana).

Death is not the complete annihilation of a being, for though a particular life-span ends, the force which hitherto actuated it is not destroyed.

Just as an electric light is the outward visible manifestation of invisible electric energy, so we are the outward manifestations of invisible Kammic energy. The bulb may break, and the light may be extinguished, but the current remains and the light may be reproduced in another bulb. In the same way, the Kammic force remains undisturbed by the disintegration of the physical body, and the passing away of the present consciousness leads to the arising of a fresh one in another birth. But nothing unchangeable or permanent “passes” from the present to the future.

In the foregoing case, the thought experienced before death being a moral one, the resultant rebirth-consciousness takes for its material an appropriate sperm and ovum cell of human parents. The rebirth-consciousness (patisandhi vinnana) then lapses into the Bhavanga state.

The continuity of the flux, at death, is unbroken in point of time, and there is no breach in the stream of consciousness.

Rebirth takes place immediately, irrespective of the place of birth, just as an electromagnetic wave, projected into space, is immediately reproduced in a receiving radio set. Rebirth of the mental flux is also instantaneous and leaves no room whatever for any intermediate state (antarabhava). Pure Buddhism does not support the belief that a spirit of the deceased person takes lodgement in some temporary state until it finds a suitable place for its “reincarnation.”

This question of instantaneous rebirth is well expressed in the Milinda Pa񨡺

The King Milinda questions:

“Venerable Nagasena, if somebody dies here and is reborn in the world of Brahma, and another dies here and is reborn in Kashmir, which of them would arrive first?

“They would arrive at the same time. O King.

“In which town were you born, O King?

“In a village called Kalasi, Venerable Sir.

“How far is Kalasi from here, O King?

“About two hundred miles, Venerable Sir.

“And how far is Kashmir from here, O King?

“About twelve miles, Venerable Sir.

“Now think of the village of Kalasi, O King.

“I have done so, Venerable Sir.

“And now think of Kashmir, O King.

“It is done, Venerable Sir.

“Which of these two, O King, did you think the more slowly and which the more quickly?

“Both equally quickly, Venerable Sir.

“Just so, O King, he who dies here and is reborn in the world of Brahma, is not reborn later than he who dies here and is reborn in Kashmir.”

“Give me one more simile, Venerable Sir.”

“What do you think, O King? Suppose two birds were flying in the air and they should settle at the same time, one upon a high and the other upon a low tree, which bird’s shade would first fall upon the earth, and which bird’s later?”

“Both shadows would appear at the same time, not one of them earlier and the other later. “

The question might arise: Are the sperm and ovum cells always ready, waiting to take up the rebirth-thought?

According to Buddhism, living beings are infinite in number, and so are world systems. Nor is the impregnated ovum the only route to rebirth. Earth, an almost insignificant speck in the universe, is not the only habitable plane, and humans are not the only living beings. As such it is not impossible to believe that there will always be an appropriate place to receive the last thought vibrations. A point is always ready to receive the falling stone.

 

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Dual citizens; shocking rape cases going unpunished

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I have a bone to pick with my co-Friday columnist who writes from across the ocean about the Pearl. In his July 16 column, he writes at length on dual citizens entering the Sri Lankan Parliament while retaining citizenship of another country. He lauds it in no uncertain terms, while most of us natives, living in our motherland, oppose the move that was introduced in the 20th Amendment. He writes: “A Dual Citizen is back as a national list member of parliament. Now, this in a country that passed legislation that banned dual citizens from entering parliament. This of course is something I was and am vehemently opposed to …”

The previous ban which he ‘vehemently opposed’ he pins on the Kaduwa syndrome – inferiority complex; frog in the well mentality; “fear of intimidation, fear, and revulsion of learning anything new from others”. Cass labels his reasons tosh! He goes to the extreme of writing: “The only good thing that has happened is that a dual citizen is back as finance minister, no less. … Our entire national list should consist of qualified dual citizens who have experience gained from the first world.” The implication here is that all our Sri Lankan citizens holding only Sri Lankan passports are no good against dual citizens who to him are nonpareil, more so legislaters. Thus, he casts aside as useless all those holding higher qualification gained mostly locally and are loyal to the country. They to him are less in ability, qualifications, broadmindedness than those who escaped to foreign countries when the going was bad and now return when it suits them. I present sole citizens like Champika Ranawaka, Eran Wickremaratne and Harsha de Silva and very many medical professionals and agriculturists who have shown they are pre-eminently qualified in their several fields, and loyal to Sri Lanka too.

Dual citizens left the country for whatever reason, mostly escaping a sinking ship for better prospects even as second-class citizens. Then they had the bug of nationalism arising in their breasts. This when it suited them; when it was opportune for them to return to their country of birth. They seize the opportunity to be recognised, elevated, lauded; and return from obscurity in a foreign country to hosannas sung by loyalists and promoters of dual citizenship like Rajitha Ratwatte. If they are so loyal and want to serve their mother country, why don’t they give up the citizenship of the country chosen for emigration and become solely Sri Lankan citizens? Oh no, they keep a safety branch handy for escape – to obscurity though – when things get too hot here. Even Basil Rajapaksa took plane to the US immediately after his brother’s defeat at the 2015 presidential election. Now back with several brothers in high power, nephews included; in short, a government mostly by the Family, it is ideal for Brother Basil to return and to boost his return, such loud singing of hosannas and prediction this Knight with superhuman powers will kill the dragon of economic bankruptcy that is poised to devour poor Sri Lanka. He may even banish the virus that has overpowered the entire world. We Ordinaries will wait and watch.

It is no to persons like medical interns who got their entire education- high school plus medical – at government expense and then scooted slyly to greener pastures immediately after getting their MBBSs. This closed door also to those who fled punishments or change of government or jumped the ship they thought was sinking or scooted for whatever expediency. However, those who felt they had no hope of career development in this country or went for higher studies (when local universities were closed for long or did not accept them) and then decided to stay back in the host countries as citizens are welcome back as even dual citizens since their return is prompted by caring for parents and siblings left behind, or wanting to settle down on birth turf and benefit the country with foreign money and expertise gained. Some highly qualified, medical professionals mostly, revisit Sri Lanka and give immense help free of charge. We welcome them wholeheartedly and are grateful. But not those whose motives for returning are purely selfish.

What particularly irked ole Cass were these two statements of Rajitha Ratwatte writing ‘From Outside the Pearl’. “The only good thing that has happened is that a dual citizen is back as finance minister, no less” and “our entire national lists should consist of qualified dual citizens who have experience gained from the first world.” I won’t deal with the first statement. How can he judge whether it is the only good move of government until Basil delivers the prediction of saving the country? Then the promotion of dual citizens to Parliament – “qualified with experiences gained from the first world.” I mentioned how some of these come back to help us but never as politicians or into politics. Those who come into the political arena so far have not advertised their higher qualifications and some have experience in petrol pumping if not dish washing!!

Rape rears its medusa head

We have been hearing and reading about a 15-year-old girl sold for prostitution by her mother and used by the many including some high persons. The case is out in the open and due punishment may be meted out. Another case was highlighted about a younger girl and I was told that social media highlighted a father who abused his two daughters and is in hiding now. Words fail ole Cass to express how reprehensible these cases are: unbridled perverse sexual desire and greed for money; two conditions rampant now. Cass nearly fell of her chair when she read the first page news item in The Island of Wednesday July 21. “National child protection policy not implemented for 21 years, says COPE.” Rather usual in this Paradise Isle gone rotten. But what followed both inundated Cass’s heart with deep sorrow followed by raging fury, though useless. A beautiful, typically dressed 16 year old Tamil girl – Ishalini Jude Kumar – is featured in the article “who succumbed to injuries caused by a fire in the residence of lawmaker Rishad Bathiudeen at No 410/16, Baudhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7.” Stunning. Shocking beyond words. Cass believes the rape and suspects it was continuous but never will accept the self immolation.

This particular MP and former Minister has had two previous allegations against him – the destruction of parts of a forest bordering Wilpattu to build houses for his supporters and association with some Easter Sunday carnage suspects.

Rape and molesting children are extra extra-nasty social evils. The perpetrators must be severely punished. In Saudi Arabia it was said that stealing was punished with hands amputated so…

Cass leaves you on that note – to mull over as Sri Lanka is saved by the Hon Basil R and we get back to being Paradise.

 

 

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